ASD Bilingual Belief Statement
Arkansas School for the Deaf is an accessible ASL/ English bilingual community in which people who are Deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing learn and work together without language and communication barriers.
At Arkansas School for the Deaf, we have the following beliefs:
1. We recognize that students coming to Arkansas School for the Deaf have diverse cultures, backgrounds, and language abilities.
- For some students, American Sign Language is their heritage language.
- For some students, Spoken English is their first language.
- For some students, another cultural signed or spoken language is their first language.
- Some students come to ASD with no language.
2. We believe that American Sign Language and English are equal and separate languages. Both languages allow Deaf children the ability to access academic information, interact effectively with others, and express themselves creatively.
3. We believe that every student has a right to a language rich learning environment, where he/she has full access to clear communication and language.
4. We believe students need to learn how to interact successfully in both Deaf culture and hearing culture. Culture and identity development are important for every child to develop self-worth and self-confidence.
- We believe Deaf students need real life exposure to experiences in order to increase their understanding of and ability to successfully interact in the hearing community.
- We believe Deaf students need Deaf role models and experience in the Deaf community to increase their understanding and ability to successfully interact in the Deaf community.
5. We recognize and respect each student’s individual needs and abilities. We believe that everyone is equal and important, regardless of hearing levels, their preferred communication mode, and their cultural identity.
6. We believe that in order to optimize student achievement, Deaf children must have early and exposure to a rich and comprehensive language. Therefore, it is our priority to:
- Meet these needs on our campus by providing programs, resources, and support to families of young Deaf children to foster their exposure to a full language.
- Meet these needs statewide through a responsive and supported Outreach program.
We, the staff and faculty of ASD, believe that to foster double pride in our students, we must first have double pride ourselves. We realize that it is essential that we have fluent skills in both our native and non-native languages in order to provide a high quality bilingual instructional environment.