Treat her just like a normal child,"" the Spradleys were counseled when daughter Lynn was born with a profound hearing impairment, ""but don't gesture back to her. You don't want her to rely on gestures. If she does that, she will not want to learn to use her voice."" And in the five strained years they followed that professional advice, Lynn learned five words. Not until a confrontational school meeting, when a teacher admitted that perhaps 10 percent of deaf children acquire language through the oral method, did the family realize that in denying Lynn hand gestures which came naturally and imposing a language she could never hear, they had burdened her with a second handicap. Written by Lynn's father and uncle, this personal testimony emerges as an eloquent argument in favor of sign language as a first language for deaf children, a position opposed by conservative organizations adhering to Bell's original theories and just as vigorously upheld by most deaf adults and their organizations. For the Spradleys, the change meant immediate two-way communication, recalled in a way that will have readers reaching for the Kleenex; the first sign Lynn returned, after years limited to words like ""ball"" and ""Bruce,"" was ""I love you,"" and within weeks she was making up her own sentences. An obligatory referral for parents and teachers of the deaf, both affecting and persuasive.