First of all, I had a great time!!! I am so glad that I had the privilege to attend the conference. I learned so much, met some great people, and got to network some for Hands & Voices!
The first thing I learned was in the opening plenary session. It was by ChristineYoshinaga-Itano. The session about sharing the data from some longitudinal studies. It reviewed standardized testing and language of deaf and hard of hearing kids. The data shows some really great things! The first was from Colorado. They followed kids from 3rd to 12th grade. The goal was ONE YEARS GROWTH IN ONE YEARS TIME. And 40% of kids made just that, and actually, 40.8% made GREATER than that! So, that means that over 80% of kids in Colorado are making at least adequate, age and grade level appropriate progress. Woo Hoo!
She also discussed language measures and outcomes. These were assessments given in 8 different states to over 250 kids. They looked at expressive language, comprehension of complex language, and vocabulary. It was more great news! Almost 80% of deaf and hard of hearing kids scored in the normal range for expressive language, 75% for comprehension of complex language, and almost 60% for vocabulary. (Vocabulary is often the weakest point, because deaf kids struggle to pick up new words incidentally.)
I was really impressed with this information. That means that if we get our kiddos age appropriate with their language, and then continue to have one years growth in one year, we will have deaf students graduating with language and literacy skills commiserate with their hearing peers...which is, of course the goal!
And before people go crazy asking the question, this study included both ASL and spoken language users. There were several Deaf schools that were study sites, and some public school programs.
I loved getting some positive news! It turns out that this generation of deaf kids are actually doing very well!