When it comes to literacy and the Deaf, the major challenges are really early identification and intervention and family support. If we could get that right the challenges in the schools would be MUCH easier to deal with!
However, since we still seem to battle with health and social development systems that are slow to change as well as social and cultural attitudes that see a disability as a curse and something which affects... the intelligence of the child, we will continue to have the challenges we have for a while to come.
Research has shown that children who are literate in South African Sign Language (SASL) before starting school are always the top achievers in schools for the Deaf. Although there is no written or auditory input when exposed to SASL, the child has language and has a good general knowledge and understanding of the world and the value of this in learning a second, very different language is immeasurable.