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date: 11 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Total Communication (TC) is arguably one of the most misunderstood terms in the field of deaf education. As it is currently defined, TC is a philosophical orientation to education that allows for the use of the full range of spoken and/or visual modalities in providing access to language. One of the most common misinterpretations is that TC is a methodology that prescribes the simultaneous use of spoken and signed language and is therefore synonymous with Simultaneous Communication. There is also confusion as to whether there is a role for a natural signed language (e.g., American Sign Language) in a TC philosophy. In addition, the flexible attitude to communication in a TC approach is often characterized not as strength, but as a weakness—as an ill-defined practice of doing “whatever works.” This chapter examines these issues and considers whether there is a renewed role for TC as a multimodal, comprehensive approach.

Keywords: deaf, Total Communication, language development, communication, sign language, sign English, cochlear implants

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