SASL Journal Vol. 1, No. 1 - Page 14

ASL: Access, Benefits, and Quality Rosen spread and is allocated to the acoustic areas to enhance attention to visual stimuli, even if hearing is absent, and this has enabled peripheral processing over wider space (Pettito, Zatorre, Gauna, Nikelski, Dostie, & Evans, 2000). Thus, deaf native ASL users were able to detect peripheral movements to a greater extent than hearing native spoken English users. The study showed that deaf native ASL users performed better than the hearing native spoken English users in processing and integrating visual information (Codina, Buckley, Port, & Pascalis, 2011). Visual processing via ASL also has effects on deaf native users’ ability to identify faces. In studies of face recognition with different orientations and shading, deaf native users performed better than hearing native users of spoken English (Bettiger et al., 1997). Other studies showed that deaf native child users of ASL performed better in tasks such as image generation and rotation, block assembly, digit span and spatial span; recognizing faces, detecting peripheral movement, and integrating rapidly presented visual information (Edwards, Figueras, Mellanby, & Langdon, 2011; Emmorey, Corina, & Bellugi, 1995; Emmorey, Kosslyn, & Bellugi, 1993; Hauser, Cohen, Dye, & Bavelier, 2007; Wilson et al., 1997). ASL users were shown to be adept at generating and transforming mental images in nonlinguistic mental image generation task experiments with superimposition and flash-pacing of the letter ‘x’ on a grid (Emmorey et al., 1995). They were also adept in mental image rotation, such as the task of using stimuli and deciding whether the response is its mirror image or the same shape when the image is rotated (Emmorey et al., 1993). They were also more adept than hearing peers in the Block Design Subtest in WISC-R in which they created 3-D blocks of cubes to match as stimulus blocks of cubes (Sisco & Anderson, 1980). Learning other languages. When the acquisition of ASL occurs earlier in deaf children’s lives, it will not only facilitate their cognitive and language development, but also provides a solid foundation for their learning of other languages as second or additional languages. A group of scholars at Gallaudet University wrote a seminal paper called “Unlocking the Curriculum: Achieving Access for Deaf Students” (Johnson, Liddell, & Erting, 1989), a work that opened up a nationwide dialogue on the topic of ASL and deaf children's education. English literacy was included in the paper. The description of English as a written language for deaf children after ASL acquisition was a radical concept at the time. The status of English as a second language or L2 requires a new way of thinking for the field of deaf education. As scholars in the field of second and additional language acquisition know, learning other languages is not a simple matter of translating from one language to another by matching one- word for one-word, or one phrasal structure for one phrasal structure, across languages. This is because languages do not share similar vocabularies, phrasal structures and word orders (Hawkins, 2001). Likewise, deaf children will have to know the differences between English and the language that they know, ASL. They cannot read English fluently when they have no idea about the language differences. L2 acquisition studies also indicate that linguistic features shared by all languages comprise the Universal Grammar of all languages (Hawkins, 2001). Under the Universal Grammar model, all languages consist of phonology, lexicon, phrases and word orders. Universal Grammar also holds that languages differ in the details of these phonological systems, lexical items, phrasal structures, and word orders. Cross-language similarities and differences have repercussions for second and additional language learning. Comparative analysis lessons would serve as a good wa y of teaching deaf students about English to allow them read the text and familiarize themselves with English. SASLJ, Vol. 1, No. 1 – Fall/Winter 2017 14