Feb 18, 2020
Kimberly Churchill, Chair, Board of Directors
The Value of ASL for Children

Kimberly Churchill

Chair, Board of Directors, Children’s Language Acquisition Support System Inc. 


Deaf children can suffer countless psychological harms, most of which are overlooked or minimized. The first and most severe psychological trauma they experience is not that they are Deaf per se, but that they are deprived by oralism to full access to language. Linguistic deprivation leads to impairments in cognitive development and functioning. These, in turn, impede social development. Together, these traumas create immense psychological damage to self-image and self-esteem. Deaf children (and hard of hearing individuals who use ASL/LSQ) widely experience chronic feelings of isolation, loneliness, humiliation, shame, unworthiness, anxiety, and depression. Inclusion and equal participation in society require sign languages to be accessible, respected and supported to reduce these risks and for these children to thrive.