Human Right to Language: Communication Access for Deaf Children

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Overview

In 1982, the United States Supreme Court ruled that Amy Rowley, a deaf six-year-old, was not entitled to have a sign language interpreter in her public school classroom. Lawrence M. Siegel wholeheartedly disagrees with this decision in these pages. Instead, he contends that the United States Constitution should protect every deaf and hard of hearing child's right to communication and language as part of an individual's right to liberty. Siegel argues that when a deaf or hard of hearing child sits alone in a crowded classroom and is unable to access the rich and varied communication about her, the child is denied any chance of success in life.

In this ingenious, well-grounded argument, Siegel proposes that the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution be enforced so that Amy Rowley and her peers can possess that which virtually every other American child takes for granted-the right to receive and express thought in school. He asserts that the common notion of a right to "speech" is too infrequently interpreted in the narrowest sense as the right to "speak" rather than the broader right to receive and transmit information in all ways. Siegel reveals that there are no judicial decisions or laws that recognize this missing right, and he offers a legal and constitutional strategy for change. His well-reasoned hypothesis and many examples of deaf children with inadequate communication access in school combine to make a compelling case for changing the status quo.

About the Author:
Lawrence M. Siegel is the Founder and Director of the National Deaf Education Project and a special education attorney in San Francisco, CA

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781563683664
  • Publisher: Gallaudet University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Lawrence Siegel is the Founder and Director of the National Deaf Education Project and a special education attorney in San Francisco, CA.

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Table of Contents

Pt. 1 Communication and Language

1 Introduction 3

2 The Importance of Communication and Language 14

Pt. 2 The Argument for a Constitutional Right to Communication and Language

3 Communication, Language, and Education 27

4 The First Amendment: The Broad Right to Express and Receive Information and Ideas 44

5 The First Amendment and Freedom of Association 63

6 The Importance of the First Amendment: Protecting the Extremes of Speech 77

7 Introduction to the Fourteenth Amendment 93

8 Equal Protection and the Place of Education in American Society 106

9 Equal Protection and the Right to Communication and Language 116

10 The Application of Bilingual-Education Law and Programs to Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students 125

Pt. 3 Conclusions and Recommendations

11 A Proposal 147

Index 159

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