Hastings Journal on Gender and the Law


Julie Ruschin


Spoken language acquisition depends on aural exposure to the language. A child must hear a language spoken. But more than this, the child must have the language directed at her in conversational context. Because spoken language acquisition requires something that may be beyond the capabilities of the State, and because language acquisition is an educational issue, the responsibility for providing a program to ensure that hearing children of deaf parents master spoken English rests on the State. The State should create programs to ensure that these children are properly exposed to spoken English during the brief period in life in which language acquisition is easy and nearly effortless, and in doing so prevent children from being harmed. This note argues for the implementation of a special educational program to provide hearing children of deaf parents exposure to spoken English in order to meet the State's obligation to provide a sound education to all children.