Rita Vis Dubé


Many people recognize American Sign Language (ASL) as the first native language of the Deaf community. However, traditional educational programs have focused only on the development of English language in its spoken, written, and perhaps signed forms. In recent years, the bilingual/bicultural philosophy of deaf education, which recognizes ASL and English as equal and viable languages for the instruction of deaf children, has come to light. The integration of this approach into developmental educational programs for deaf children had tremendous implications for language specialist and educators with regard to the development and assessment of the language abilities of deaf students. The purpose of this paper is to review the literature relevant to the assessment of language for deaf children, from a historical perspective and with respect to the bilingual/bicultural approach to deaf education. This review points unequivocally to the fact that there is a strong need for a tool for assessing the language skills of bilingual deaf children.