Should All Deaf Children Learn Sign Language?

Pediatrics. 2015 Jul;136(1):170-6. doi: 10.1542/peds.2014-1632. Epub 2015 Jun 15.


Every year, 10,000 infants are born in the United States with sensorineural deafness. Deaf children of hearing (and nonsigning) parents are unique among all children in the world in that they cannot easily or naturally learn the language that their parents speak. These parents face tough choices. Should they seek a cochlear implant for their child? If so, should they also learn to sign? As pediatricians, we need to help parents understand the risks and benefits of different approaches to parent-child communication when the child is deaf [corrected].

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Cochlear Implants
  • Deafness / rehabilitation*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Language Development*
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Parents
  • Persons With Hearing Impairments / rehabilitation*
  • Sign Language*
  • United States