Endeavor Spring/Summer 2016

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ENDEAVOR A Publication Dedicated to Families and Professionals Who Are Committed to Deaf Children

The Key to Opening Doors INSIDE THIS ISSUE ASDC’s Letter to A.G. Bell Association What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You Laws Affecting the Education of the Deaf Child

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American Society for Deaf Children #2047 800 Florida Avenue, NE Washington, D.C. 20002-3695 Fax: (410) 795-0965 Toll-Free Help Line: (800) 942-ASDC (2732) (202) 644-9204 VP asdc@deafchildren.org www.deafchildren.org Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/ ASDC-American-Society-for-DeafChildren/215538915154965

THE ENDEAVOR STAFF Editor Tami Hossler asdctami@aol.com

Managing Editor Anita Farb Publication Services T.S. Writing Services, LLC www.tswriting.com ASDC STAFF Director of Advocacy Cheri Dowling asdc@deafchildren.org © 2016 ASDC. The Endeavor is ASDC’s news magazine published three times a year. Published articles and advertisements are the personal expressions of their authors and do not necessarily represent the views of ASDC. The Endeavor is distributed free of charge to ASDC members.

ADVERTISING For advertising information, contact asdctami@aol.com. ASDC is a 501(c)(3) public benefit corporation.

A Look Inside EVERY ISSUE ASDC Board A Note from the Editor A Message from the President ASDC Educational and Organizational Members Membership Form FEATURES Social Media Explodes Over Letter ASDC’s Letter to A.G. Bell Association Gallaudet President Cordano Dispels Myths of Language Acquisition

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#WhyISign Is a Success on Social Media


2016 ASL Learning Opportunity What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You: The Risk of Impairing Visual Language Development in Deaf Children Incidental Information You May Not Get When You’re Deaf The ABLE Act Offers Savings Answers Laws Affecting the Education of the Deaf Child ASL Idol Fundraiser Benefits ASDC


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For a copy of the ASDC Endeavor’s submission guidelines, contact asdctami@aol.com. 1

ASDC BOARD Executive Council Board of Directors President Avonne Brooker-Rutowski, M.A. Austin, TX avonne.brookerrutowski@tsd.state.tx.us Vice President Lisalee Egbert, Ph.D. Baltimore, MD drlldegbert@gmail.com

Treasurer Timothy Frelich, M.A. Jessup, MD timothy.frelich@ gallaudet.edu

Past President Beth Benedict, Ph.D. Germantown, MD beth.benedict@ gallaudet.edu

Executive Secretary Tony Ronco, P.Eng. La Mesa, CA t_ronco@hotmail.com

Parliamentarian Jeff Bravin, M.A. West Hartford, CT jeff.bravin@asd-1817.org

Members at Large

Susan C. Searls Rochester, NY ssearls@rsdeaf.org

Erin Kane, M.A. Rochester, NY erin.kane@rit.edu Jacqueline Laldee Olney, MD jdlaldee@gmail.com

KaAnn Varner Sulphur, OK kvarner@okdrs.gov

Gregory Mendenhall Dublin, OH mendenhall@osd.oh.gov

Council on Education of the Deaf Representatives Serving on the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing Beth Benedict, JCIH Chair, and Jodee Crace

Gina Oliva Laurel, MD gina.oliva09@gmail.com

How to Donate to ASDC

Make a tax-deductible charitable contribution to ASDC and invest in the future of education for deaf children, strengthening networks among families, and providing a promise of a better future for our children. Donations may be sent to: ASDC, #2047, 800 Florida Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002 Or donate via PayPal at www.deafchildren.org, and click on Donate. 2


A Note from the Editor ASDC is looking forward to comfort zones and finding ways to open doors through a great summer and for the first time, instead of a famiconversations, even with those who disagree. This is ly conference, we are hostexactly what has happened ing the 2016 ASL Learning these past couple of months, Opportunity. It will be a great especially with the incredway to brush up on your ASL Tami Hossler in a big way. You can find all ible media coverage the deaf community has received. The the information you need to register for this very exciting event on President’s Message on page 3 is a good place to start reading about this topic. pages 13-15. This issue’s theme is The Key to OpenAs always, this issue is packed full of ing Doors. ASDC’s hope is that we all kinds of articles, news, and events. continue to educate ourselves and work Drop me a line at asdctami@aol.com with others to improve opportunities if you have suggestions on upcoming and education for our deaf children. articles or would like to write an article Sometimes it takes stepping out of our yourself.

A Big ASDC Thank You! ASDC would like to thank Rachel de Azevedo Coleman for her service on the ASDC board the past several years. Rachel is renowned for her work as creator of Signing Time, and has been a valuable part of the board.

Have a question for ASDC? Need more information? Call ASDC today! (202) 644-9204 VP or (800) 942-ASDC 3

A Message from the President

A Door Opens

Bonjour, hello, hola, cate with his parents in the salaam, marhaba, namaste! way he does best? There are so many ways Consider Spanish-speakto greet each other in this ing families in America and big, wide world. And greet their children. What if school each other we did, espepersonnel told them to speak cially on social media in the only English at home? How last few weeks! An imporwould children feel if their Avonne Brookertant door was opened to parents only spoke to them Rutowski remind families that ASDC in English if their command never sleeps — we are always alert for of Spanish were greater? This parallels opportunities to spread our mission children’s freedom in using ASL. It is and vision, including publicly respond- true that some people find learning ASL ing to the Alexander Graham Bell Asso- challenging, but there are creative ways ciation (see page 6). to communicate with deaf children. For Looking back on 20-plus years of example, parents can use gestures, a being a teacher of deaf children, I can’t dry-erase board, drawing, writing and/ tell you how many times I have seen or visual aids. children trying to please their parents Too often we are led to believe that by using their voices. Many children I we should learn only one language. Yet worked with would express themselves more and more research shows that chilfreely in American Sign Language (ASL). dren who use more than one language Yet when parents arrived to pick up or do better academically and socially. visit their children, those children often Learning ASL in addition to English is would change their way of communicat- the key that will unlock the future for ing — usually to spoken language . deaf and hard of hearing children. Of course, all parents want their As Ludwig Wittgenstein said, “The children, deaf or hearing, to succeed. limits of my language mean the limits Many parents think that the best of my world.” That’s why ASDC decidway for deaf children to succeed is to ed to offer its first-ever ASL Learning excel at spoken language. But think Opportunity. Join us on June 24-26, about this: suppose your child loves 2016 in Columbia, Md., with awesome ASL. Suppose your child feels comfort- teachers. Let’s open new doors during able using ASL. Wouldn’t it help the this fun-filled weekend; we want to child’s self-acceptance if his parents meet you! For more, www.deafchildren. could sign also? Wouldn’t the child feel org or contact Cheri Dowling at (800) more competent if he could communi- 942-2732. I hope to see you there! 4


Social Media Explodes Over Letter

People from across the nation celebrated as Nyle DiMarco became the first Deaf winner of America’s Top Model and then a contestant on Dancing With the Stars. He has become an inspiration to many because not only is he achieving fame, he’s also passionate about improving access to American Sign Language (ASL). The Washington Post published “A ‘Dancing With the Stars’ contestant is vying for a White House Correspondents’ Dinner invite” (at www.washingtonpost.com/news/reliable-source/ wp/2016/03/28/a-dancing-with-thestars-contestant-is-vying-for-a-whitehouse-correspondents-dinner-invite). The Alexander Graham Bell Association responded with a rebuttal, “Dispelling Myths About Deafness” (available on their website). An excerpt from A.G. Bell Association’s letter stated that ASL use was “declining.” It also stated, “DiMarco’s statements perpetuate the misconception that deaf children cannot listen and

speak well. Deaf children growing up today have unprecedented opportunities to develop listening and spoken language, thanks to newborn screening, early identification and intervention, and the latest technology, such as advanced hearing aids and cochlear implants.” The letter continued, “It is our hope to dispel the myths about deafness and spread the word that deaf children can hear and talk. What it means to be ‘deaf’ has changed.” ASDC, organizations, universities, and entities, upon reading this letter, united in efforts to educate the public as well as A.G. Bell on the effects of devaluing the need for ASL. This was a chance to open doors and minds and offer insight into why visual language for people who are deaf is critical. It was also an opportunity to say that we need to be supporting one another to open doors for deaf children all over the world. See ASDC’s letter on page 6. 5

ASDC’s Letter to A.G. Bell Association April 5, 2016 Ms. Meredith K. Sugar, President Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing 3417 Volta Place Northwest Washington, DC 20007 President Sugar, The Board of the American Society for Deaf Children (ASDC) wishes to convey our grave disappointment concerning the statements you made in response to the Washington Post’s article, “Dancing with the Stars contestant is vying for a White House Correspondents’ Dinner invite.” We applaud our many colleagues who have already sent letters to you highlighting the numerous research studies that refute claims you made in that statement. We hope you have also seen the outrage on social media concerning your statements directed at Nyle DiMarco. ASDC is the oldest national organization founded and governed by parents of deaf children. We believe that parents deserve thorough and unbiased information in order to make the best choices for their Deaf children. Our organization is committed to empowering families with Deaf children to embrace full access to language-rich environments through mentoring, advocacy, resources, and collaborative networks. The research tells us that language-rich environments for these children, by definition, include both ASL and English. Bilingualism serves children better, simply stated. You claim to be “dispelling myths about deafness.” In our view, AG Bell continues to provide misleading and harmful information to the public and especially to parents, about deafness and Deaf people. AG Bell refuses to acknowledge that thousands of Deaf individuals, who have been raised by parents influenced by AG Bell policies, are themselves now against AG Bell policies. It is our professional opinion that your organization has actually been spreading myths. One, you indicate that if parents use ASL, their child will not learn to use spoken English. This is simply false. Secondly, AG Bell perpetuates the myth that families will “lose their child to Deaf Culture,” if they chose to use ASL. This also is false. The world is full of Deaf adults who 6


are fluent in both ASL and English. And there are many who use spoken language in situations that warrant it. AG Bell has a long history of parading stories reflecting a small percentage of children who hear and speak very well. In most cases, their childhood years were full of visits to medical appointments and hours and hours of speech therapy. In reality, the ability to speak or hear does not define the success of Deaf individuals nor is it a reflection of their intelligence. Nyle DiMarco is a prime example of this. And there are plenty of individuals like him whom parents of Deaf children should be educated about, and AG Bell ought to embrace this truth and add this fact to their message. Finally, AG Bell should be fully forthcoming about the fact that hearing aids and cochlear implants do not provide full access to the world of spoken language. Research proves this. Research shows that Deaf individuals that grow up with both signed and spoken languages do better in all areas. Last but far from least, AG Bell should be aware of the growing interest in ASL in Deaf people as a cultural group. ASL is now the third most commonly studied language in colleges and universities. So the use of ASL is not declining, at all. Rather, it is alive and well and thriving. A parent said: “It makes a huge difference when we stop thinking about what we want, what we need, or what makes ourselves comfortable, and instead join in our children’s journeys.” We hope you will visit www.deafchildren.org and learn more about our resources and how we can support you and your organization. A true partnership between AG Bell and ASDC would truly be what all Deaf children and their families deserve. Sincerely, Avonne Brooker-Rutowski ASDC President cc: ASDC Board Members


Gallaudet President Cordano Dispels Myths of Language Acquisition GALLAUDET OFFICE OF UNIVERSITY COMMUNICATIONS

Through his tremenchildren. They grossly dous success on the misrepresent ASL as runway and participation a “last-choice” option in Dancing With the Stars, reserved for children who Nyle DiMarco follows in do not develop spoken the footsteps of numerEnglish. This contributes ous Gallaudet Univerto creating environments sity alumni who have in which language deprishown that deaf people Gallaudet President vation persists. Research can achieve any dream. clearly shows this is Bobbi Cordano Admirably, he has seized preventable when we this moment to advocate for full and immerse the deaf infant in a languageequal early access to language for deaf rich environment that combines the and hard of hearing children through strengths and benefits of both ASL and bilingual exposure to American Sign English. Language (ASL) and English. I wholly Research over the past few decades, endorse his commitment to guarantee- especially the past 10 years, confirms ing full access to language. the importance of language acquisition To parents and professionals, I want through visual language and auditory to share with you my position on this means. Prominent neuroscientists who issue, which is a profoundly impor- study early infant brain development tant one for Gallaudet and the nation. have identified deaf children who lack Research shows too many deaf and adequate early language exposure as at hard of hearing children are entering great risk for later cognitive, learning, pre-kindergarten with delays as a result language, and reading challenges. of language deprivation. We must focus Technology often is promoted on research-based approaches that as the solution, but decades of research do not create an either-or dichotomy show it is only one small part. The myth between learning speech and learn- persists that cochlear implants and ing language. hearing aids make a deaf child “hearing.” These devices are not ears, but tools to Dispelling the Myths facilitate sound perception and speech A small but vocal number of organi- discrimination. They require months zations and individuals persistently and years of intervention, intensive perpetuate the myth that ASL is not drilling and training, often at the an essential component of language expense of learning actual language. learning for deaf and hard of hearing This lengthy road can also contribute 8


to the child missing opportunities for full, normal exposure to the patterns of language and to achieve milestones vital for healthy language and reading success. Research Supports Visual Language There is now a critical mass of basic science discoveries about the biological foundations of human language, reading, and bilingualism. Gallaudet University’s world-class National Science Foundation Science of Learning Center, Visual Language and Visual Learning (VL2), which contains the Brain and Language Laboratory for Neuroimaging, both under the direction of distinguished neuroscientist Dr. Laura-Ann Petitto, comprises a large national and international network of cognitive neuroscience and behavioral science researchers. Dr. Petitto and this network have produced an extensive body of scientific research on the benefits of early exposure to visual language. These discoveries include: • Speech is not privileged in the human brain, but is biologically equivalent to sign language. ASL is processed in the same areas of the brain as spoken English; these key brain areas are not specialized exclusively for sound, but are specialized in processing the patterns on which language is built.1 • Early exposure to visual language confers significant visual processing advantages and maintains the infant brain’s sensitivity to the language

patterns it must experience within the required developmental timeframes.2 • This exposure does not harm young deaf children or delay spoken language development, but keeps their brains’ language tissue and systems “alive” and propels the acquisition of spoken English.3 • Early exposure to ASL supports strong English speech skills and better vocabulary and reading skills compared to hearing peers learning only English.4 • These deaf children have the identical benefits found in children who are bilingual in other languages, including more robust use of the language areas of the brain, enhanced social and interpersonal understanding, and stronger language analysis, reading, and reasoning skills.5 • Parents of young deaf children who are learning sign language do not need to achieve immediate and full fluency during this timeframe for their children to benefit from early exposure to ASL.6 One of the most damaging misconceptions is that the timing of developmen-


also not sciental milestones tifically sound in spoken and Studies show young deaf to advocate for signed languag- children exposed to signed an exclusiones is different, ary bias toward so it is accept- languages achieve every able to delay the milestone on the exact same speech or that spoken language child’s opportunity to learn timetable as young hearing is the only key to future success. language (ASL). children exposed to spoken In hundreds of Implementing studies over the languages. The signed and Best Practices past 50 years, spoken language timing These misconDr. Petitto and “windows” are identical. ceptions are other researchincredibly ers have conclusively refuted this myth. Studies show damaging to families who seek accuyoung deaf children exposed to signed rate information about their options. languages achieve every milestone They also contribute to a system in on the exact same timetable as young which families do not have equal access hearing children exposed to spoken to services that support both ASL and languages. The signed and spoken English language acquisition. Informalanguage timing “windows” are identi- tion about the benefits of visual learning and bilingualism is frequently withcal.7 A wealth of science discoveries show held from families of children identified that early exposure to both ASL and through early hearing loss detection English is beneficial for all children. For and intervention programs. Medical the young brain, early sign language professionals often immediately advise exposure is as biologically imperative families not to use sign language but as early spoken language exposure. to focus only on learning how to talk at Language must be made accessible to the expense of learning language. a deaf child to avoid lifelong conseThis must change. In order for quences for brain development, learn- parents to have true options, they must ing, and higher cognition. The more we have equal access to ASL and English engage the deaf child in language-rich language services. Antiquated views ASL/English experiences, the stronger persist in the healthcare industry, the child’s brain and language skills which has justified cochlear implant become. treatment strategies around the belief It is unethical to perpetuate the myth that spoken English alone is the key that the critical period, or “window,” to future success for deaf children. In for ASL language acquisition is differ- light of research showing that bilingual ent from that for spoken English. It is learning confers significant language, 10


reading, learning, social, and cognitive benefits, medical professionals and health insurers must require and support ASL and English intervention as part of cochlear implant treatment. The Future Is Here We are at a new juncture in history, in which the critical mass of scientific discoveries allows us to state conclusively that there is no need to choose between languages - it is better to choose both languages. We now know that the need for ASL has not decreased, but is greater and more urgent than ever in order for deaf children to gain all possible biological, cognitive, and language advantages. Offering a deaf child both ASL and English, spoken and written, is the greatest gift anyone can give to that child, to the child›s family, and to our world. I look forward to more opportunities to educate the public about language

acquisition in all children, particularly deaf and hard of hearing children, using proven, peer-reviewed and published scientific research and data. I am fully committed to Gallaudet’s bilingual approach and its benefits for the numerous students and families we welcome who don’t sign, or are new signers. They thrive through our programs tailored to provide immersive ASL experiences. We see the products of language-rich environments before us in numerous successful Gallaudet alumni, including Nyle DiMarco, a brilliant, beautiful, and articulate young man. I am so proud of how he is representing his alma mater, Gallaudet University, and supporting a vision for the best future for all children in this country. For a full list of footnotes and references, contact asdctami@aol.com or visit www. gallaudet.edu/news/presidentcordanostatement.html.

ASDC Referral Hotline Are you a parent or professional with a question, comment or concern? ASDC has a referral hotline. Our trained staff is available to answer your questions. Just call (800) 942-2732 or (202) 644-9204 VP. 11

#WhyISign Is a Success on Social Media Earlier this year, Stacy Abrams, a deaf mother to two deaf children, created the hashtag #whyisign to encourage people to share why they use sign language. This resulted in an overwhelmingly successful social media campaign with deaf and hearing people everywhere posting videos explaining why they use sign language. #whyisign has also been featured on ideafnews.com and www.dailymoth.com, as well. Abrams, of Phoenix, has created a Facebook page and a dedicated website. The website explains, “This website is dedicated to all the families and individuals who have learned ASL to communicate with their deaf family member, or deaf people in the community. They respect, value, and cherish ASL, deaf culture, and deaf people’s place in the world. This is a place where people can come to appreciate the different signing skills and experience of individuals who have braved and shared their videos and thoughts on why they learned to sign. We all are here because we believe in the power of communication based on love and trust.” For more, visit www.facebook.com/Whyisign-515038975329512 and www.whyisign. com.

2016 DeafNation Expo Schedule DeafNation Expo is the foremost touring trade show for, by, and about deaf people. DeafNation provides exhibitions, entertainment and seminars around the United States at no charge to the public. DeafNation Expo’s philosophy is that free admission brings a diversity of attendees who can share Deaf culture, needs, language, and information. DeafNation Expo began in 2003, starting with six expos. Today, there are 10 to 12 expos hosted annually that have attracted nearly 1 million attendees. The next expo will be held in Las Vegas on July 6-8. This expo is an exclusive DeafNation World Expo, bringing together thousands of people from around the world. For more information on upcoming events, check www. deafnation.com/dnexpo.



2016 ASL Learning Opportunity Instead of hosting our typical family conference in 2016, ASDC will host an ASL Learning Opportunity. This will provide families, siblings and professionals the opportunity to learn American Sign Language (ASL). We all know how important it is for families to use ASL with their children and this unique opportunity will give attendees of all abilities the skills they need to go home and use ASL with their children. For some it will jump start their learning and for others it will improve and reinforce the skills they currently have. This opportunity is for only 100 people aged 16 or older, of all ASL levels and abilities. This will provide everyone with the individualized support they may need. All attendees will receive more than eight hours of direct ASL instruction. Along with the ASL classes, many keynote presentations will provide additional opportunities to learn. The weekend will begin with the Roy Holcomb Distinguished presenter, Dr. Eddy Laird of McDaniel College. Dr. Laird will discuss Deaf culture and the importance of using ASL with children. Throughout the weekend there will be optional workshops that will assist parents with the signs they want to know, but don’t always know how to ask about, such as sexual signs, curse word signs, and more. Other workshop

topics include reading to deaf children, advocacy and so much more. Throughout the weekend, attendees will have the opportunity to earn ASDC Bucks, to be used at our live auction on Saturday night. Bucks can be earned by participating, and using ASL throughout the weekend The ASL Learning Opportunity will be held at the Sheraton Town Center in Columbia, Md. Registration is $400 per person, and includes all meals, small class learning, individual assistance when needed, keynote presentations, and much more. Hotel rooms are available at a rate of $135 per night by contacting Sheraton directly; be sure to mention you are with the ASDC June 2016 Conference. For more information or to register, visit www.deafchildren.org/conferences/asdc-conferences/ or contact Cheri Dowling at (443) 277-8899 or asdc@ deafchildren.org. Don’t miss out on this unique ASL Learning Opportunity. Claim your spot today! A registration form and more information are on page 14-15. 13

   

Registration open to individuals ages 16 and over. Intense ASL/Deaf Culture learning experience. All ASL levels and abilities are welcome. One-on-one attention. $400 per person. Space is limited. Register Today!

June 24-26, 2016 Join the American Society for Deaf Children at the 2016 ASL Learning Opportunity. This unique workshop will focus on teaching families and professionals American Sign Language. The weekend will include several keynote presentations that will focus on Deaf Culture, ASL and much, much more.

2016 ASL Learning Opportunity Hosted by: The American Society for Deaf Children

June 24-26, 2016 Sheraton Town Center 10207 Wincopin Circle Columbia, MD 21044

Your registration fee includes: 

Small group ASL classes

One-on-one instruction when needed

Keynote Presentations

Evening Activities

All meals

For more information or to register contact Cheri Dowling at 800-942-2732 or asdc@deafchildren.org



Registration Fee: 

$400.00 per person

Registration Fee Includes: 

Reception Friday Night

Breakfast Saturday and Sunday mornings

Lunch Saturday and Sunday

Dinner Saturday

Conference Schedule: 

5:00 pm - 9:00 pm Friday, June 24th

9:00 am - 4:00 pm Saturday, June 25th

5:00 pm - 9:00 pm Saturday evening

9:00 am - 3:00 pm Sunday, June 26th

Hotel Room is not included, reservations can be made by contacting the hotel directly at 410-730-3900. ASDC Room Block rate is $135.00 per night.

ASL Interpreters will be provided for keynote presentations

For more information contact Cheri Dowling at 800-942-2732 or asdc@deafchildren.org

2016 ASL Learning Opportunity June 24-26, 2016 Registration Please use one registration form per person

________________________________________ Name ________________________________________ Address ________________________________________ City _______________ _____________________ State Zip Code ________________________________________ Email Address ________________________________________ Phone Dietary Restrictions: _________________ ________________________________________ ASL Level: (Circle One) Beginner Advanced Expert Amount Enclosed:


Payment accepted by check or credit card Please mail or email your registration form to: Cheri Dowling American Society for Deaf Children #2047 800 Florida Avenue, NE Washington, DC 20002 asdc@deafchildren.org Checks made payable to: American Society for Deaf Children. Credit Card payments can be made through our website Pay Pal Account at www.deafchildren.org


What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You: The Risk of Impairing Visual Language

Development in Deaf Children

By Wyatte C. Hall, Ph.D. Psychology Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Massachusetts Medical School For hundreds of years, language philosophies and education of deaf children have been mired in an eitheror dilemma between sign language and speech-exclusive approaches. This has been described as a “highly polarized conflict” with widespread misinformation about what is the best approach (Humphries et al., 2012a). Both sides agree that the deaf child needs language exposure, critical for healthy development, as soon as possible. The modern twist on this dilemma is the cochlear implant (CI), its representation as a “cure” for hearing loss, and the belief that sign language interferes with that cure (Humphries et al., 2012b). Parents have high expectations for successful outcomes of the implantation process, despite extreme variability and a lack of first-language acquisition focus in CI outcome research (Hyde, Punch, & Komesaroff, 2010; Humphries et al., 2012b; 2014c). The process of choosing implantation has been described as “stressful” for parents, but many go ahead with the belief that it is the only option for their deaf child to acquire language. However, a successful outcome with the CI in terms of language ability has 16

yet to be clearly defined by the medical and education fields (Humphries et al., 2014c). Receiving a CI between 1 and 2 years old does not guarantee normal language skills four to five years after implantation, as some implanted children display significant language deficits (Duchesne, Sutton, & Bergeron, 2009). Typically, the primary information sources for the CI process are implantation centers and medical professionals (Hyde, Punch, & Komesaroff, 2010). Medical and educational advice is frequently rooted in a framework of viewing deaf children as “defective hearing people” (Bailes, Erting, Erting, & Thumann-Prezioso, 2009). In fact, medical school education does not address language development for deaf and hard of hearing children (Humphries et al., 2014b), which can

For hundreds of years, language philosophies and education of deaf children have been mired in an either-or dilemma between sign language and speech-exclusive approaches. . .


lead to flawed medical advice. Parents Conference Schedule can rely on teachRegistration and ers, Wednesday ministers, and Opening “Sample Our City” other commuFunfor Night! Families nity Family members will sample menu items from advice, yet these Frederick area restaurants, sources are often about Frederick cultural not learn knowledgeable about language, venues, shop at local merchant cognitive, booths, andand enjoy activities brainsuch development as face painting, a petting factors zoo,(Humphries games, and more. et al., 2014c). As a result, parents are Thursday through Saturdayand – misinformed about the “potential Parent Workshops: Three probable implications” of not exposfull days of concurrent ing their deaf child to a fully accessible workshops on449, issues, choices, visual language (p. Bailes, Erting, Erting, & Thumann-Prezioso, 2009). consequences, and the many Brain imagingresources research suggests available that can that the auditory cortex is adapted profoundly impact the to more visual functioning in deaf development of deaf or children. hard of This hearing adaptation has been suggested children. Professionals to represent visual language will present in each of theimpairfive ing later speech development key areas covering such(rather than deafness itself). These researchdiverse topics as family ers suggest deaf children’s use of sign dynamics, cochlear implant language itself (which is often used effective use, language after delayed exposure) as a cause of poordevelopment, CI outcomes, secondary and subsequently conditions, education advocate for preventing signchoices, language community options exposure prior support to implantation and access, and many &more. (Lyness, Woll, Campbell, Cardin, 2013). If spoken Program: language is A not fully Children’s accessible to the deaf child and comprehensive three-day sign language exposure is delayed, then program of planned, there is a strong possibility of permasupervised activities for nent brain changes. children and teens ages 0 to 21 During the critical period of language in four age Thedegree of acquisition, theregroups. is a high needs delays and affect braininformational plasticity. Language

unique experiences of deaf youth and siblings will be addressed through art, drama, and team building activities; sibling workshops; and games, field trips, and more. Evening Activities: Family oriented activities each evening offer family and social time. On one evening, development of neurolinguistic strucparticipants will explore tures in the brain, especially those Frederick’s sights, shops, related to developing grammar and galleries, and parks; enjoy (Skotara second language acquisition dinner theirand own; and to decrease et al., on 2012), appears experience living history grey matter in certain parts of the brain through Ghost Tours. (Penicaud et al., 2013). Altogether, a fundamental irreversible biologiExhibit Hall: and Sponsors, cal impact on the andthehealthy businesses related tobrain any of development appears to occur when conference key areas, an accessible language is not provided educational institutions and by a certain early time period in brain organizations, and local development. agencies and vendors will A brain imaging study of deaf adults display information and using American Sign Language (ASL) products in theyears, Exhibitbut Hall. for 30-plus who were exposed to ASL Bjorlee at different times Museum: MSD’s (birth to is 3 years, 4 to 7 years, and 8 to Museum packed with 14 years), found an “age of acquisition” historic information and effect on their ability to understand artifacts relating to the school, grammar (Mayberry, Chen, Witcher, Frederick, the Hessian Bar& Klein, 2011). More specifically, later racks, multiple wars, andmore activaexposure demonstrated more. tion in posterior visual brain regions, and lessmorning in anterior language brain Sunday – Final regions while watching ASL sentences. breakfast and Conference The reverse was true for those who Wrap-Up; airport were exposed to ASL earlier. Later transportation provided. exposure meant that linguistic infor17

mation was more likely to be processed as visual information, a far less efficient way of language processing. Even after decades of language use, later exposure to ASL meant less processing in language brain regions. Generally, delayed acquisition leads to less specialization of language in the brain (Leybaert & D’Hondt, 2003). Implanted children, who signed from birth, demonstrated comparable scores on standardized language testing (including speech skills) as their hearing peers. The implanted signing children’s scores were also better than results shown in previous studies of implanted children who did not sign from birth. The authors concluded that “without a period of language deprivation before the implantation of the CI,


children with CIs can develop spoken language skills appropriate for [their age]... sign language input does no harm to a deaf child’s spoken language development after s/he receives an implant” (p. 247, Davidson, LilloMartin, & Pichler, 2013). Language deprivation, through the exclusion of a fully accessible visual language, appears to be a more likely cause of poor CI outcome. The recommendation of using sign language as a “last resort,” after failure to develop oral skills, creates an extreme risk for language deprivation to occur. There does not appear to be any evidence that language cannot be learned via multiple modalities or that using visual language impairs speech development, but there is strong, and


growing, evidence that lack of language access can cause negative development (Lederberg, Schick, & Spencer, 2013). “Evidence from deaf people who have failed to develop spoken language in an oral environment suggests that when sign language is learnt later in life, they will never display the typical neural circuitry of natively learnt languages” (p. 2628, Lyness, Woll, Campbell, & Cardin, 2013). Language deprivation can cause cognitive delays and mental health difficulties across the lifespan. Mental health clinicians are seeing a trend of language deprivation and language dysfluency being a common “symptom” in deaf individuals who seek treatment, and are admitted to inpatient hospitals. For some of these individuals, language deprivation is so severe that it may be its own mental health disorder (Glickman, 2007; Hall, Anderson, & Elliott, 2015). Executive functioning skills are important for things like attention, planning, and adhering to socially acceptable behavior. Language ability is significantly tied to executive functioning, and some behavior issues of deaf children were suggested to be a result of “language delays” (Figueras, Edwards, & Langdon, 2008).

Prevalence of mental health issues appear to be proportionally elevated (some studies suggest at least doubled) in the deaf population (Fellinger, Holzinger, & Pollard, 2012). In a study of mental health status of implanted deaf children and their hearing peers, teacher ratings of peer problems and general issues were elevated for the CI students (Huber & Kipman, 2011). Additionally, one study of deaf college students demonstrated higher rates of child maltreatment, lifetime trauma, and post- traumatic stress symptoms compared to their hearing peers (Schenkel et al., 2014). In the studies described above, suggested protective factors all were connected to language. This included Deaf community identification and socialization with Deaf peers, as well as early access to communication with family and peers. In fact, parental communication appears to be a more significant predictor, than parental involvement in education, for positive language and academic development (Calderon, 2000). “The risks of harm associated with CIs should be more widely understood, and the current high risk of linguistic consequences, due to using CIs only as a response to deafness in the family, 19

The research appears to support needs to be alleviated greatly by the use of sign language along with CIs” sign language as a fully accessible first (p. 39, Humphries et al., 2014c). Sign language foundation. The cochlear language can ensure language acqui- implant is not the cure; implanted chilsition, which benefits the child and dren are still deaf and visual learners. parents, as well as the work of speech The lifelong consequences of language therapists and other professionals deprivation are too far-reaching, from primary to secondary education and (Trovato, 2013). The emerging evidence of language beyond, to limit a child’s development to the CI and deprivation and s p e e c h - d e ve l o p timing of language learning appears The cochlear implant is ment only. Sign to show a clearer not the cure; implanted language appears to be an integral path through the foundation that polarized conflict children are still deaf provides healthy over deaf children’s and visual learners. and expected devellanguage development for the opment. “All deaf newborns and newly deafened small deaf child. It also appears to promote children should learn a sign language spoken and written language skills in a regardless of whether they receive a CI way that does not interfere, and actualor a hearing aid... the cognitive factor ly may be crucial support for successful that correlates best to literacy among second-language acquisition alongside deaf children is a foundation in a first the CI. For a full list of references, please language” (p. 36, Humphries et al., 2014a). contact asdctami@aol.com.

ASDC IS ONLINE! www.deafchildren.org www.bit.ly/asdcfacebook

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Incidental Information You May Not Get When You’re Deaf By Marta Belsky Signing Savvy Hearing people have access to incidental information all the time. They overhear conversations and hear comments and remarks on the radio and television. Even background noises count as incidental information. People with “hearing privilege” often don’t even think about this because it just happens. How often can we actually pinpoint the exact moment we learned a new piece of information? Most of us forget where or how we came by the knowledge we have. We just know what we know. Some examples of incidental information that deaf people often miss out on are: • When a hearing person laughs at something someone said. • When hearing students in class talk about random things. • When an announcement is made over the PA system. • When you overhear a conversation at another table or in the next room. • When you can overhear multiple conversations at the same time around you and you can tune in or out of any conversation you want. • When interpreters (because of speed or skill) drop information. • Listening to what older kids say on the bus. • Listening to an announcement on the radio. • Hearing a commercial on TV (not all are captioned). • Overhearing coworkers’ answers to questions. • Comments between teachers and interpreters. • Teachers talking, and interpreters signing, while students look down to take notes. • What your kids are doing in the next room: closet doors opening, cupboards closing, water running, zippers zipping, tiptoeing up the stairs, giggling. • Hearing keys drop, an alarm go off, a phone ring, or a knock on the door. When communicating with deaf people, be aware of this incidental information and do your best to keep them in the loop. 21

The ABLE Act Offers Savings Answers By Marilyn L. Weber President & CEO Deaf Interpreter Services

The federal Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, passed in December 2014, offers taxfree savings accounts for disabled people. Over half the states have since passed their own versions of the law and begun to implement it. The law will prove to be a tremendous boon to deaf and hard of hearing people, and other differently-abled individuals who are looking for a way to save for future health care, education, housing and transportation expenses, but need to simultaneously maintain eligibility for current disability benefits. Many deaf and hard of hearing people depend on public benefits such as SSI, SNAP, and Medicaid. However to be eligible for public benefits, participants must not have more than $2,000 in cash savings or retirement funds. The ABLE Account allows people with significant disabilities that developed before they were 26 years old to save money, tax-free, for a variety of shortterm and long-term expenses. These individuals can now have over $2,000 in an ABLE Account and still be qualified for disability benefits. Sarah Hart Weir, president of the National Down Syndrome Society, said in The New York Times she believes the 22

ABLE Act is the most important piece of legislation affecting disabled people since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act more than a quarter of a century ago. “This sends the message that people with disabilities can work and save money and be as independent as possible,” she said. Michael Morris, executive director of the National Disability Institute, estimates that close to seven million people are eligible for ABLE accounts. Although the ABLE law is a federal law, ABLE accounts are offered through state-sponsored programs, much as 529 college savings programs are. (In fact, financial planners refer to ABLE accounts as 529 ABLE or 529A accounts.) The ABLE law has been finetuned so that today individuals can choose to buy a plan from any state that currently offers one. This means that if you’re a differently-abled person


and you live in a state that hasn’t yet rolled out its version of the ABLE account, you don’t have to wait. You can start saving right away by participating in an ABLE plan available from one of the 35 states offering it. ABLE accounts have an annual contribution limit equal to the annual gift tax exclusion, currently $14,000. You can grow an ABLE account to $100,000 without affecting your federal disability benefits. If your account exceeds $100,000, your public benefits may be suspended, but not eliminated. You can learn more about the ABLE Act at the ABLE National Resource Center (ANRC), which was founded by the National Disability Institute to provide ABLE stakeholders with consistent, reliable information concerning the benefits of ABLE programs and accounts. . The ABLE Act is truly a big deal. One of the paradoxes of receiving public help in the past has been that because the government required you to be poor and stay poor to continue receiving benefits, recipients had a disincentive to save — the ABLE Act changes that. It goes a long way towards treating differently-abled people as fully human beings who have dreams and ambitions just like anyone else.

Maryland Office for D/HH Announces Motion on Language Deprivation The Maryland Governor’s Office for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ODHH) announced on May 3 that the Maryland Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Advisory Council adopted a motion advising the Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) to issue a letter to every parent of a child identified as Deaf or hard of hearing explaining that their child runs a severe risk of language deprivation and that the best way to prevent such deprivation is to ensure that their child is exposed at the earliest possible age to visual language in addition to English. In Maryland, this typically means English and American Sign Language (ASL). As stated in ODHH’s announcement, “This is a powerful statement and a giant leap in addressing language deprivation. Once again, Maryland is taking the lead in the country on Deaf and hard of hearing issues.” The adopted motion includes language recommending that information be distributed through every EHDI channel and to families and professionals, along with being accessible online in multiple languages, including English, Spanish, and ASL. For more, visit the ODHH website at http://odhh.maryland.gov. 23






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My Ty-Ty’s Eyes My Ty-Ty’s eyes articulated well lashes blinked out a code My Ty-Ty’s eyes spoke and heard deaf babies eyes are bold My Ty-Ty’s eyes sent me an S.O.S. that Sight Over Sound distress Jill Hawkins is a recent graduate of the Red Earth MFA program at Oklahoma City University. An Oklahoma native, she has worked for almost 20 years as a speech and language pathologist and deaf educator. Jill is also the proud parent of Ty Brady, a senior at the Oklahoma School for the Deaf.



Setting Language in Motion

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The Key to Communication Technology Parents staying abreast of all communication options can help their children reach the goal of being effective communicators. In addition to apps providing communication access on mobile devices and computers for on-the-go communication, video relay service (VRS) providers also offer communication features within these apps to make communicating easier for children and parents. For example, Sorenson Communications offers features like push notifications, which notifies VRS users when they have received a signed recorded message. Sorenson also offers the Enhanced Share Text feature, allowing users to save up to 10 quick messages that can be texted in response to a call. Another great feature is Internet Dial, for when children or other users locate a number to dial during a web search. Using this feature, they can automatically dial it by clicking on that number. Within the contacts list, children can also mark frequently-used numbers with Sorenson’s Favorites feature to easily access people they most often communicate with. These, and other features, make it easy for children to communicate effectively with you and everyone else, deaf or hearing. To learn more, visit www.sorensonvrs.com/ntouchfeatures.



Laws Affecting the Education of the Deaf Child By Freeman King, Ph.D. Well-intended federal laws have inadvertently negatively affected the education of the deaf child. The problem is not the law itself, but misinterpretation of the law. Even though a number of mandates have intended desegregation/inclusion and are noble and grandiose in their design, they are often exclusionary for the deaf child. An examination of the civil right acts of the 1960s (the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965) are examples of federal laws that positively impacted the educational rights of hearing minority populations, and were long overdue. However, for the deaf child, the idea of desegregation/inclusion for a child who does not have full access to a spoken and written language, has had segregating/excluding consequences. Though intended to address educational inequality, the practice of placing the deaf child in a public school classroom that is often not appropriate and most restrictive, promotes an unequal educational setting. Perhaps the public law with the most promising possibilities for the deaf child was the Bilingual Education Act of 1967. This act became the first piece of federal legislation regarding minority language speakers and offered federal aid to local school districts to assist them in addressing the needs of

students with limited English speaking and literacy ability. The act gave school districts the opportunity to provide bilingual education programs without violating segregation/exclusion laws. Had the federal government and states recognized that being deaf is not a disability, but a sociocultural-linguistic minority, this law could have been fortuitous for the deaf child. Yet, due to narrow interpretation, it has not benefitted the education of deaf people. The next piece of federal legislation enacted has had perhaps the greatest negative impact on the education of the deaf child: PL 94-142, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975. The intent of the law was to provide a free, appropriate public education for every child between the ages of 3 and 21, regardless of how, or how seriously, he/she was handicapped. Certainly, the intent of the law was good, but 31

implementing this legislation by mainstreaming deaf children into public school classrooms has been, for many deaf children, anything but satisfactory. The resulting consequences of this legislation have left many deaf children emotionally, socially, linguistically, and educationally impoverished. For the deaf child, what is supposed to be a free, appropriate education in the least restrictive environment has often been an education that is inappropriate and most restrictive. Subsequent education laws have passed as amendments or expansions to PL 94-142, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 1990. This law replaced the word “handicapped” with the word “disabled.” The basic tenets of IDEA echo the requirements of PL 94-142: the child who has a disability will be educated in the most appropriate and least restrictive environment, and that this environment will lead to socialization of the child with non-disabled peers. Two questions are immediately raised: Should the deaf child be categorized as disabled? And, can socialization ever occur without deep and meaningful communication with peers and teachers? 32

The least restrictive environment (LRE) clause of IDEA is a controversial, but much promoted, component of this law. The primary concern with this aspect of the law is its inappropriate interpretation and application as applied to the deaf child, not its philosophical premise. The law states that the least restrictive environment should be most like a “normal” environment that promotes and enhances socialization skills. However, the misinterpretation of the law, as it applies to the child who is deaf, has placed and continues to place the appropriate education of the deaf child in jeopardy. It is apparent that without deep and meaningful communication among peers, teachers, and the deaf student, it is impossible for socialization to occur — resulting in the most restrictive environment. The misinterpretation of “least restrictive” has created a situation in which many deaf children are placed in inappropriate mainstream programs


within the public schools. Often, these placements are accomplished while disregarding the child’s linguistic preferences, language development needs, identity, and sociocultural needs. The decision of mainstreaming is often made by administrators, special education specialists, audiologists, and speech-language pathologists who do not understand the predisposition of the deaf child to acquire a natural, visual language (many deaf children are primarily visual learners, with or without technological enhancements). The decision to place the deaf child in the mainstream is often based on the premise that the interpreter will equalize communication among the deaf child, the teacher, and hearing peers; the interpreter provides for equal language access and remediates the social and emotional needs of the child. This is not necessarily the case, as many interpreters are not certified or qualified, and therefore do not possess the skills to truly equalize communication in the classroom. It is also important to note that many public school districts in the United States have only one or two deaf students in the entire program, thus circumventing the critical mass to foster identity and language development. If a local school district is entertaining the idea of offering an appropriate educational program for deaf children, it must

focus on how that program will offer a quality education that will prepare the deaf student to compete as an equal with hearing children in the school. There are certain criteria that should be considered in order to assure appropriateness, effectiveness, and a least restrictive environment. These include: 1. The program should include a critical mass of deaf children (at least five per class) in order to provide for socialization, identity development, and language growth and enhancement. 2. Homogeneous grouping possibilities should exist that will facilitate grouping by age, IQ, and linguistic competence. 3. Only teachers who are qualified/ certified and have a respect for and understanding of Deaf culture should have deaf students in their classes. 4. Only teachers who can communicate directly and appropriately with deaf students should be utilized in classes with deaf children.


5. Deaf adult role models should be present on a regular basis in the educational process, either as administrators, teachers, or aides. 6. Curriculum that includes Deaf history and Deaf culture should be available in classrooms that have deaf children. 7. Only intelligence, achievement, and other placement tests that have been normed on a deaf population and administered by personnel who can communicate fluently with the deaf child should be used. 8. Interpreters involved in the program should be highly certified and knowledgeable concerning the Deaf culture. 9. The hearing administrators, teachers, and students in the school should be offered continuing opportunities to learn and use ASL. Another federal law that has impacted the education of the deaf child is the Newborn Infant Hearing and Screening Intervention Act of 1999 (incorporated as Title VI of the Labor, HHS and Education Appropriations Act of 1999). This law provides federal grants to states to implement their own screening and intervention initiatives for deaf children. The rationale behind the act was that the earlier deaf and hard of hearing children were identified, the better chance they would have of receiving appropriate language support 34

and development at a crucial time. The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) took a leadership role with other medical, audiological, and educational organizations to ensure passage of this bill. The NAD made the following suggestions for state legislation in its support of this act: 1. Screening should occur for all newborns and infants, not just for those from deaf and hard of hearing families or those who fall in a highrisk category. 2. State Advisory Boards should include representatives from the Deaf and hard of hearing communities as well as Deaf and hard of hearing professionals. 3. State programs should include not only newborn hearing screening, but also follow up evaluation and intervention services. Communication and language development in the early years are critical building blocks for excellence in education. 4. Personnel who provide these


services should have the specialized knowledge, skills, experience and attributes needed to serve deaf and hard of hearing infants and their families, including being proficient in ASL or other forms of visual communication. 5. Each state should have complete, up-to-date listings of all state and national resources for providers of early intervention programs and services, professional and/ or consumer based organizations serving deaf and hard of hearing communities, social service agencies, statewide educational programs, parent resources, speech and hearing personnel, and related networks for referral purposes. Certainly, this act can be advantageous to the early education of deaf children, if implemented without bias. These early years are critical to language, identity, and social development that will carry over into formal schooling. The most recent federal legislation that has impacted the education of the deaf child is PL 107-110, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002. The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) was authorized in 2002 as a means to raise the academic achievement of all students until age 21, regardless of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or proficiency level in English and/or disability. Closely examined, NCLB is the current incarnation of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), whose purpose was to raise achievement and close achievement gaps.

The Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf (CEASD) stated in 2009 that in order for the promises and goals of ESEA and NCLB to become a reality, the public education system must recognize its unique obligation to include deaf children in this important educational movement, and to understand the following specifically related to the deaf child: 1. Children who are deaf are affected not only by most of the same factors influencing the development of hearing children, including early childhood diseases, diversity in their social environments, the socioeconomic status of their parents and so on, but often they do not have access to the language models and interaction at home necessary during the critical years for linguistic, social, and cognitive development. 2. While most hearing students come to school ready to learn with an age-


appropriate language base, many deaf students arrive at school with language delays that interfere with learning. 3. Many deaf students must come to school to begin to develop a first language. Schools are entrusted with the task of ensuring that the child develops age-appropriate language and learns grade-level material at the standard proficiency established by the state in accordance with the expectations of ESEA and NCLB. Without a strong language and communication base and appropriate educational, social and emotional growth, the prospects of deaf and hard of hearing students meeting high proficiency standards are diminished. Educational programming and the assessment of educational progress must reflect this reality. As laws are debated and ultimately enacted, it must be clearly stated that the success of deaf children cannot be measured by how closely they resemble their hearing peers. They must have access to education that enables them to become successful Deaf human beings. The education received should enable them to believe that being deaf is not a pathological condition fostering the attitude of incompleteness. As parents, professionals, and other involved in the education of the deaf child, we cannot continue to allow deaf children to be sacrificed to the gods of legislative and educational ignorance.

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Promote Pragmatic Skills to Improve Communication at School and Home By Colleen M. Bull, M.S., and Deborah S. Stryker, Ph.D. Effective everyday interactions rely on appropriate pragmatic behaviors. What are pragmatic behaviors? They are the rules that are necessary for all of us to appropriately and effectively use our language. Application of these rules promotes interaction and connections during conversations. This includes the simple acts of turn-taking, continuing topics, adding information, or making inquiries during conversation (Bates, 1976). Pragmatic skills affect the ability to use and interpret language correctly in social situations (Astington & Jenkins, 1999) and are related to knowing what and how much to say, to whom a message should be conveyed, and the correct way to present this message to other people. Deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) children typically exhibit deficits in pragmatic skills related to the hearing culture and spoken English (Marschark, Convertino, Macias, Monikowski, Sapere, & Seewagen, 2007; Toe & Paatsch, 2010). As educators and parents/caregivers of these children, it is important that we recognize

the ways they typically struggle with pragmatic skills. In doing so, we can nurture, teach and guide them toward higher levels of pragmatic competency. To date, research into the pragmatic language skills of DHH children indicates that they struggle with comprehension of question-and-answer processes, the ability to ask questions for clarification purposes (Marschark et al., 2007; Toe & Paatsch., 2010), and compensating for conversational interruptions (Kelly & Berent, 2011). DHH children also commonly have frequent communication breakdowns during conversation (Most, Shina-August, & Meilijson, 2010) and, in general, typically experience a developmental lag in expressive language capabilities (Lloyd, 2005) and overall language 37

(Toe, Beattie, & Barr, 2007). For Deaf children born to Deaf, fluent users of American Sign Language (ASL), the previously mentioned pragmatic deficits are unrelated to how these children interact with other members of Deaf culture. The pragmatics of Deaf culture and ASL are typically well embodied by children who have been surrounded by fluent users of ASL who are members of this culture. How to Promote Pragmatic Skills to Improve Communication Various researchers have indicated an assortment of suggestions for how we can best support the pragmatic development of DHH children. These relate to how we can foster teaching and parenting/caregiving environments, styles, and strategies that promote this type of growth in DHH children. Teachers and parents or caregivers should consider that mode of communication and the type and level of hearing loss do not necessarily predict overall levels of pragmatic capabilities (Thagard, Hilsmier, & Easterbrooks, 2011). To promote pragmatic skills, regardless of communication mode, suggestions are below. DHH children should: Have access to all communication: All spoken communication should be signed or cued (depending on the children’s mode(s) of communication). • DHH children should have access to all spoken communication that occurs in unstructured (lunch, recess, gym class, etc.) as well 38

as structured periods during the day (academic classes, presentations, etc.). • All media presentations should be captioned, interpreted, and/ or explained (as appropriate and applicable). Have access to all materials (books, toys, school work, media presentations, etc.) • If the language in classroom materials is too difficult for DHH children to comprehend, they should be provided with support to access the content of these items (books, worksheets, games, etc.). This may include teachers or parents/caregivers explaining the materials in a simpler language or providing additional support to enable DHH children to use these items successfully. Be encouraged to interact with peers • DHH children should be provided with periods throughout the day to interact with DHH and hearing peers. • Teachers and parents/caregivers should encourage and facilitate communication across a variety of contexts in order to broaden the children’s scope of interactions (working with other classrooms, setting up play dates, etc.). Be involved in activities and conversations that foster their participation (Stinson & Antia, 1999) • During activities, lessons, and interactions, DHH children should be included as valuable


contributors to the conversations and interactions, not merely as passive participants. • Teachers and parents/caregivers should actively seek the thoughts and opinions of DHH children to engage them in the activity, conversation, or interaction. These suggestions will aid children in learning how to contribute to a variety of social interactions in both the academic and home contexts. Following these tips will also provide DHH children with experiences and prior knowledge that teach them how to approach and resolve communication breakdowns when they occur. Teachers and parents/caregivers should: Utilize shorter, less complex sentences • Focus on the main intent of the message and eliminate unnecessary words and phrases if possible. • Use age and grade-appropriate vocabulary while limiting the length of sentences. Focus on conveying the main idea of a message • Communicate topic-by-topic. Do

not confuse DHH children by adding other unrelated ideas to the message. Provide straightforward communication (Toe & Paatsch, 2010) • Ensure that the intent of the message is easily understood. Introduce DHH children to unfamiliar communication partners (Most et al., 2010) • Involve DHH children with peers in a different classroom, grade, or school (projects, field trips, etc.). • Parents or caregivers should provide their DHH children with experiences that involve a variety of individuals, not only those with whom the children are most familiar (sports, arts, social events, etc.) Offer adequate services and supports to DHH children related to language and interaction (Thagard et al., 2011) • Teachers should ensure, based on each child’s individual education plan (IEP), that they are providing all DHH children with the academic and social supports that they need to succeed and grow.


As teachers and parents or caregivers, we realize that the acquisition of language is one of the most significant and momentous milestones in the lives of these children. When DHH children acquire advanced communication skills and behaviors, they reach a higher level of language and communication. If children are able to effectively take turns, appropriately continue the topic, add related information, and make relevant inquiries during conversation, they will be more effective communicators. In today’s society, communication is highly valued and occurs on an almost instantaneous and continual basis. As educators and parents/caregivers, we realize that effective communication is a leading goal for DHH children. If we regard these suggestions as ways to stimulate and facilitate the development of pragmatic skills and behaviors, we will improve the overall linguistic capabilities of our children. In a world where those who can express their opinions and ideas are leaders, we need to utilize every tool available to ensure our children have the best opportunities to be these leaders, regardless of their hearing level and/or mode of communication. For a full list of references, email asdctami@aol.com.

DID YOU KNOW? The International Association of Parents of Deaf was founded in 1967 by concerned parents of deaf and hard of hearing children. The organization changed its name in 1985 to the American Society for Deaf Children. Today: • • •

ASDC is the oldest national organization founded by and governed by parents of Deaf children. ASDC depends solely on donations, memberships, and proceeds from conferences for operations. ASDC’s board is a volunteer board with members who pay their own travel and lodging expenses for all ASDC events.

Become a part of this innovative organization by joining today! See membership form on page 48.

www.deafchildren.org 40


iSigner: Where Technology Helps Bridge the Gap By Steve Bruner iSigner Vice President of Marketing and Sales As we watched our customers use our speech-to-text software, iCommunicator, we realized many preferred sign language instead of the printed word, including on websites. So we set out to further enhance our technology by creating iSigner, a realtime, hosted sign language translation app. Now any website can easily be translated into sign language. iSigner allows websites to display a video with what looks like a live sign language translator. This translator is actually thousands of short ASL videos being streamed back-to-back, with no gaps, through a video library of thousands of sign language words, letters and numbers. For example, if iSigner is installed on a website, a user can click on any word or an image with an “alt” tag and have it translated to ASL. For hyperlinks, the user can click and hold the link until iSigner starts to translate and then move the mouse/arrow away. The first municipality to install iSigner was the city of Fort Lauderdale. The city recognized that providing access to municipal websites for the deaf community was good for Fort Lauderdale businesses and citizens, and for visitors. By incorporating iSigner into its website, Fort Lauderdale is being

inclusive of all residents. With the help of iSigner, every new item posted to the city website is available in real-time ASL. There is no wait time; this information is available instantly. Additionally, iSigner can help with compliance with the American Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA states that “No qualified individual with a disability shall, on the basis of disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination by any public entity.” Currently, most websites violate the ADA if their website does not provide optimal solutions for persons who are deaf. Technology plays a vital role in today’s society, and if used correctly, it can help bring communities and businesses closer. To learn more about iSigner, visit www. isigner.com. 41

In the News Amendments Recommended for the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act of 2015 The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) Education Strategy Team recently released an update on the EHDI re-authorization bill currently in the Senate. The NAD-EST supports the re-authorization of EHDI with recommendations, including terminology change and a shift of focus to language instead of medical. The NAD-EST has also requested that the bill name be changed from EHDI Re-authorization to the Family Support Act. To watch a video, visit www.nad.org/ sites/all/modules/civicrm/extern/ url.php?u=20145&qid=3518455.

National Deaf Youth Day: March 6 To recognize deaf and hard of hearing youth across America, the NAD

has proclaimed March 6 as National Deaf Youth Day, starting in 2017. This proclamation is a result of one of the priorities established at the NAD conference in 2014. The NAD thanks and recognizes Pennsylvania Society for Advancement of the Deaf (PSAD) for being the state model and originator of the National Deaf Youth Day priority. A video about this is at www.nad.org/ sites/all/modules/civicrm/extern/url. php?u=20147&qid=3518455]. Setting Language in Motion: Family Supports and Early Intervention Setting Language in Motion: Family Supports and Early Intervention for Babies who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing is a free, web-based resource developed as a collaborative effort between the Laurent Clerc National Deaf

The Wizard of Oz, Other FSDB Productions Available Online The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind (FSDB) has a film, The Wizard of Oz, that has had more than one million views. This file was produced by the FSDB Deaf Elementary Eyes Alive! performing arts troupe. They also have many other productions, all available at www.vimeo. com/channels/eyesalive/videos. Photo courtesy of FSDB Â 42


Education Center and the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program of Boston Children’s Hospital. The goal is to foster an understanding of the importance of early language acquisition that supports robust linguistic competence and conceptual development in children who are deaf or hard of hearing. Early intervention providers, deaf educators, early childhood specialists and allied professionals, parents, and other caregivers will benefit from this resource. More can be seen at https:// www.gallaudet.edu/clerc- center/ learning-opportunities/online-learning/setting-language-in-motion.html. DeafBlind Technology Out of Sight or Out of Sound: There Is Always a Way — Living with a Secondary Hearing Impairment “Ask any seasoned deaf person if they would prefer coping with no sight or no hearing and, pretty consistently, you’ll get the answer that it is far easier to be deaf than blind. On the other side of the sensory arena, ask any seasoned blind person the same question and you will get an absolute declaration that blindness is the easier sensory loss to address.” To read more about DeafBlind technologies, visit www.afb.org/afbpress/pub. asp?DocID=aw170207. NTID TechGirlz & TechBoyz Summer Camps Deaf and hard of hearing students with interests in science, technology, engineering and math and who

are entering seventh, eighth or ninth grades in September can attend TechGirlz or TechBoyz summer camps at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf, July 23–28. TechBoyz and TechGirlz camps are designed to help students learn about and consider jobs and careers in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. Through hands-on activities, campers will explore chemistry, computers, engineering and science — even building their own computers to take home and commanding simulated missions to Mars. They also will meet other students with similar interests and enjoy social activities. Camp classes are held in English and sign language, are certified by the New York State Department of Health, and incorporate National Science Education Standards. The cost is $700 and includes tuition, housing in a campus residence hall, and meals and snacks for the week. Limited scholarships are available based on financial need. Parents are invited to opening and closing activities. For more information or an application, visit www.rit.edu/NTID/TechGirlzNR or www.rit.edu/NTID/TechBoyzNR, call 585-475-7695 (voice), 585-286-4555 (videophone), or email TechGirlz@ntid.rit.edu or TechBoyz@ ntid.rit.edu. Share your news with the ASDC community by emailing asdctami@aol. com. 43

ASL Idol Fundraiser Benefits ASDC

By Dr. Lisalee Egbert ASDC Vice President The luck of the Irish was with ASDC on St. Patrick’s Day. Seven high schools offering ASL as a foreign language came together on March 17 to compete in an annual ASL Idol Show, with all the raised funds donated to ASDC. Students performed a variety of songs in ASL to the packed house. Since the event was hosted on St. Patrick’s Day, the theme was green with a splash of blarney. One ASL student designed a clever green T-shirt with a leprechaun wearing an Irish flag as a sash and on the side of the leprechaun there was a lucky four- leaf clover using hands as the leaves. The T-shirt read, “Kiss Me, I Sign.” In addition to the shirts, there were also homemade Irish soda cakes for sale, chocolate candies in the shape of the “I love you” sign, and more. The silent auction had over 40 items to bid on. A hugely supportive and gener44

ous community in Long Island, N.Y., donated all the items. The Emcees took numerous opportunities to share the work that ASDC does for families with deaf and hard of hearing children with the bursting auditorium. Judges included ASDC Vice President Lisalee D. Egbert, her son, Dale, Mill Neck Manor Alumni Association President Laura Rosenberg, RIT interpreting student and former West Islip ASl student Gillian Trommer, and West Islip teacher Ms. Hecht. It was truly overwhelming to see the number of high school students who were learning ASL as their foreign language. Even more amazing is that seven high schools in the area offer ASL as a foreign language; it was delightful to see both Deaf and hearing ASL teachers working collaboratively. With our allies, we can work together to make a difference. ASDC is grateful to West Islip High School for the generosity shown through its students and this ASL Idol show.


ASDC’s Educational and Organizational Members American School f/t Deaf 139 N. Main St. West Hartford, CT 06107 860-570-2300 www.asd-1817.org

Florida School f/t Deaf & Blind 207 N. San Marco Ave. St. Augustine, FL 32084 800-344-3732 www.fsdb.k12.fl.us

Atlanta Area School f/t Deaf 890 N. Indian Creek Dr. Clarkston, GA 30021 404-296-7101 www.aasdweb.com

Gallaudet University 800 Florida Ave. NE Washington, DC 20002 202-651-5000 www.gallaudet.edu

California School f/t Deaf 39350 Gallaudet Dr. Fremont, CA 94538 510-794-3685 www.csdeagles.com

Georgia School f/t Deaf 232 Perry Farm Road SW Cave Spring, GA 30124 800-497-3371 www.gsdweb.org

California School f/t Deaf 3044 Horace St. Riverside, CA 92506 951-248-7700 www.csdr-cde.ca.gov

Indiana School f/t Deaf 1200 E. 42nd St. Indianapolis, IN 46205 317-550-4800 www.deafhoosiers.org

Kansas School f/t Deaf 450 E. Park St. Olathe, KS 66061 913-791-0573 www.ksdeaf.org Kendall Demonstration Elementary School 800 Florida Ave. NE Washington, DC 20002 202-651-5206 www.gallaudet.edu/clerc_ center Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center 800 Florida Ave. NE Washington, DC 20002 202-541-5855 www.gallaudet.edu/ clerc-center Louisiana School f/t Deaf 2888 Brightside Dr. Baton Rouge, LA 70820 225-769-8160 www.lalsd.org

Going Green! Help save trees and costs by receiving an online version of The Endeavor instead of a hard copy. Email your request to asdc@deafchildren.org.


Maryland School f/t Deaf PO Box 250 Frederick, MD 21705 301-360-2000 www.msd.edu

Scranton School for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children 537 Venard Rd. Clarks Summit, PA 18411 866-400-9080

Model Secondary School f/t Deaf 800 Florida Ave. NE Washington, DC 20002 202-651-5031 www.gallaudet.edu/ clerc_center


National Technical Institute f/t Deaf 52 Lomb Memorial Dr. Rochester, NY 14623 585-475-6426 www.ntid.rit.edu

Texas School f/t Deaf 1102 S. Congress Ave. Austin, TX 78704 512-462-5353 www.tsd.state.tx.us

NM School f/t Deaf 1060 Cerrillos Rd. Santa Fe, NM 87505 505-827-6700 www.nmsd.k12.nm.us NY School f/t Deaf 555 Knollwood Rd. White Plains, NY 10603 914-949-7310 www.nysd.net ND School f/t Deaf 1401 College Dr. North Devils Lake, ND 58301 800-887-2980 ndsd.school@k12.nd.us Pennsylvania School f/t Deaf 100 W. School House Lane Philadelphia, PA 19144 215-951-4700 www.psd.org 46

SD School f/t Deaf 2001 E. 8th St. Sioux Falls, SD 57103 605-367-5200 www.sdsd.sdbor.edu

The Learning Center f/t Deaf 848 Central St. Framingham, MA 01701 508-879-5110 www.tlcdeaf.org Washington School f/t Deaf 611 Grand Blvd. Vancouver, WA 98661 360-696-6525 www.wsd.wa.gov West Virginia Schools f/t Deaf and Blind 301 E. Main St. Romney, WV 26757 304-822-4800 www.wvsdb2.state.k12. wv.us

Western Pennsylvania School f/t Deaf 300 E. Swissvale Ave. Pittsburgh, PA 15218 800-624-3323 www.wpsd.org Willie Ross School f/t Deaf 32 Norway St. Longmeadow, MA 01106 413-567-0374 www.willierossschool.org


Communication Services f/t Deaf 102 N. Krohn Place Sioux Falls, SD 57103 605-367-5760 www.c-s-d.org Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools & Programs for the Deaf PO Box 1778 St. Augustine, FL 32085 904-810-5200 www.ceasd.org DawnSignPress 6130 Nancy Ridge Dr. San Diego, CA 92121 858-625-0600 www.dawnsign.com Deaf Cultural Center Foundation 455 E. Park St. Olathe, KS 66061 913-782-5808 www.deafculturalcenter.org

Described and Captioned Media Program 1447 E. Main St.


Spartanburg, SC 29307 800-327-6213 www.dcmp.org

Auckland, NZ 1010 +64 9 925 5035 www.kiwadigital.com

“Hear With Your Eyes” Therapy Alison Freeman, Ph.D. 424 12th St. Santa Monica, CA 90402 310-712-1200 www.dralisonfreeman.net

New York Foundling Deaf Services Program 590 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY 10011 212-727-6848 www.nyfoundling.org

Institute for Disabilities Research and Training, Inc. (IDRT) 11323 Amherst Avenue Wheaton, MD 20902 301-942-4326 www.idrt.com Kiwa Digital Ltd. 19 Drake St. Victoria Park Market

Quota International 1420 21st Street, NW Washington, DC 20036 202-331-9694 www.quota.org Rhode Island Commission f/t Deaf and Hard of Hearing One Capitol Hill

Ground Level Providence, RI 02908 401-256-5511 www.cdhh.ri.gov Signing Online LLC PO Box 86 Mason, MA 48854 517-676-4361 www.signingonline.com Signs for Hope 867A Charlotte Hwy Fairview, NC 28730 www.signsforhope.org Talking Hands Inc. PO Box 7599 Largo, MD 20792 301-306-1606 www.talkinghands incorporated.org

Membership Package for Schools/Organizations ASDC provides a very special membership option for schools and organizations. If your school or organization would like to join ASDC as an Educational Member, ASDC will provide your school or organization with: • A free one-year membership for all of your families • A special thank you in the next monthly email blast • A special thank you in The Endeavor • A special thank you in the news section of the ASDC website • A link to your school or organization’s website • Your contact information posted on ASDC’s Educational/Organizational Membership webpage

To join, complete the membership form on page 48. If you would like more information, email asdc@deafchildren.org or call (800) 942-2732. 47

asdc@deafchildren.org Parent Information and Referral Line: (800) 942-ASDC (2732)

MEMBERSHIP FORM Name:__________________________

Email: ___________________________

Address: __________________________________________________________ City: ___________________________



Phone: Voice/TTY/Videophone Membership Type Individual memberships _______$40 per year: Individual/Family Membership _______$100 per year: Three-year Individual/Family Membership _______$5,000 one-time fee: Lifetime Membership _______First-Year Free Membership (Families with Deaf children are eligible for a FREE one-year membership. Just fill out this form and mail, email or fax it back to us.) Deaf Child’s Name: ________________________________________________ Date of Birth: _____________________________________________________ Group memberships _______$250 per year: Parent Affiliate Group ( ____ Number of Parent Members) _______$125 per year: Library Membership _______$250 per year: Educational Membership _______$250 per year: Organizational Membership I would like to send more than my membership dues. Enclosed is a tax-deductible donation:

$10 $25 $50 $100 _______Other

Total Enclosed: $__________ Make checks payable to American Society for Deaf Children. Please charge my Visa or MasterCard: Card Number:__________________________ Expiration Date:______________ Please return to: American Society for Deaf Children #2047 800 Florida Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002-3695 Fax: (410) 795-0965 • Phone: (800) 942-2732 • Email: asdc@deafchildren.org


ASDC #2047 800 Florida Ave., NE Washington, D.C. 20002

Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Pittsburgh, PA Permit No. 993

With ASL and English, your child CAN... LEARN! THRIVE! SUCCEED! Mission ASDC is committed to empowering diverse families with deaf* children and youth by embracing full access to language-rich environments through mentoring, advocacy, resources, and collaborative networks. Vision All deaf children and youth shall have the opportunity to thrive in every aspect of their lives through the empowerment of their families. *ASDC uses the term “deaf ” to be inclusive of various hearing levels, including those who are seen as, or identify as Deaf, deaf, or hard of hearing.

American Society for Deaf Children #2047 800 Florida Ave. NE • Washington, D.C. 20002-3695 (800) 942-2732 • asdc@deafchildren.org • www.deafchildren.org