Is it Beneficial for Deaf Children to Learn Sign Language?
A researcher at the University of Connecticut, Marie Coppola, recently received a National Science Foundation grant "to study the impact of early language experiences—whether spoken or signed—on how children learn." She theorizes that the difference in success is not a matter of whether the language is spoken or signed but rather if the access to any language is early or late.
Her "first experiment will compare the ability to understand numbers in hearing children who get spoken English from birth, with that of deaf children of signing parents who get ASL from birth." Her second experiment "will compare deaf children who receive sign language from birth with those who receive sign or spoken language input later in life."
She hypothesizes that "the ability to understand numbers" between groups will be the same in the first experiment, but that children who received early access to language in the second experiment will do better than those who did not.
Buckely C. (2016) The Case for Bilingual Deaf Children. UConn Magazine.