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Total Communication (TC) is an approach to deaf education that aims to make use of a number of modes of communication such as signed, oral, auditory, written and visual aids, depending on the particular needs and abilities of the child.
Total Communication was originally developed by David Denton at the Maryland School for the Deaf in 1967, although the term “total communication” was first used by Roy Holcomb in California and was adopted by the Maryland school as the official name for their educational philosophy. TC was supposed find a middle ground in age-old disputes between oralism and manualism, and as an alternative to Simultaneous Communication. In practice, however, most Total Communication programs use some form of Simultaneous Communication.
Total Communication educational programs have been established in the UK, France, U.S.A, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Scandinavian countries, the Netherlands, France, Germany and elsewhere. In the United States, TC was most popular during the 1970s and 1980s, when most schools and programs for children who are deaf, as well as most major organizations in the field supported the TC philosophy. Today, the debate seems to be between TC programs and bilingual-bicultural education.
- Lowenbraun, S., Appelman, K., & Callahan, J. (1980). Teaching the hearing impaired through total communication. Columbus, OH: Charles E. Merrill.
- Mayer, P. & Lowenbraun, S. (1990). Total communication use among elementary teachers of hearing-impaired children. American Annals of the Deaf, 135, 257-263.
- Moores, D.F. (1996). Educating the deaf. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Co.
- Schlesinger, H. (l986). Total communication in perspective. In D.M. Luterman (Ed.), Deafness in Perspective (pp. 87-116). College-Hill Press: San Diego, CA.
- Scouten, E. (1984). Turning points in the education of deaf people. Danville, IL: The Interstate Printers and Publishers, Inc.
- Total Communication - The ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education, USA.
- Interview with David Denton, creator of TC
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