Language Deprivation in a Global Context
[presentation is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, June 21 from 10-11am]
Presenter: Wyatte C. Hall
Description of the Presentation:
Historically, Deaf communities all over the world have been marginalized and oppressed, with their linguistic needs not recognized and ignored. As a result, many deaf children do not have consistently full access to a natural language. Instead, they may often be considered unhelpable in contexts without strong support systems or expected to learn a spoken language using hearing loss technology such as hearing aids or cochlear implant. Overall, by continuing an exclusive preference for remedial fixes to auditory systems and for spoken language development, deaf children are at high risk for language deprivation (W.C. Hall, 2017). Currently, language acquisition research on deaf children strongly suggests that incomplete first language acquisition has a permanent detrimental effect on deaf children’s cognitive, socioemotional, and neurological development (Fellingter, Holzinger, & Pollard, 2012; M.L. Hall, W.C. Hall, & Caselli, 2019). Here, we explore the lived experiences of language development of deaf individuals in the Dominican Republic as a sample context of where deaf refugees in America may come from. This exploratory pilot project interviewed 59 people between 18 and 54 years old from Santo Domingo and Santiago. Preliminary findings indicated an average age of 6.9 for first exposure to a fully accessible language, a general lack of early screening and intervention services, poor access to education and medical systems, and an overall lack of support from the local and national governments to meet the needs of the community. Deaf refugees’ experiences of language deprivation are likely compounded by an overall lack of systemic awareness and support in their home countries, which helps to inform our understanding of prior life circumstances
Wyatte C. Hall, Ph.D. is a research assistant professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Pediatrics, and Public Health Sciences in the University of Rochester Medical Center. After receiving his clinical psychology Ph.D. from Gallaudet University, he completed a clinical fellowship at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and a research fellowship at the University of Rochester Medical Center. His research work focuses on connecting early childhood language experiences with adult life outcomes in the deaf population with a particular focus on language deprivation. Part of his research program focuses on global deaf health with his Ph.D. student Joshua Mora and lab director Dr. Tim Dye; this group has recently completed preliminary research work in collaboration with ANSORDO in the Dominican Republic and is hoping to see that work expand in Costa Rica with the local deaf community.