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  • Deaf children who are born to deaf parents and exposed to sign language from birth learn that language as naturally as hearing children learn the spoken language to which they are exposed. Children who lack the ability to hear thus do not have deficits in language learning and can exercise their language-learning skills if exposed to usable linguistic input. However, 90 percent of deaf children in the world are born to hearing parents who are unlikely to know a sign language and typically want their child to learn spoken language. Although these deaf children have intact language-learning skills, they have no linguistic input to apply their skills to. Under these circumstances, deaf children use gestures—called home signs—to communicate with the hearing individuals in their worlds. ...

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