Chapter 1 of The Signing Family: What Every Parent Should Know about Sign Communication continued . . .

When parents discover their child is deaf, they go through a period of turmoil as they try to respond to a host of concerns. You may hear that signing helps a deaf child acquire language, but, you wonder, don't all deaf people who sign spend most of their social lives in the Deaf community? [Note: We use the term "Deaf" to refer to people who use sign language as their primary means of communication, and who share the culture of the Deaf community. We use the term "deaf" to refer to the larger group of people who have a hearing loss.] Will signing turn your deaf child away from you and the rest of your family? If you do learn to sign, does that commit you to ignoring the vital role of speech and hearing in your child's life? If you don't sign and your child falls behind in school, will you be at fault? What will happen if you try to learn to sign for several years and never become proficient in it?

A large part of this book is devoted to descriptions of various types of signed communication that are used in schools to teach deaf children. At this point we would like simply to introduce the terms for these types of signing, which can be divided into three categories.

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