Raising and Educating a Deaf Child

International experts answer your questions about the choices, controversies, and decisions faced by the parents and educators of deaf and hard-of-hearing children.

Question from S.W., New York

I read in the New York Times that “all deaf children have some cognitive challenges.” Really?!

Question from S.W., New York. Posted April 15, 2014.
Response from Marc Marschark - NTID

I was surprised to read the New York Times article A Son’s Deafness Prompts a Scientific Journey and learn that its author, Ms. Bouton, with whom I have never spoken, had written that I stated that “All deaf children have some cognitive challenges.” Not only have I never said that, there is no evidence to support such a claim.

When I do presentations about raising and educating deaf children for parents, teachers, and other audiences around the world, one of my clearly stated conclusions, based on the research evidence, is “differences do NOT equal deficiencies.”

Sadly, throughout history, many in our society have believed that individuals who are deaf are less intelligent than those who hear. The evidence simply does not support that perspective. To suggest that “all deaf children have some cognitive challenges” is not only incorrect, it is insensitive. And for Ms. Bouton to be unwilling to correct the record is simply wrong. [But note that a correction now has been posted at NYTimes.com.]