June 8, 2007
The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) was represented at a rally held at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC, on May 11, 2007, in support of the language rights of deaf and hard of hearing children in Canada.
Remarks by NAD President Bobbie Beth Scoggins were read by NAD Chief Executive Officer Nancy J. Bloch at the rally:
“The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) joins with the Ontario Association of the Deaf, the Canadian Association of the Deaf, and the deaf and hearing community in Canada, the United States, and around the world to support the language rights of deaf and hard of hearing children in Canada.
“Language is a fundamental human right. The Canadian government, through its establishment of anti-sign language policies, is denying the right of deaf and hard of hearing children to language.
“American Sign Language (ASL) and Langue des Sourds du Quebec (LSQ) are recognized as languages of instruction in Canada. Regulations for their use, however, have never been developed. This means inadequate government support for families who choose sign language for their children.
“Particularly egregious is the policy that parents may choose to obtain a cochlear implant for their child, or they may choose sign language, without the option of choosing both. Such a prohibition against choosing both is contrary to evidence based best practices, the right of parents to make choices for their children, and plain common sense.
“The oppression of deaf and hard of hearing people and the oppression of our languages must end. We call on the Canadian government to end its discriminatory practices. We call on the Canadian government to collaborate with families of deaf and hard of hearing children and with advocacy leaders within deaf and hard of hearing community. We call on the Canadian government to develop policies and practices that promote age appropriate language development and educational access for children who are deaf or hard of hearing, including appropriate support for their families. Language is a fundamental human right. There is no time to lose.”
Those who are interested in reviewing the NAD position on ASL and bilingual education can visit www.nad.org/aslpositionstatement. This position statement was released in 1993. The NAD Board of Directors is currently working on a new ASL position statement for release later this year.
SOURCE: National Association for the Deaf