Supporting families and young deaf children with a bimodal bilingual approach
This article reviews research and presents recommendations concerning bimodal bilingualism for families with young deaf and hard of hearing children. Bimodal bilingualism means deaf children and their families have access to a national sign language in addition to other spoken/written languages. National sign languages are one or more of the sign languages that make up the linguistic ecology of a country, including but not limited to British Sign Language (BSL) in the UK and American Sign Language (ASL) in Canada. National sign languages have their own vocabulary, grammar, and social rules of use, and many sign languages are used by deaf communities around the world. Bimodal bilingualism and enhanced family communication have long-lasting benefits for deaf children’s development and wellbeing. We look at how to support early bimodal bilingual communication and literacy, and the role of practitioners in guiding families.