We want to raise awareness that we, the Washington State Association of the Deaf, became concerned after reading a one-sided Seattle Weekly article, “Deaf Jam,” written by Nina Shapiro in December 2012 and republished in January 2013, suggesting deaf children use Signing Exact English (SEE) in public schools. We would like to share the other perspective: ours.
American Sign Language (ASL), a language verified by linguist William Stokoe, can be used to teach other languages, such as English. There are studies such as one that states “the acquisition studies with ASL, on the other hand, indicate that deaf children are able to learn the language.”
SEE is not a language, but a Manually Coded English (MCE). The outcome is mixed in academia. According to the article Linguistic Accessibility and Deaf Children by Samuel J. Supalla and Jody H. Cripps, “What this suggests is that MCE is not comparable to the language (i.e., English) that it intends to duplicate for the benefit of deaf children. The structural violations leading to the production of distorted sentences is thus real and undermines their capacity for language acquisition.”
It is strongly suggested we use ASL in public schools for deaf children.