In Quebec, six out of a thousand children are born with some degree of deafness. For a deaf child, the acquisition of spoken language, to which he does not have spontaneous access because of his disability, requires constant adjustment. The work of the Groupe de recherche sur la langue des signes québécoise et le bilinguisme sourd (Quebec Sign Language and Deaf Bilingualism Research Group), directed by Anne-Marie Parisot from Université du Québec à Montréal, is contributing to creating a description and understanding of the characteristics of deaf bilingualism and to the introduction of inclusive practices.
Two major projects stand out among the research applications carried out by members of the research team. First of all, the researchers tested a bilingual approach in which the promotion and teaching of sign language and deaf culture serve as a bridge towards the positive learning of written French and francophone culture. This social innovation in the field of deafness has been recognized by the Minister of Education, Leisure and Sport, and has been introduced into schools using sign language in the Montreal region and the Institut Raymond-Dewar, a rehabilitation centre specializing in deafness.
The Group has also set up a virtual help centre to assist the deaf with written French. Carried out in close collaboration with various organizations for the deaf, this project saw the application of the results of the past 20 years of research to describing Quebec Sign Language and written French in the deaf. The website is visited by adults with a low reading level and by teachers of deaf children, interpreters and interpretation students. It provides, in sign language, grammar reference tools on the structure of the two languages, a bilingual lexical database, exercises on written French and banks of texts.
Rachel Berthiaume, Université de Montréal
Annik Boissonneault, Commission scolaire de Montréal
Denis Bouchard, Université du Québec à Montréal
Daniel Daigle, Université de Montréal
Suzanne Doré, Office des personnes handicapées du Québec
Colette Dubuisson, Université du Québec à Montréal
Isabelle Emond, Office des personnes handicapées du Québec
Denis Foucambert, Université du Québec à Montréal
Johanne Lemieux, École Gadbois de Montréal
Isabelle Montesinos, Université de Montréal
Astrid Vercaingne, Université du Québec à Montréal