How did the VCSL come about?
In the early 1990s, there was a rise in the establishment of ASL/English bilingual/bicultural education, which led to a focus on developing language acquisition checklists, to evaluate typical linguistic development for signing children. Teachers created sign language acquisition checklists, based on their knowledge of sign language acquisition and language assessment checklists developed for hearing, monolingual children.
The teacher-made checklists were useful, but they were not standardized. No norms existed to compare deaf and hard of hearing children's success in ASL/English bilingual classrooms to other children in similar settings, making it challenging to obtain a comprehensive assessment profile of deaf and hard of hearing children's language development. Parents often believed that their children were obtaining age-appropriate sign language milestones, but when these children arrived at kindergarten they frequently exhibited language delays.
To address this situation, researchers obtained information from a variety of sources including schools for the deaf and organizations within America and Canada. These sources include the Signed Language Developmental Checklist by Mounty (1994), the Language Development Checklist (Enns, Zimmer, & Murray, 1994), checklists from both the California School for the Deaf—Fremont and the Kansas School for the Deaf, as well as Marie Philip’s ASL Developmental Milestones Checklist form the Ontario Cultural Society of the Deaf (2003). The checklists were merged into one standardized checklist and with feedback from teachers, linguistics, psycholinguists, and researchers involved with Gallaudet University's Science of Learning Center on Visual Languages and Visual Learning (VL2). It was revised in order to provide an accurate, reliable, and valid measure, named the Visual Communication and Sign Language Checklist or VCSL.
Who should conduct the assessment?
The VCSL should be completed in collaboration with people who are familiar with the child's expressive and receptive language. Deaf and hard of hearing professionals could assist family members or professionals with less fluent signing skills, using a team approach.
This can include:
- Teachers who are familiar with the child’s language abilities
- Early interventionists
- ECE service providers who are fluent signers and work directly with the child and family
- Speech Language Pathologists
Costs (Download Order Form above for pricing information.)
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