EDUCAÇÃO DA CRIANÇA SURDA: O BILINGÜISMO E O DESAFIO DA DESCONTINUIDADE ENTRE A LÍNGUA DE SINAIS E A ESCRITA ALFABÉTICA

DEAF CHILD EDUCATION: BILINGUALISM AND THE CHALLENGE POSED BY THE DISCONTINUITY BETWEEN SIGN LANGUAGE AND ALPHABETICAL WRITING

Fernando C. CAPOVILLA; Alessandra G. S. CAPOVILLA

ABSTRACT: The paper emphasizes the importance of language for social, emotional and intellectual development. It revises psycho-social factors and historic conceptions that explain attitudes toward the deaf from the Greeks to contemporary days. It also analyzes research findings that explain changes in the educational philosophy concerning the deaf, from Oralism to Total Communication to Bilingualism. All three educational philosophies aim at integrating the deaf child by using alphabetical reading and writing, and differ mainly in terms of strategies for achieving literacy acquisition and full education. The paper acknowledges the benefits of both Bilingualism and multichannel cochlear implant technology, which takes advantage of the continuity between speech and alphabetical writing. The paper stresses that Bilingualism must acknowledge the discontinuity between sign language and alphabetical writing, which makes literacy acquisition difficult to the deaf child, and search for solutions for that discontinuity such as the experimental adoption of a direct visual writing system as a resource for enhancing sign meta-linguistic awareness and literacy acquisition.

KEYWORDS: Deafness; sign language; oralism; total communication; bilingualism.

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