SASLJ Vol. 2 No. 2 - Page 114

Unlocking the Curriculum Johnson et al. proficiency will be necessary for students to maintain at-grade-level performance in content areas. Should this goal prove to be unfeasible, it will be necessary to identify and adapt reading materials that present content at grade level but at below-grade English levels. Such materials exist for bilingual education programs elsewhere in the United States. If it is necessary to use such materials, the goal of at-grade-level reading and writing will persist until it is met. Child Development Center The Child Development Center is an absolutely necessary component of the program. It is set up to provide day-care and developmental experiences for children from the time they are identified as deaf until the end of the third grade. For the youngest children it will present a stimulating language environment and a stimulating learning environment. The children will acquire ASL competence through extensive daily contact with native users of the language. The CDC staff will consist of deaf adults fluent in ASL and trained as day care providers. We propose that the presence of these adults and the interaction of children with one another should engender ordinary acquisition of ASL. We also propose that the day-care program of the Child Development Center have a required cooperative component for parents. Each family (and ideally each parent) would be asked to work a certain number of hours per month as an assistant to the regular staff. Such a requirement could have numerous benefits for the parents. They would have the opportunity to observe their child interacting with other children and with deaf adults and to interact themselves with deaf people. They would observe and have the opportunity to learn specific techniques of reasonable and effective interaction with deaf children. They would see ASL in use and have the opportunity to develop their own signing skills in practical contexts. While day-care is not typically seen as a responsibility of the educational system in the United States, in the case of deaf children it is necessary in order for language acquisition to proceed on schedule and at a normal pace. In school systems unable to justify the provision of day- care services, it is likely that private, non-profit day-care facilities could be established with the help of outside funding. Once established, such businesses should be able to become self- supporting. Administration, Research, and Development This component focuses on the overall conceptualization and design of the project, and oversees implementation within programs. The research and development aspect monitors progress and develops new approaches to implementing the conceptual design. A unique aspect of this design is that it will include research on language acquisition and evaluation of the progress of the children and the effectiveness of the program on an ongoing basis. This will require a full-time administrator and a full-time research and development specialist, who will produce the curriculum, beginning with family-infant training and continuing through the twelfth grade. SASLJ, Vol. 2, No. 2 – Fall/Winter 2018 114