Dr Pat Spencer will be presenting this special twilight event on Thursday 5 May 2016 at VDEI, as part of an online literacy project currently in development.
How is the developmental process of learning sign (or signed) language similar—and how different—from that for learning spoken language? Exploring those processes reinforces the idea that potential for language is not limited to a single mode; instead, language is a deeper, symbolic process that can be represented through emphasising one of several modes. In addition, characteristics of supportive communication and language input are similar whether parents are using primarily speech or primarily sign: Supportive language input is responsive, rhythmic, "now" oriented, contains simple syntax, assumes meaningfulness of child productions; however, sensitivity to visual attention is especially important with visually-based communication. Finally, the question of learning language in more than one mode (sign as well as speech) will be addressed: Can these two approaches be mutually supportive?—or are they destined to compete?
After attending this twilight, participants will:
Dr Spencer studied education and child development before receiving a doctorate in Communication Disorders at the University of Texas at Dallas. At Gallaudet University, she served as a diagnostic classroom teacher, administrator of a diagnostic and program-planning centre for deaf and hard-of-hearing children, and was a Research Scientist in the Centre for Studies in Education and Human Development, eventually retiring as Professor in the department of Social Work. She received a J. William Fulbright Senior Scientist research award in association with the Bionic Ear Institute in Melbourne, Australia, in 1999 and subsequent awards to provide program consultation in Mysore, India, and Damascus, Syria. Before and after "retirement," she has served as a consultant on program evaluation, co-authored and co-edited a number of books on development of deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals from infancy through adulthood, presented lectures and workshops, and taught in the Educational Leadership doctoral program at Texas A & M University in Corpus Christi, Texas. Most recently, she co-edited the Oxford Handbook of Deaf Studies in Language and is co-author of Nurturing Language and Learning: Development of Deaf and Hand-of-Hearing Infants and Toddlers.
The VDEI Learning Centre Victorian Deaf Education Institute
597 St Kilda Road, Melbourne 3004