About the DOTDeaf Project
Information about language difficulties in signed language is often not accessible to deaf professionals or deaf families. We want to make sure deaf professionals and deaf parents have access to as much information as possible.
An article we wrote for British Deaf News discusses language difficulties in BSL and the early stages of our work with deaf language specialists and speech and language therapists. Read the article Deaf children have language difficulties too or view it in BSL below.
Here’s another article that we wrote for speech and language therapists. It discusses how speech and language therapists, and deaf language specialists (or deaf practitioners) can work together. By combining the skills of each, language intervention in BSL can help children develop their language skills.
Read the article Supporting the language needs of deaf children or view it in BSL below.
Information for these articles and the training came from clinical work with children in schools and hospitals, research, and from a PhD study by Joanna Hoskin (2017).
Read a summary of the PhD study findings or watch the video in BSL below.
During the DOTDeaf project, we learnt a lot about the ways that SLTs and DLSs work in different countries, the services available for deaf children with language difficulties, and where there were similarities and differences.
Sharing this information helped us to develop content for the training that could be adapted and translated for different countries. Here is a project summary (in BSL with English subtitles) that we produced which highlights some of the issues we discussed when working together.
As well as developing training, the project partners ran online workshops in Spain, Portugal, and the UK. Lots of speech and language therapists, deaf language therapists and teachers joined in via Zoom. The workshops allowed us to share experiences and ideas, and there was discussion about these questions:
- Can deaf language specialists get a qualification?
- Where can you watch video examples of language difficulties in sign?
- Where can we find assessments and therapy resources?
The DOTDeaf course provides a starting point to answer these questions. There are other websites that offer information about:
- Assessment, e.g. DCAL Assessment Portal
- How families use sign language, with video examples from the UK National Deaf Children’s Society
- How to assess a child’s language within their home, education and social context, from Language diversity in deaf education at University of Leeds
The DOTDeaf conference
We held a DOTDeaf international conference in June 2021. It brought together practitioners, service managers and academics from around the world. It was an opportunity to share the DOTDeaf project work and discuss the role of deaf language specialists. The opening address was given by Dr. Kate Rowley who discussed:
- The critical period for language development
- Language deprivation and its impact
- Developmental & acquired language disorders in sign.
Each partner country gave presentations on different aspects of the project and included case examples from their work:
The closing address was given by Professor Bencie Woll who discussed:
- The Deaf community and health inequalities
- Development of new career pathways for deaf language specialists
- Training and education leading to recognised qualifications, professional status, and improved salaries
- Collaboration at the national, European and international levels
- Sign Language Therapy and Sign Language Therapists working with deaf children and adults.