Journal Article

The Argument for a Constitutional Right to Communication and Language

Lawrence Siegel

in The Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education

Volume 7, issue 3, pages 258-266
Published in print July 2002 | ISSN: 1081-4159
Published online July 2002 | e-ISSN: 1465-7325 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/deafed/7.3.258
The Argument for a Constitutional Right to Communication and Language

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The need for and right to communication and language is fundamental to the human condition. Without communication, an individual cannot become an effective and productive adult or an informed citizen in our democracy. The importance of communication and language for deaf and hard-of-hearing children is so basic as to be beyond debate. Given the historic difficulties deaf and hard-of-hearing children face, their compromised communication and language skills and the educational, social, cognitive, and psychological consequences, this note contends that a constitutional right to communication is both necessary and legally sound. The right to assemble and to vote, the right to equal protection under the law must be extended to the right of deaf and hard-of-hearing children to full communication development and access. If the Constitution venerates the right to speech, the right to communication and language is of equal or greater value.

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Subjects: Education ; Linguistics ; Teaching of Specific Groups and Special Educational Needs

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