Two students are sitting on top of their desks so that they can face each other. They are both looking toward the teacher who stands in between them. One child is moving his hands. A blackboard is on the wall behind the teacher.

Deaf children are often educated as a “special needs” population–as children with disabilities. More recently, some teachers have changed perspectives to view deaf students as a linguistic and cultural minority. These teachers may use a bilingual approach to teaching deaf children. This article explains the historical context for these changes in perspective and how these changes influence the bilingual approach to education. It talks about how a linguistic and cultural minority perspective influences language development, teacher preparation, and educational policy.

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