Q: “What is Total Communication?”

A: It’s an educational philosophy that encourages teachers to use whatever methods of communication are best for deaf children, including sign language, speech, writing, or a combination of methods. TC was popularized by the much-loved Deaf teacher and administrator Roy Kay Holcomb in 1968, and since it recognized the value of signing in the classroom, represented a radical break from the rigid oral/aural approach that had dominated deaf education for nearly a century. There is considerable controversy as to what TC is and isn’t, and how well it’s been working. It is commonly, but erroneously used to designate "Simultaneous Communication" (SimCom)–signing and speaking together. SimCom can be part of TC, but the two are not synonymous.

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