Every time I assert that Simultaneous Communication (SimCom) does more harm than good, I always get some pushback. “It’s more inclusive,” someone says. “It gives Deaf people access to my conversation,” someone else states.
The truth is that SimCom is not inclusive at all. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Numerous studies have shown that when you attempt speak two languages at the exact same time (i.e. ASL and English), both languages suffer. You end up leaving out a lot of information in both languages (although ASL is typically the language that is most degraded), you make mistakes in grammatical structures that you wouldn’t normally make, and you produce the language(s) much, much slower than you normally would.
To make this point, I found a popular Instagram influencer who used SimCom in her stories. First, I watched without sound and just transcribed what she said in ASL. This is what a Deaf person has access to. Then, I watched the same video again and transcribed what she said in English. This is what a hearing person has access to. See if you can spot the differences:
Signs during SimCom: Good morning not good morning. Today was a normal day. Busy. 3:30. I don’t know, quiet work busy. I recently went to post (verb) the post office. Disney got *UNCLEAR* so to passport for that, working. Store day. Not share.
Spoken English: “I was going to say good morning but it’s not good morning. Today has been a normal day that’s so busy and it’s like, my goodness it’s almost 3:30. How is it 330?! So *UNCLEAR* been quiet, been working, busy, and we recently went to the post office and we’re working on our Disney cruise, so we had to get passport for the girls. We had to do that, and we had an appointment, and just go go go. So we had a launch today an I know is crazy because I haven’t shared it all but we have a lot that came, probably most excited is the key lanyards. They come in 5 different ones, this is kind of like our team collection. Red, orange, and blue and then we did the responder blue and responder red. These are now available.”
Signs during SimCom: Show you this cute. Perfect long. Team colors, match school colors, maybe your favorite team. You have a firefighter in your family. Police or firefighter. *UNCLEAR SPELLING*
Spoken English: “Ok so I did want to show you about the cutie landward. But I was like ok this is kind of like a badge so I just want to show you where it lays. Your badge is more than likely a littler smaller than this but I think it’s the perfect length, I’m really excited about the team color s because they can match your school colors or maybe your favorite teams. I just think it’s really cool. Or if you have a firefighter in your family or a police. Police. To show your support for them. I think it’s really cool. I love the responder clips and lanyard, so that’s kind of fun.”
Signs during SimCom: Difference between Luna. Wrong I have to stop texting. Really excited because I’m working with a few new makers. Text me today you have, you have. Not here right now for local makers. Always allow people who have their own designs, who create their own. Got one back from a test today, it passed yay! Can’t wait to show you.
Spoken English: “Also I wanted to show you diff between the Luna, which has small beads, like a miniature Jane. And then the Jane just to show you because I’ve gotten so many DMs asking me how are they different. So this is the Luna and this is the Jane for reference so you can see the size difference. Obsessed with this new one. Sorry, my phone never stops it’s like ding ding ding ding. Ok so here’s several. I’m really excited we have been working with a few new makers and I actually just got a text message today, “are you hiring, you hiring?” We’re actually not hiring right now for local makers. But we always let people who have their own designs like who created their own clips to send them to us. And we actually just got one back from testing today and it passed so I’m really, really excited and I can’t wait to show you!”
Now, imagine using SimCom to instruct young Deaf children. What do you think their language output will look like if this is their model?