Parisot, A.-M. et A. De La Durantaye (2005) "Sign language assessment by speech-language pathologists? Presentation of a tool to assess phonological skills in Quebec Sign Language", Fit for the future. 20th International Congress on the Education of the Deaf (ICDE), Maastricht, Pays-Bas, 17-20 juillet 2005.

Since the majority of deaf children are often not provided with the right conditions to acquire a signed language as a fust language (Lhuissier, 2000), the development of tools assessing sign language skills seems relevant and urgent in order to intervene within programs of bilingual language rehabilitation at the preschoollevel. On the basis of this need, we developed a tool to assess the phonological skills of preschool level deaf children using Quebec Sign Language (LSQ). This tool was created by a team of linguists, speech-language pathologists and occupational therapists. The objectives of our talk will be as follows: 1) discuss the relevance of and the need for assessment tools testing LSQ skills in a rehabilitation context in the province of Quebec, and 2) present a detailed description of the different stages of conception and development of the tool. The development of the assessment tool was based on two theoretical frameworks: theories of acquisition and description of signed languages along with theories addressing the methodologies used in the conception of assessment tools for speech-language pathologists. A number of studies on the acquisition of signs and their internaI structure (BoyesBream, 1990; Marentette & Mayberry, 2000; Meier et al. 1998; Siedlecki & Bonvillian, 1997; Parisot et al, 2000, etc.) have shown that handshape, location, and movement could be independent sources of errors in the signed productions of deaf children. The elements we controlled in the conception of the assessment tool of LSQ phonological skills are those usually controlled in assessment tools for the phonology of oral languages (Bergeron, 1997): word frequency, phoneme representativeness along with levels of articulatory and conceptual complexity.
ln the first part of our talk, we will present a detailed portrait of the different conception stages of our tool (choice of lexical elements, phonological description of the items, definition of articulatory and conceptual complexity and tryout of a prototype). ln the second part, we will discuss two problems related to the efficiency of the tool: the actual system of LSQ phonetic representation and the shape and design of the evaluation grids.