At LSD, the use of the American Sign Language (ASL)/English Bilingual approach is supported campus-wide. Being bilingual in ASL and English is beneficial to deaf and hard of hearing children for establishing early communication with their parents, developing their cognitive abilities, acquiring world knowledge, communicating fully with the surrounding world, and acculturating into the worlds of both the hearing and of the Deaf. This approach supports the acquisition, development, and use of American Sign Language and English.
Research has proven that the brain has the capacity to acquire both a visual and a spoken language without harm to either language. If the primary focus is on spoken language (when a child does not have full access to spoken language) and visual language is not provided, the child could experience developmental delays. Visual language provides children with complete access to language as early as possible while respecting spoken language access and outcomes. This approach safeguards language development.
ASL provides a solid language base through which deaf children can further develop their cognitive and academic education to grow into contributing, successful adults. At LSD, there is a spontaneity and freedom of communication that is unique and provides a community of genuine membership for many deaf children. Students develop emotional, social and cognitive abilities that are crucial to realizing human potential and identity.