Early Childhood Deaf Education Minor

According to Meadow-Orlans, Mertens, and Sass-Lehrer (2003), 90% of Deaf children are born to hearing parents. Thus, most parents of a Deaf child have probably not been exposed to American Sign Language (ASL) or the Deaf community. Therefore, the lack of knowledge of ASL creates a language barrier between the Deaf child and the hearing parent. This may result in no exposure to a true and accessible language for the Deaf child until after entering early school, resulting in language delays, influencing cognitive development, and delaying academic success. However, even though the need to intervene for Deaf children is high and in dire need, early childhood educators rarely are trained well enough or equipped with the proper resources to assist and educate hearing parents of Deaf children in order to provide the foundation to early language access. The purpose of this thesis is to propose a minor in Early Childhood Deaf Education to prepare Early Childhood Educators (ECE) in providing the skills and resources parents need to be involved, advocate, and support their Deaf child throughout life and their academic success.