Intended for healthcare professionals


Speaking sign language from birth can make deaf children confident

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 29 May 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:1491
  1. Peter Hindley, Senior lecturer in child and adolescent psychiatry,
  2. Roger Parkes, Consultant psychiatrist for deaf people
  1. St George's Hospital Medical School, London SW17 0RE
  2. Deaf Mental Health Promotion/Deaf Mental Illness Prevention, South Birmingham Mental Health Trust, Birmingham B15 2TZ

    EDITOR—We were perturbed to read O'Donoghue's one sided account of the range of communication methods and languages available to deaf children.1 O'Donoghue states that any language other than spoken language “leads to lifelong linguistic and communicative deficits” and that, in the past, not enabling deaf children to develop spoken language “put these children at an unacceptable disadvantage and incurred an important societal cost.” Finally, he suggests that enabling deaf children to enter mainstream …

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