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THRIVE Learn / Experience / Thrive


Early Childhood 0-6 • 2014-2015 • Volume 2

California School for the Deaf

“Devika is 2 years old now. In these two years, we have learned to respect every Deaf person’s ability to survive in this strongly opinionated and prejudiced hearing world. Destiny has chosen us to be her parents and we have chosen not to disappoint.“ Harshada and Sachin Kadu

Babies and Toddlers 1

Welcome Parents Thrive Magazine 2014-2015 Early Intervention Specialists Laura T. Petersen Michele Tompkins Educational Consultants Julie Rems-Smario JAC (Jennifer Ann Cook) Designer Tamara Kapustina Photographers Clare Cassidy Barbie Dike Danielle Saltzman Jaclyn Lanae Alison Taggart-Barone Sina McCarthy Tamara Kapustina Superintendent Dr. Sean M. Virnig Publication special thanks to California School for the Deaf Outreach California School for the Deaf 39350 Gallaudet Drive Fremont, CA 94536 (510) 794-3666 www.csdeagles.com

We have been so thrilled by our discoveries showing that signed languages and spoken languages are processed identically in the human brain. … These are very exciting findings - really, first-time findings. Dr. Laura Ann Pettito, 2012



ongratulations on your Deaf child. In many ways, your Deaf child is like any other child.


he will be excited by the waves at the beach, fascinated by a butterfly fluttering by, or disappointed when she can’t have more ice cream. There are also differences in how she understands the world. Deaf children rely more on their eyes to get information – they are visually acute, noticing movement and motion in their environment. Their gaze is attentive to details. Communication is visual. They notice subtle changes in facial expressions. American Sign Language (ASL) is a visual language that is 100% accessible to your child’s eyes. If your child has access to sound, research has proven signing will accelerate their listening and speaking skills. Signing is healthy for all children.


t is normal to grieve your preconceived image of parenthood; of having a child just like you or your partner. However, your wonderfully capable child is opening the door to enriching learning opportunities in a supportive community. The Deaf community is unique. Ninetyfive percent of Deaf children are born to parents whose child is the first Deaf person they have met. It’s almost as if upon the birth of your child, you were transported to an unknown land of new and uncertain terrain. In addition to learning how to nurture your child,

you’re learning about sign language and audiograms. During this delicate time be sure to keep in mind that many medical professionals are not experts in language acquisition or education and often only see Deaf children for a brief window of time and may not understand the long term ramifications of their recommendations.


y providing a visually accessible language that allows your child to be on par or possibly jump ahead of language milestones (see page 10), there are no limits to who your adorable little child will grow up to become. I hope you find this magazine helpful in preparing you to have your Deaf child kindergarten ready.


e are here to support you on your path as a parent of a Deaf child. We welcome your family into the Deaf community and into the linguistically rich world of American Sign Language. We encourage you to explore the possibilities for your child. We look forward to seeing your child and your family thrive. Sincerely yours,

Laura T. Petersen Laura T. Petersen Early Education Consultant ltpetersen@csdf-cde.ca.gov 510-794-3751

* Why capital “D” Deaf with a capital “D” emphasizes the unique visual and linguistic strengths of Deaf individuals. It is inclusive of children with all hearing levels (profound, mild, Hard of Hearing, cochlear implant users, etc.). Families with Deaf children are important members of this supportive global Deaf community that values Deaf culture and full language access.




“The human brain does not discriminate between the hands and the tongue. People discriminate.”

Dr. Laura Ann Pettito

2 Welcome Parents

18 ASL Baby LAB Developing Efficiency in

4 Families Devika’s Story

Understanding American Sign Language

5 Your Family’s Journey Fifteen Things to Keep in Mind

6 Perspectives 7 Success Thank You Mom and Dad for Signing 8 Families Iliana & Jonathan’s Story 9 From CDE Parent Links: Hope! Dream! Achive! 10 ASL Phonology How Do Deaf Kids Decode Language

12 Families Heath’s Story 13 ASL Stages of Development

19 ASL More Students are Learning Sign Language Than Chinese 0 Maslow’s Hierarchy The Important Role of 2 Language in Achiving Self-Actualisation 22 VL2

Eye Gaze and Joint Attention

24 What is an IFSP? 25 Planning Guide 26 ASL Nook The Night Before Christmas in ASL 28 Family Fun Weekend Weekend, April 4-6, 2014

The Annual Family Fun

14 Early Languge The Important Need for an Early

30 Deaf Readers Young Deaf Readers’ Word Processing Efficiency

Visual Language

32 Resourses for Parents

16 From CDE Through Your Child’s Eyes 17 Quality Education Looking for a Pre-School?

34 Change Your Vocabulary 35 Tips for Tots



Contributed by Harshada and Sachin Kadu

DEVIKA’S STORY “Our family uses four languages: English,

Hindi, Marathi, and ASL. The book ‘The Silent Garden,’ by Paul Ogden taught me that the best and greatest gift a parent can give his or her Deaf child is signing. We found out that being Deaf is not about hearing, but about communication.” Thanks to our parents, both my husband and I had the opportunity to pursue engineering careers. After we had been married for seven years, our lovely daughter Devika arrived. She was given the newborn hearing-screening test several times at the hospital with the same results - no response. When we went in for her diagnostic screening, we can still remember exactly what the audiologist said, “I am sorry to let you know that Devika has a bilateral profound hearing loss.” After the doctor clarified that Devika could not hear, I could not stop crying. “Who was responsible for her being Deaf?” “What made her Deaf?” I was trying to find the answers to these questions in books, on the Internet, and on the phone with doctors in India since I was hoping to get a different opinion. Every moment of every day I used to think: “What is she hearing?” “I think she heard that.” “She woke up because of that noise.” I tried to record how many times she responded to sound so that I could report it to my family and the doctors. I used to pray for a miracle, and secretly cry when I was alone. Then I would pretend that nothing was wrong when I was in public. I cannot describe the endless emotional highs and lows that we, as a family, went through. During this emotional time as

new hearing parents of a beautiful Deaf baby, Devika was enrolled into the local Early Start program. This started the healing phase of hope, faith, and acceptance. My fear, anxiety, and ignorance began to fade away, thanks to her wonderful teachers. I started seeing her as an amazingly bright girl. I began answering questions like: “Am I perfect?” “Is nature perfect?” “Is anything perfect?” The answer to all those questions was no. My husband and I understood that ‘nothing is perfect, complete, and absolute.’ Devika is the first Deaf person in our family, so everything about her was new. I am thankful we chose to not listen to the medical professionals who blatantly said all these things to us: “Technology can fix deafness”, “Why, as educated parents, are you limiting your child’s opportunities in life?” “Why choose signing over talking?” “She will always be behind hearing kids economically, socially, academically.” They tried to take advantage of our vulnerable state of mind and push us into making decisions, which we would have been regretting today. We decided to meet the real experts, Deaf adults, Deaf Education teachers, and parents. We toured a few schools and chose the bilingual route at the California School for the Deaf in Fremont because they did not seem to regret having

“I began answering questions like: “Am I perfect?” ,“Is nature perfect?” ,“Is anything perfect?” The answer to all those questions was no.”


Deaf children in their class. Today, we are the proud parents of a Deaf child who is deaf to the world, but who understands us when we sign to her and with her. Our family uses four languages: English, Hindi, Marathi, and ASL. The book ‘The Silent Garden,’ by Paul Ogden taught me that the best and greatest gift a parent can give his or her Deaf child is signing. We found out that being Deaf is not about hearing, but about communication. That helped us navigate the opportunities available to her: hearing aids, speech therapy, and ASL. Devika is 2 years old now. In these two years, we have learned to respect every Deaf person’s ability to survive in this strongly opinionated and prejudiced hearing world. Destiny has chosen us to be her parents and we have chosen not to disappoint. There is so much more to every Deaf child than two ears and one mouth.

YOUR FAMILY’S JOURNEY Fifteen Things to Keep in Mind

Watch your child’s language blossom.

5 6

Meet Deaf adults and other parents.


Confirm your child is Deaf with the newborn hearing screenings.


Connect with your partner and support team. Take care of yourselves.


Learn American Sign Language. Find ASL videos online and at your library.


Meet your Part “C” early start service coordinator, assessment team, and teacher of Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

Learn as much as you can. Gather research-based information.

12 13 14

Get a Deaf role model. Attend Deaf community events.

Visit and choose a Deaf and Hard of Hearing preschool.


Make sure your child’s language skills are on par with their age and cognitive abilities. Ask for an assessment in ASL and English.


Create your Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) request.

Enjoy being a parent.


Begin home visits with a certified teacher of Deaf and Hard of Hearing.


Learn about listening devices and visual technology.

Cherish your child.


Attend Deaf infant/ toddler playgroups to connect with other families and children.


Read to your child using ASL.

At home, my son Noah signs and talks, but I noticed that he is able to express himself more clearly with his signing. The more American Sign Language he learns, the more speech words he learns. If we’re watching a movie, he is able to describe the characters in such detail with signing.

Jessica Caster, Parent

The Deaf believe there is nothing wrong... The hearing believe something needs to be fixed... The problem is not that the students do not hear. The problem is that the hearing world does not listen.

Rev. Jesse Jackson



Laura T. Petersen, Early Education Consultant

Deaf and Hard of Hearing children are often identified within their first six months, thanks to newborn hearing screening. Previously children were often finally identified when their language deficits became apparent, often at two years old or older. Now parents don’t have to start from a point of trying to catch up. This is especially important since research shows that the first few months and years are critical periods for language and brain development. Ninety-five percent of Deaf infants are born to parents who often have no experience with people who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. So when parents are informed their child is Deaf, they scramble for information and are often confused by the varying information they receive. The good news is that there is a lot more research based information available to parents. Here is a general overview of three perspectives, they are not always distinct, however understanding their frame of reference can be helpful.



edical professionals are trained to look for disease or problems to be fixed. They care about people’s well-being and health. They are often the first to tell parents that their child is Deaf. They focus on physical treatment, and may not be aware of the unique and hugely impactful linguistic and psychosocial aspects of being Deaf. There are some causes of being Deaf that do require medical treatment, like meningitis, atresia and microtia. They may recommend elective cochlear implant surgery without informing parents of the benefits and risks involved as listed on the FDA website (http://www.fda.gov). They may tell families not to pursue visual language while waiting for the surgery thus having the child fall behind linguistically. Many medical professionals do not realize that listening devices are insufficient to meet the language needs of most Deaf children. They should not be involved in educational placement decisions because of their limited training and experience with Deaf children and adults. Deaf children are seen as needing to be fixed.





he visual language perspectives includes a variety of people who use sign language; Deaf individuals and their family members, teachers, interpreters, experts in the field of Deaf education and increasingly more and more ASL students. American Sign Language (ASL) is a natural visual language, here in North America and is at the heart of the Deaf community. This is a language that is accessible to all hearing and Deaf individuals. Children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing are encouraged to be bilingual in ASL and written English. This perspective believes typically developing Deaf babies do not require medical intervention but rather language access. Listening devices and spoken language skills can build upon a language foundation based on individual aptitude and desire. Being Deaf is a positive identity that does not need to be fixed. The visual language perspective and Deaf Community includes individuals at all stages of life, newborns to senior citizens. Schools and programs with a critical mass of Deaf children that have strong academic and social opportunities with peers and role models are valued. Deaf children are seen as whole and capable.



he auditory oral perspective focuses on teaching children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing to learn to listen and talk with their hearing family members and peers. The goal is assimilation within the general population. Emphasis is often on speech production rather than comprehension of concepts. Families are encouraged to invest much time and energy into speech training, auditory discrimination and lip reading. They believe that D/HH children are not capable of being bilingual at a young age. They may tell parents, “Don’t sign with your child because then they won’t speak,” despite the fact that there is no research to support that supposition. If they do allow visual cues, they encourage the use of Signing Exact English and Cued Speech, which are communication tools. Since these are not intact languages, they do not lead to better English skills. (Hofmeister,2000, Padden & Ramsey,2000, Strong & Prinz,2000). They want everyone to forget that the child is Deaf. Deaf children are seen as successes only if they can speak.

These three perspectives often conflict with each other, leaving parents confused and unsure of whom to believe. What is a parent to do? Explore the opportunities! Investigate listening devices and spoken language training, in addition to learning American Sign Language. Research proves that signing to children strengthens the parent-child bond as well as boosts children’s language and brain development (Malaia & Wilbur 2010). Parents of hearing children are signing with their infants since it has been found to reduce frustration and increase IQ (Acredolo & Goodwyn, July 2000). Learn from the experiences of Deaf adults, most of whom had hearing parents. Follow your child’s lead!

SUCCESS Thank You Mom & Dad for Signing Megan Matovich

CSD valedictorian, class of 2003 Megan is pursuing her PHD while working in Norway at Teater Manu on a project that explores the ways we can demonstrate “sound” on stage for a Deaf audience. She and her husband, Petter Noddelnd, started their own baby signing business in Norway.

Michael Anthony Spady Actor

Michael is best known for his lead role in “Hamill” (a movie that received AFI Fest Audience Award for Best Feature Film) He received a BA degree in Busines from the Rochester Institute of Technology. “There are two lasting bequests we can give our children. One is roots. The other is wings.” - Hodding Carter, Jr.

Marlee Matlin Actor

An Academy Award winning actress for her role in Children of a Lesser God. She has starred in several films and tv shows. Her perseverance in Hollywood is an inspiration to many.

“The consistent natural sign language interactions at home establish a healthy environment for the Deaf children to become critical thinkers and learners.” Singleton & Morgan, 2006; Erting, 2003; Garcia, 2003.

Melody Stein

Mozzeria Restaurant owner Melody owns and runs a highly esteemed restaurant in San Francisco, Mozzeria. It has the distinction of being Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (AVPN) Certified. Most of the waiters are Deaf, all of them sign to the patrons, which has become part of the charm of dining there.

Deane Bray Actor

Deanne started her professional acting career when she was discovered performing with a Deaf dancing group called “Prism West” while at college earning a degree in Biology. She is best known for her role as Sue Thomas in the show Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye and her recurring role as Emma Coolidge on Heroes. “When Deaf infants are exposed to sign language, they reach the same milestones during language acquisition as hearing infants do for spoken language.” Bavelier, Newport, & Supalla, 2003.

Howard Rosenblum Lawyer and CEO

Howard is a lawyer and the CEO of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), the nation’s premier civil rights organization of, by, and for Deaf people in the United States of America.

LiAn Jackson

CSD salutatorian, class of 2014 LiAn graduated with a 3.96 GPA. Soon after her parents adopted her from China and learned she was deaf, they learned ASL and moved to Fremont so she could benefit from a bilingual education. She will attend Rochester Institute of Technology. She aspires to a career in social justice.

Meeya Tjiang

CSD class presenter, class of 2014 Meeya is one of CSD’s most talented photographers and most dedicated students. Her parents learned ASL and strive to include her at all times in conversations. She will attend the Rochester Institute of Technology. She aims to start her own photography business.



Contributed by Yasmin Rames


pregnant with Johnathan Yana asked me if I wanted the baby to be Deaf or hearing? And I just wanted to cry at that moment and I said, “If the baby is Deaf or hearing I will love the baby as much as I love you.” I found out my daughter Iliana was Deaf when she was about 14 months old. I noticed she wouldn’t respond when I called her. Her dad used to say, “Oh, she is just ignoring you.” However I was concerned, so I took her to the doctor who noticed that she did not respond to sounds. We were referred to get her hearing tested where they informed us that Iliana had a severe hearing loss. I suspect she lost her hearing when she was 8 or 9 months old, because that is when I noticed she stopped responding to my voice. When I found out, I don’t know why, but I was not sad. I just cherished her more and wanted to take time to be with her. Maybe it’s because it was just Iliana and I, and I did not have anyone’s reaction to worry about. I also had seen my friend be in denial about her daughter being Deaf. For some reason I felt prepared, I never felt depressed. I knew I had to learn how to communicate with her. I focused on how I could help her. I had been through a lot and was going through a divorce. I knew I could focus on loving Iliana. I first visited the California School for the Deaf when my daughter was 2, just before we got her cochlear implant. I wasn’t ready for her to be so far away. I wanted her close to me. She attended

Harding Elementary School from age 3 until 6th grade. I was lucky that her teacher, Ms Silva, took the extra effort to help me learn sign language and provided classes for parents. When I was pregnant with my second child Johnathan, Iliana who was 12 years old, asked me if I wanted the baby to be Deaf or hearing? I just wanted to cry at that moment. I said, if the baby is Deaf

screening. I was scared and didn’t want to go through it again but my mom and dad insisted. When the audiologist told me Jonathan was Deaf, it was still a shock, even though I was almost expecting it. The hardest part was telling my husband. This was his first baby and I was unsure how he and his family were going to respond. Having already gone through the process I knew what to expect. He did not want to come with me to the follow up testing. However my daughter Iliana was excited to go with me. The audiologist confirmed his deafness. Iliana was thrilled. Johnathan being Deaf has been a relief for Iliana. I told her she had to calm down because we didn’t know how her step dad was going to handle this news. I had to or hearing I will love the baby as much prepare her that he might be sad. He as I love you. I wondered too if he would was in denial for the next two weeks and be Deaf. When he “passed” the newborn would say, “I know he can hear me”. screening at the hospital I questioned When he finally came with me to whether the woman who did the testing the audiologist, my husband just went was afraid to tell me the true results. silent when they told him Jonathan was When Jonathan was 4 months old I profoundly Deaf. When they asked if dropped some pans and he didn’t wake we wanted to know about hearing aids up. I decided I would test his hearing and cochlear implants, my husband said again but it took me two months. I just yes. He was quiet the entire drive home. kept thinking, he passed his newborn We watched the video they had given us about cochlear implants. He just started crying. I said, “You don’t need to cry, it’s ok. Look at Iliana, and how well she is doing. She has so many opportunities here, not like if we were back in our home country El Salvador.” I came here

“For some reason I felt prepared, I never felt depressed. I knew I had to learn how to communicate with her, I focused on how I could help her.” 8

FROM CDE from El Salvador when I was 7 years old, he came when he was 25. Jonathan will not be treated like he is inferior. Illiana’s orientation at the California School for the Deaf was a week later. That experience made a huge difference, he walked out with a different attitude. He told me to cancel the cochlear implant appointment. I was relieved. I didn’t want to go through the cochlear implant experience I had had with Iliana. She was implanted when she was 2 1/2 years old at Children’s Hospital. We went through all the therapy after the surgery. However every time we turned on her implant she would start shaking and go hide. She would get depressed and stay in a corner at both home and school. She did not want to play with other kids. I asked if they could please check to see if there was something wrong with the implant. They told me I needed to be more strict with her and keep it on her instead of letting her get her way. At home she would retreat to her room. At her next appointment, they told me upon my arrival that they did not have an interpreter for Iliana. I was upset they didn’t call me before I drove in. I rescheduled, when I came in for the second appointment, I was told if Iliana was not improving with her speech and we were not using the cochlear implant we were wasting money. They did not try to understand my experience. I felt like I was torturing Iliana. However the doctor checked out her implant and found some damaged nerves and scheduled a date to re-implant her. I told them we don’t need the cochlear implant because I am not going to make my child suffer. Iliana told me she felt scared and at that point I decided to cancel the second implant surgery. My advice to other parents is do not believe the guarantee that doctors give you about cochlear implants. My one regret is making Iliana go through the experience of having a cochlear implant.


Parent Links: Hope! Dream! Achieve! Parent to Parent When a parent finds out that their child is Deaf or Hard of Hearing, they often do not know what to do next. Professionals direct them toward early education programs, speech therapy, sign classes and medical intervention, which is important. However a professional cannot share in the parents experience as another parent can. Meeting another mom or dad who also has a Deaf child and learning from their personal experience can be invaluable. Offering support to parents is what Parent Links is all about. Exceptional Parents Unlimited, Fresno, CA 559-229-2000 x 208

The benefits of meeting other parents: ➢➢ gaining support and understanding ➢➢ sharing information and resources ➢➢ building confidence “Parents who frequently met with other parents of Deaf and Hard of Hearing children reported less isolation, stronger emotional bonds with their child and greater acceptance for the child. Parents also emphasized the benefits of giving mutual practical help in coping with everyday challenges.”( Manfred Hintermair, 2000) Family Focus Resource and Empowerment Center, Northridge, CA 818-677-6854

Parent Mentors Each Parent Links mentor is a parent of a Deaf child. Through email, phone and mail, we are here to help answer the questions that you may have about raising a child who is Deaf or Hard of Hearing. This is a free service to you, please reach out to us. We can connect you with other local parents with Deaf children. We have parents that speak English and Spanish. Just give us a call. Rowell Family Empowerment Center, Redding, CA 530-226-5129 * Parent Links is a program of the California Department of Education funded by a federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau grant. The Parent Links name and materials are used with permission of the Coalition of Agencies Serving the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc.


ASL PHONOLOGY PROMOTING STRONG LANGUAGE AND LITERACY SKILLS THROUGH ASL Many hearing children learn to read by applying their knowledge of spoken language to print. Parents and teachers play language games by highlighting words that share beginning and ending sounds in the language. As children reach school age, then teachers teach phonics to help children make connections between sounds in spoken language to print. This approach can be highly successful and it helps many hearing children learn to read. How about Deaf children? Can they learn to read in the same way as hearing children? Do deaf children need to have knowledge of patterns of spoken language to learn to read? According to Bélanger, Baum & Mayberry (2012), successful adult readers, when they read words do not activate the sounds of the words (the little voice in our head) suggesting that this type of information (taught as phonics) may not be the key to them becoming skilled readers.

Impact of limited and easy access to language Research shows that many Deaf children struggle when only exposed to spoken language. They have limited access to spoken language in their range of hearing. This limits the growth of the language centers in the brain, especially early in life when brain growth is critical. As a result, many Deaf children educated using primarily spoken language fail to reach their full potential. By comparison, sign language provides greatly increased access to language. Research shows that Deaf children can easily access sign language because it is

Peter Crume, Ph.D., Ciara Minter, Graduate Student California State University, Fresno visual. Sign language provides Deaf children high quality exposure to language centers in the brain. As a result, research indicates that many signing Deaf children can perform very well in literacy, cognitive, social, and emotional abilities (Mayberry 2004, Mayberry & Lock 2003).

Building a strong language foundation: Promoting ASL Phonological Awareness “Young Deaf readers are not directly accessing sound phonology when they derive meaning from a printed word such as “c+a+t.” Instead, what’s in the brain’s phonological representations for visual learners appears to be more akin to visual units, such as bits of fingerspelling, and parts of rhythmic, phonetic-syllabic movements and hand configurations at the heart of signed language phonological and prosodic structure.” - Dr. Laura Ann Petitto All languages have structure. The structure of how words are formed in language is called phonology. For example in spoken English, the words cat, cake, and carrot all begin with the /k/ sound, while words like cat, mat, and bat all end with the /at/ sound. Parents and teachers will teach young children to recognize these structures in words. This phonological awareness is beneficial in multiple ways because it helps hearing children: ➢➢ ➢➢ ➢➢ ➢➢

For many Deaf children, phonological awareness of English is difficult to access. However, Deaf children can easily grasp the visible phonological structure of sign language. This access is critical for the rapid growth of Deaf children’s brains early in life. Early exposure to fingerspelling is also important. As children begin to read, they make use the knowledge and meaning of signs, pair it with fingerspelling, and apply it print. This provides Deaf children with an alternative way to access English print that can be very effective if they receive a strong early foundation in sign language. Sign language structure is different than spoken language. Each sign has four basic parts or parameters (Klima & Bellugi, 1978, Stokoe, 1960): ➢➢ ➢➢ ➢➢ ➢➢


Recognize patterns in the language Build vocabulary Increase recall of words Provide a foundation for making connections to print

Handshape Movement Location Palm orientation

ASL PHONOLOGY Signs can vary only on one parameter:



It is not enough to expose Deaf children to sign language. Deaf children need a deeper understanding of sign language and its structure. Dr. Peter Crume (2013), an assistant professor at Fresno State, found that teachers of the Deaf seemed to use five basic steps to build sign language foundation that promoted access to literacy. The teachers first exposed children to basic patterns in sign language to build a robust language base in ASL and then eventually made connections to written English. The five steps listed below provided deaf children with a strong language foundation in a primary language, which then made it easier to learn English.


1. Signs differing only in use of handshape




2. Signs differing only in use of location In Example #1, the movement, location, palm orientation is the same, but the handshape for each sign is different. In Example #2, the handshape, movement, and palm orientation is the same, but the location is different.


You can also work with your children following the same steps. There are resources included for each step. Each basic step builds a strong foundation and makes learning language fun and enjoyable for both you and your child.




Engage in repetitive rhythmic language

Sign rhythm activities


Understand different parts of sign structure

Introduce handshapes and CSDECET - Toddler handshape stories


Develop metalinguistic knowledge of different sign types

Native signs and lexicalized signs

ASLized.org • Linguistics • Literature


Bridge connections to English print

Fingerspelling and forms, Chaining, frequent English words list, guided reading

Books http://vl2storybookapps.com/


Provide literacy Development

Reading, Storysigning, Character discussion

YouTube CSDEagles • Talon News • ASL Morning Graphic Novels Accessible Media Project • www.facebook.com/ AccessibleMaterialsProject

www.youtube.com/atch?v=samQj6hzQhw www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOLhnaak7sI www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEbl3gYhzcQ

It is important to build up this awareness of the phonological structure of sign language. Early exposure to fingerspelling is also important. As children begin to read, they make use the knowledge and meaning of signs, pair it with fingerspelling, and apply it print. This provides deaf children with an alternative way to access English print that can be very effective if they receive a strong early foundation in sign language.



Contributed by Lucia and Jon Rogerson

HEATH’S STORY “We loved that the children we observed

were just being children. They were learning, playing, and having fun. No one was focusing on “their problem.” We saw children with devices, but that WAS NOT the focus.” When we were told our son Heath was Deaf at 2 months old, we were not only shocked but overwhelmed. We finally understood what it meant for a parent to worry about their child in the smallest ways. How would he tell us what he’s feeling? How would he play, or enjoy his sister and build a relationship with her? We were determined to find out as much as we could about being Deaf and what we were going to do with this precious little life. It was our choice to bring him into this world, and we were determined to give him the best life he could possibly live. The audiologist referred us to an ENT specialist. But, before we visited the specialist we did hours of research online and via medical professionals. We focused our investigation on Heath’s educational opportunities. All the medical professionals said he would do fine in a mainstream setting. There might be a few challenges, but nothing he couldn’t overcome. What kind of challenges? We were not willing to take a chance on his education just so he could “fit in” the mold we wanted him to be in. With the help of Family Connections at the local Deaf advocacy agency, DCARA, we visited four different schools and programs. This was probably the most intense part of our journey. Three of the schools had approaches to “deal with these children and their problem.” The fourth school we visited, California School for the Deaf, Fremont (CSD), was refreshing. We loved that the children we observed were just being children. They were learning, playing,


and having fun. No one was focusing on “their problem.” We saw children with devices, but that WAS NOT the focus. Our choice was clear. We began attending toddler playgroups and met some really awesome Deaf parents with Deaf children. They welcomed us and have supported us as we have struggled tremendously with learning American Sign Language. But, we are determined to learn! Heath needs to be able to relate to people like him, instead of being

the only Deaf child in a mainstream school setting; CSD gives Heath access to successful Deaf adults and peers. We have an army of people behind us, and I know we will succeed. Heath is now 20 months old and communicates his needs in ASL. Every day he signs new words and expresses his wants and needs in his natural language! He is now a student at CSD in the ECE program and we look forward to all he will be learning from the exposure to the Deaf Community. As far as implants go,

Heath only qualifies for one in his right ear. But every time I see his precious little face, I can’t even imagine making him go through a surgery like that just so he can “be like us.” If he wants to get implants when he’s grown, then that’s his choice. We think more parents need to know that it’s okay to have a Deaf child. Don’t try and change them, just accept them. No matter what you do, what devices you use or how much speech therapy you give them, your child is still Deaf. We understand that in the beginning, it’s overwhelming. But once the initial shock is over, create a path for your child to become who they are destined to be. After all, it’s our responsibility as parents to give that to them. Our goal now is to make Heath proud and confident in who he is as an individual. We don’t want him to be defined by his hearing or by his aids; we want him to be defined by the person he becomes—the man we know he will be. Our journey is far from over, and I’m sure we will face many challenges in the future. Learning ASL has been one of them, for sure! Parents really must take charge of their children’s lives, not letting the hospitals and medical professionals take over. If we had let that happen, we would have deprived ourselves of getting to know a community of successful and thriving individuals.

“...create a path for your child to become who they are destined to be. After all, it’s our responsibility as parents to give that to them.”


Pays attention to faces Follows things with eyes Is fascinated by his or her own hands Copies movements and facial e­xpressions Babbles with his or her hands

6-12 MONTHS • • • •

First hand shapes emerge - ”5” and “S” First signs emerge - “Mommy,” “Daddy,” “More,” “Milk,” “Bath,” “Bed” Mimics signs and facial expressions Points to people, objects and places but not at self

12-18 MONTHS • • •

Uses at least 10 signs Begins to use pointing as pronouns Responds to signed requests

18–24 MONTHS • • • • • • •

Points to things or pictures when named Knows names of familiar people Follows simple instructions (plural, etc.) Repeats signs seen in conversation Understands and carries out complex commands and requests Shows interest in “how” and “why” Sign vocabulary rapidly expands

2–3 YEARS • • • • •

Uses directional verbs – “Give Me” Expresses possessives – “My Shoe” Uses action with object – “Drink Water” Demonstrates negation with headshake or signs “No” Begins to use classifiers to represent objects

3–4 YEARS • • •

• •

Makes distinctions between noun-verb pairs Uses classifiers to show objects and movements of objects Modifies verbs to show the amount of time involved in an activity by changing the movement of the sign and/or adding facial expressions Uses pronouns correctly (by pointing to objects and people in the immediate environment) Tells stories through use of objects or role-playing; may not always show clearly who is speaking or doing something

4–5 YEARS • • • • •

Uses complex hand shapes and movement (wiggling fingers, twisting wrists) Repeats nouns to show plural Starts forming complex sentences Establishes locations for people and objects not present in the environment Role-plays more frequently with characters clearly identified

5–6 YEARS • • • • •

Uses complex hand shapes and movements Uses more fingerspelling Forms of complex sentences Uses verbs to show intensity, manner, number and distribution Able to talk about people and things not present in the environment

Excerpted from CSD’s Early Childhood Education Department and the American Society of Deaf Children documents

TIPS FOR TOTS Eye contact is vital for communication between young Deaf children and their parents. Deaf children receive information with their eyes. Without eye contact, communication efforts are lost. Your baby will count on you to teach him or her how to maintain eye contact when you play and sign with your child. With eye contact you can be more aware of your child’s signals and communication attemps, eye gaze and gestures. Try to build up your child’s ability to maintain eye contact, making it last a bit longer by making faces or showing interesting objects and modeling signs.



Dr. J Freeman King, ED., Utah State University



esearch has shown that the language areas of the brain are not choosy when it comes to either a visual language like American Sign Language (ASL) or a spoken language. What is important is that the Deaf child has complete, and consistent access to language. A natural visual language, such as American Sign Language, allows the Deaf child the complete access needed to foster the child’s social, emotional, and academic growth. Without access to language the child will be delayed in these areas.


American Sign Language (ASL) is often not used with Deaf children because teachers, principals, and others believe it interferes with the child learning to speak. However, there is no proof that using American Sign Language with children who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing slows the ability to learn to speak. In fact, ASL helps speaking and reading English skills. Language is what is important. Research on how Deaf children learn a visual language is explained below. For example:


It is important to know that there is no proof that the early use of gestures or signs (ASL) by Deaf children slows down their development of spoken English.


Deaf children who learn sign language (ASL) when they are in preschool show better academic achievement and social adjustment during the school years, and superior gains in English literacy.


Most studies of language development in Deaf children show that using both ASL and spoken

English (where appropriate) actually help with language development. It does not have to be one or the other. There are educational benefits of learning both American Sign Language and spoken/written English. Deaf children can acquire two languages at the same time. ASL can be a first language that will assist in learning spoken/written English as a second language. Studies in neuroscience confirm that the brain has the ability to learn both visual and spoken languages without harm to either language. Some cochlear implant teams are now advising parents of children with implants to only use listening and spoken language therapy. They are ignoring the enormous potential of a visual language like ASL for learning. The lack of an early and fully accessible visual language may be a cause for the low levels of reading achievement in Deaf children. It is also important that parents understand that delaying full language access can have a negative impact on social and emotional growth. Most Deaf children with Deaf parents begin school having learned a complete

EARLY LANGUAGE first language as infants and toddlers. These children tend to do as good as hearing children at the same age. If parents, either Deaf or hearing, use sign, Deaf children can acquire a visual language and learn to read and write English on par with their hearing peers. Parents of young Deaf children should understand the critical need to provide an early visual language for their child. They are often placed in a tough position regarding whether to choose ASL or a listening and spoken language method. Research and common sense suggests the following:


All possible language from birth should include a visual language (ASL), auditory input where appropriate, use of signs, gestures, facial expressions, speech, and whatever will assist early communication with the child. The Deaf child should not be denied any means of communication that will help with the development of language.


Early accessible communication between the infant and parent is absolutely necessary for the child to acquire language. A visual language assures the child’s early access to communication and language.


Early communication directly affects the brain functions that are necessary for the child’s language development. Language that is repeated and easily accessible results in the formation of brain connections that are permanent., and lead to both expressive and receptive capabilities.


There is a difference between acquiring a language and learning a language. A Deaf child exposed only to a spoken language, even with a hearing aid or cochlear implant, is not necessarily able to naturally acquire the language necessary that will lead to reading and writing in the English language.


Babies are language sponges. Providing visual language to Deaf children regardless of their hearing levels, insures against language deprivation and boosts their ability for spoken language. The idea is not to choose a communication method for a child but to allow the child the opportunity to be bilingual. Bilingual children reach language milestones at the same rate as monolingual children. The parent should follow the child’s lead.


For children who have a cochlear implant, the use of a visual language (ASL), provides a natural language during the early years of life that can be continued throughout the child’s language formative years. A strong early visual language can only help the child with continued language and speech development. Often parents say they have been given communication choices, but really have been given only one choice. Soon after their child is identified as Deaf, many parents are expected to make immediate either-or choices with little information

Hearing parents need to have opportunities presented in a non-rushed, nonpressured way in a supportive, trusting environment. This can happen by having parent advisors help the parents access research based information, such as the cutting-edge research that is being conducted by Dr. Laura Ann Petito and associates at the Gallaudet University neuroscience laboratory. These parent advisors should also assist the parents in learning about the culture of the Deaf and American Sign Language, arranging to meet Deaf persons and other parents who have Deaf children. The Deaf child should be provided a quality education that will prepare him/ her to compete as an equal in the hearing world. This does not mean that the success of Deaf children be measured by how closely they resemble their hearing peers, but that they are educated to become successful Deaf human beings, not imitations of hearing children.

References: http://essentialedicatpr/?0=13033 www.UPDC.org Reprinted with permission from the author and Utah Special Educator


FROM CDE Check out the Parent Resource Guide! In English A Resource Guide for Parents of Infants and Toddlers Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

California Department of Education 2013

& in Spanish Guía de recursos para padres de bebes y menores con sordera o hipoacusico

Departamento de Educación de California 2013

www.csdf/outreach www.cde.ca.gov/sp/ss/dh/ documents/prgsummary.pdf



Through Your Child’s Eyes


Dr. Roz Rosen, Director of National Center on Deafness California State University, Northridge

Through Your Child’s Eyes: American Sign Language is a powerful video which benefits all Deaf and Hard of Hearing children and their families. This video is a historical joint venture of the California Department of Education and California State University, Northridge. It is an important step to diminish the censure of American Sign Language and enlighten the public on the benefits of signing. With research proving that Deaf and Hard of Hearing children derive significant cognitive, social, and academic benefits from a strong foundation of ASL, educators are now encouraged to teach ASL to all Deaf children. Unfortunately there are still medical and education professionals who continue to advise parents to refrain from using ASL. They further the myth that signing will interfere with the development of their spoken language skills. We hope that this video, Through Your Child’s Eyes: American Sign Language illuminates the truth that Deaf babies who grow up with signed languages thrive. www.throughyourchildseyes.com

LETTER FROM THE CALIFORNIA SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS (Excerpts from September 2011 letter from Tom Torlakson, California State Superintendent of Public Instruction)

“The California Department of Education recognizes research evidence that sign language supports and enhances the development of both spoken language and cognitive skills for all children.” *** “Research done by Drs. Linda Acredolo and Susan Goodwyn showed that babies who learn to sign before they are able to speak, talk earlier and score higher on Intelligence Quotient (IQ) tests than their non-signing peers.” *** “The California Department of Education encourages educators to foster every student’s linguistic development. Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing can derive significant benefits when using ASL, even when those students are enrolled in programs that focus on developing speaking and listening skills. ASL provides a linguistic foundation that supports language development in English.”

QUALITY EDUCATION LOOKING FOR A PRE-SCHOOL? When visiting schools keep this checklist in mind.

Is the School? ☐☐ ☐☐ ☐☐ ☐☐

Family centered Sensitive to all cultures Respectful of all languages Aware of the importance of early communication and language acquisition ☐☐ Research based ☐☐ Aware that American Sign Language is a distinct language ☐☐ Provides opportunities for families to learn and interact in ASL

Does the School Have?

☐☐ Highly qualified D/HH language acquisition and literacy experts ☐☐ Extensive opportunities for direct peer and adult communication ☐☐ Full access to incidental learning ☐☐ Ongoing language assessments (signed and spoken) ☐☐ Social opportunities with a critical mass of Deaf peers ☐☐ Deaf role models ☐☐ Qualified and vetted interpreters

Does the School Welcome Parents?

☐☐ As the child’s primary teacher ☐☐ As their child’s advocate ☐☐ Shares information about resources and parent to parent support ☐☐ To discover their child’s unique talents and abilities ☐☐ By encouraging communication to enhance their child’s development ☐☐ By recognizing their home language and culture

The Role of Listening Devices Listening devices (hearing aids and cochlear implants) can be useful tools and can improve spoken communication between two people in quiet environments. However they should not be relied upon to provide full access to language for children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. *** Teachers in classrooms without interpreters reported that only 1/3 of the children with cochlear implants were able to participate easily. – June 2011 International Journal of Otolaryngology *** In the classroom sign language continues to be the most accessible language for children who are D/HH. Language ability (typically in sign) is consistently the key to better cognitive development. – Schick, de Villiers and Hoffmesiter 2004. *** Deaf preschoolers using cochlear implants developed more spoken language as their command of sign language increased. – Priesler, Tvingstedt and Ahlstrom(2002)



Contributed by Kyle MacDonald, Doctoral Student at Stanford University

DEVELOPING EFFICIENCY IN UNDERSTANDING AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE More than 15 years of research at Stanford University has shown that English-learning children make rapid gains in language processing efficiency over the 2nd and 3rd years of life (Fernald et al., 1998). Importantly, young children with stronger language processing skills learn words more quickly and show better school-age language and cognitive outcomes (Marchman & Fernald, 2008). Research with school-age Deaf children and Deaf adults shows that individuals with stronger ASL abilities do better in school in English reading and writing (Freel et al., 2011; Hoffmeister, 2000; Prinz and Strong, 1998) However, much less is known about how early processing efficiency in ASL may build a strong foundation for later language and cognitive development in young signers. To address this, Stanford University, UC Davis, and CSD have recently started an innovative collaboration, bringing together scientists and educators to study early ASL development using a highly-precise measure of sign language comprehension, the Visual Language Processing (VLP) task.

In the Visual Language Processing (VLP) game, the child looks at pictures while a video of a signer directs their attention to one of the two pictures. We videotape the child’s gaze patterns and later code eye-movements frame-byframe. How quickly the child looks at the correct picture tells us about how efficiently they are processing ASL.

Early ASL processing skills


With the help of CSD and families attending the Early Childhood Education program, we have made great progress in learning about ASL processing efficiency in young signers. Using the VLP task, we have learned that young ASL-learners are developing language processing efficiency in ways that are similar to children learning spoken language and that these early processing skills are linked to ASL vocabulary development. We are currently designing new tasks to measure children’s novel sign learning and we are following up with children as they get older to explore how early ASL skills may support later outcomes.

To learn more: https://langlearninglab.stanford.edu http://mindbrain.ucdavis.edu/labs/Corina Interested in participating? ASLbabylab@gmail.com

ASL vocabulary development

Later language and school outcomes


“Vox.com, Vox Media, Inc. Written by Libby Nelson, April 28, 2014”


The fastest-growing foreign language class in the past 20 years isn’t foreign at all.

Nor is it spoken.

It’s American Sign Language.

More college students are now studying American Sign Language than Chinese and Russian combined. In 2009, ASL was the fourth-most popular language for college students to study, falling behind only Spanish, French, and German. That’s a huge change in the past three decades. So few college students studied sign language in 1986 that it didn’t even register on the US Education Department’s periodic surveys. By 1990, it was showing up - way, way at the bottom. Foreing language enrollment, 1990

Foreing language enrollment, 2009

DEAF PEOPLE HAVE THEIR OWN CULTURE AND FOLKWAYS After 1990, many more colleges began accepting American Sign Language to fulfill foreign language requirements amid a growing recognition that deaf Americans have their own culture and customs. ASL is now accepted by nearly all flagship state universities for foreign language credits, according to a list maintained by Sherman Wilcox, a University of New Mexico linguistics professor who studies sign languages. (http://www.unm.edu/~wilcox/UNM/univlist.html) Wilcox, a forceful advocate for the acceptance of American Sign Language as a separate language worthy of study, argues that it has just as much economic value and cultural validity as a foreign language. (ASL isn’t widely used outside the United States and Canada, even in other English-speaking countries; the United Kingdom and Australia both have their own sign languages.) Deaf people have their own culture and folkways, just as French or Spanish speakers do, Wilcox says. Sign language interpreters are in demand in business, education and government. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the demand for those workers will grow rapidly in the next decade. (http://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-andcommunication/ interpreters-andtranslators.htm#tab-6)

Sign Language Consultant Gerardo Di Pietro (Berkeley City College) performs during 2014 Family Fun Weekend at California School for the Deaf, Fremont. http://www.vox.com/2014/4/28/5654468/the-incredible-rise-of-american-sign-language, https://www.mla.org/2009_enrollmentsurvey



Laura T. Petersen, Julie Rems-Smario, CSDF

THE IMPORTANT ROLE OF LANGUAGE IN ACHIVING SELF-ACTUALIZATION HAS MASLOW TAKEN LANGUAGE FOR GRANTED? Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs assumes language access in meeting physiological, safety and belonging needs which are at its foundation. Relying solely on unreliable, limited or distorted auditory language input translates into a greater risk of lifetime language delays for Deaf and Hard of Hearing (D/HH) children. Lack of language acquisition and access is the biggest barrier to selfactualization for Deaf and Hard of Hearing children. ➢➢

Maslow’s model was created by studying highly successful individuals and identifying factors in their success. Using Maslow’s approach we look at the research on academic and social outcomes of well adjusted D/HH individuals and how critical language is in their climb towards self-actualization.

LANGUAGE AND IDENTITY Language is integral to culture and identity. Language and identity deprived D/HH individuals struggle to get beyond the belonging level of Maslow’s hierarchy. Interacting with D/HH individuals like themselves can provide a sense of grounding and belonging necessary to achieve self actualization.



Children are entirely dependent on the adults around them to provide the environment necessary to tap into the neural circuitry to develop language (Eliot 1999).


The same environment can be rich for hearing children but destitute for Deaf children (Kuntze 1998; Marschark 2001).

Language allows access to factual information & morality & creativity discussions.


The United Nations has called for state parties to facilitate the learning of signed language and promote the linguistic identity of the Deaf community(Article 24).

ESTEEM A command of language allows us to communicate unique ideas, be respected by others & develop executive function skills.

Spoken English is the dominant language in the United States, however it is a mode of English that is not fully accessible to Deaf and Hard of Hearing children (Shirin, Jones, Luckner, Kreimeyer, Reed, 2011). The dominant culture often portrays sign language as a less worthy language.

BELONGING Language instills a sense of belonging by allowing us to discuss ideas & develop trust among peers and family.


Language allows us to understand and predict the world around us & and to not be in a constant state of anxiety.


Language allows us to be comforted & communicate basic needs such as hunger and cold.


Using sign language and identifying with the Deaf community signifi cantly contributes to positive selfesteem in children with severeprofound sensory neural hearing loss (Jambor & Elliott 2005).

Full language access opens the door to the world of ideas, creativity, and expression

D/HH children’s delayed and diminished exposure to language may impede their ability to learn language-related tasks during childhood and later in life (Morford & Mayberry, 2000).

Language-deprived Deaf children fail to progesss beyond these basic needs and levels of dependence and development


➢➢ Parents impart this lowered status to their children when they

reluctantly learn sign as a last resort after their D/HH child has failed to produce intelligible speech.

MASLOW’S HIERARCHY ➢➢ Parents impart this lowered status to their children when they reluctantly learn sign as a last resort after their D/HH child has failed to produce intelligible speech. ➢➢ The dominant culture causes many Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals to feel marginalized, this has social, psychological and linguistic repercussions (Ridgeway, 1998). ➢➢ Relying solely on spoken English, of which only a few master, puts many D/ HH children at a linguistic and social disadvantage (Caprara, Barbaranelli, Pastorelli, Bandura, & Zimbardo, 2000; Malecki & Elliott, 2002).

All D/HH children have the innatecapacity to master American Sign Language, a naturally acquired visual language. Research has proven the brain recognizes both spoken and signed modes of language. However our medical and educational systems continue to discriminate against signed language. ➢➢

learning American Sign Language is not antithetical to spoken English but actually facilitates speech skills (Malaia & Wilbur 2010; Priesler, Tvingstedt and Ahlstrom 2002).

Attributes of Language and Identity Deprived D/HH Individuals

➢➢ Signing skills are the best predictors of strong English reading skills for D/HH children (Hoffmesister, 2000; Padden & Ramsey, 2000). ➢➢ The 2006 United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities calls for state parties to accept and facilitate the use of sign languages (Article 21). ➢➢ With early exposure to sign language, the stages of development are the same for D/HH children (Bavelier, Newport & Supalla, 2003).

Attributes of Self-Actualized D/HH Individuals

Delayed language acquisition has signifi cant neural consequences as the anterior left hemisphere shows less activation in correlation with the older age of language acquisition (Mayberry, Klein, Witcher, & Chen, 2006).

Profoundly Deaf students who use sign language at home and identify with the Deaf community, had higher self-esteem than those with less severe hearing status who identifi ed with the hearing world (Jambor & Elliott 2005).

48% of teachers reported that children with cochlear implants could not follow a spoken conversation with a group of people (Punch, Hyde 2011).

Signing skills are the best predictors of strong English reading skills (Hoffmesister, 2000; Padden & Ramsey, 2000, Strong & Prinz, 2000).

61% of D/HH children in mainstream programs have mental health problems, double the rate found in hearing children (Hindley, Hill, McGuigan & Kitson (1993). D/HH Adolescents in general education settings report higher emotional security with D/HH peers than with hearing peers (Stinson& Whitmire, 1991; Stinson et al., 1996). Children with excellent 1:1 spoken language skills experience communication breakdowns in groups. (Vonen, Hyde, Hoie 2007) Using a direct observation technique with a small sample of cochlear implanted children indicated that their interactions with hearing peers tended to be unsuccessful (Boyd et al. 2000).

There is a positive relationship between ASL competency and English skills as research shows highly competent signers scored higher on a measure of reading comprehension. (Freel, B. L., Clark, M. D., Anderson, M. L., Gilbert, G. L., Musyoka, M. M., & Hauser, P. C. 2011). Using sign language and identifying with the Deaf community signifi cantly contributes to positive self-esteem in children with severe-profound sensory neural hearing loss (Jambor & Elliott 2005). Signs replace phonetics for signing children in learning to read words. (Kubus et al., 2010; Morford et al., 2011). D/HH children in language rich classrooms and supportive homes acquire the same literacy as hearing children. (Ewoldt 1985; Padden and Ramsey 1993; Rottenberg 2001; Rottenberg and Searfoss 1992, 1993).



The National Science Foundation Science of Learning Center on Visual Language and Visual Learning (VL2) publishes research briefs as a resource for parents, educators, and others who work with Deaf and Hard of Hearing children. These briefs review important research findings, summarize relevant scholarship, and present informed suggestions for parents, educators, and professionals.

VL2 Parent Information Package The VL2 Parent Information Package, “Growing Together,” is a collection of research-based resources for hearing parents of deaf and hard of hearing children. It is intended to share the science of learning on visual language and visual learning and research-based information related to ASL/English bilingualism. Visit www.vl2parentspackage.org for resources, stories and inspiring tips.

play together

➢➢ Eye Gaze and Joint Attention ➢➢ The Advantages of Early Visual Language

love together read together

➢➢ Family Involvement in ASL Acquisition ➢➢ The Implications of Bimodal Bilingual Approaches for Children with Cochlear Implants ➢➢ Reading and Deaf Children

laugh together dream together

➢➢ The Importance of Fingerspelling for Readiing ➢➢ The Benefits of Bilingualism: Impacts on Language and Cognitive Development ASL/English Bilingual Education: Models, Methodologies, and Strategies ➢➢ Visual Attention and Deafness ➢➢ Different Ways of Thinking: The Importance of Gesture in Child Development Full-length versions of each brief can be downloaded and printed from www.vl2parentspackage.org/ research-briefs


sign together MORE IS MORE: THE SCIENCE OF LEARNING ON VISUAL LANGUAGE For deaf and hard of hearing children and their families, the science of learning clearly tells us: more equals more. More language means more vocabulary, more communication, more ways to grow together, more connection, and more laughter. More readiness for school, more readiness for reading, more resources, more access. www.vl2parentspackage.org/about/

VL2 Eye Gaze and Joint Attention Joint Attention Joint Attention is a shared focus between a child, caregiver and and object. After six months of age babies begin to expand their focus of attention from their caregivers to their surrounding environment. This is a crucial step towards the development of language as information can be conveyed about objects from the caregiver. Deaf babies can access language naturally from birth, however, unlike hearing children, most Deaf children attain language visually. By observing the organically adaptive methods of Deaf parents with their Deaf children, we have learned techniques to that can help all families with children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. Deaf children show success ith the following joint attention techniques demonstrated by Deaf parents: • Lean into the child’s line of sight when signing so focus on an object

and the caregiver is possible • Sign directly on the child’s body or an object • Tap of wave hands at a child to gain his or her attention

Eye Gaze Eye Gaze in Deaf children means knowing where to look for language and information. It can be a huge factor in determining a child’s quality and quantity of language input. Tips to encourage shifting eye gaze in Deaf children: • Wait for spontaneous looks from the child before signing • Provide relevant signs and encouragement when the child spontaneously looks up • Give the child time to explore an object before eliciting attention • Use specific signs like LOOK and a pleasant manner to prompt that linguistic information is forthcoming


Art is a zone where all children can experience the freedom to express their imaginations. Art is a wonderful opportunity for children to expand upon their expressive and written language. It can be a springboard for meaningful dialogue based on the child’s experience. Follow your child’s lead through art expression! Julie Rems-Smario, M.A., M.S. Educational Consultant, Community

◆◆ Place a mirror in your baby’s room, positioned where he/she can see you entering and leaving the room (or have your baby’s crib face the door) ◆◆ Position a mirror in your car so that your baby can see your face while you are driving with him/her in the back seat ◆◆ Show interest in the handshapes, facial expressions, and ASL signs that your baby makes and repeat them back to her/him ◆◆ Position your baby in a high chair so she/he can watch you while you wash the dishes. Sign to your baby about what you are doing ◆◆ Play with handshapes and use facial expressions when playing with your baby (e.g. use “1” handshape and then tickle your baby’s tummy) ◆◆ Play with signs such as playing peek-a-boo with the “5” handshape and signing animals BEAR, LION, MONKEY, TIGER, GIRAFFE Visual Language & Visual Learning (VL2) Research Brief: Eye Gaze and Joint Attention www.vl2parentspackage.org/research-briefs/ summarized by Danielle Phoenix

ASL Goddess by Julie Rems-Smario



is a legal document required by the federal government to ensure families get the support and services they need for their Deaf or Hard of Hearing child’s first three years of their life. An IFSP is intended to connect parents with experts in order to provide the best foundation for parenting. THE IFSP IS…

• the planning and documentation piece of your Part C (0-3 years old) program • required to be done within 45 days of identification including assessments • a document that tracks assessments and resources provided to families • an opportunity for parents to share their thoughtful wish list of services they feel their family needs • an opportunity to take advantage of the resources in their area • primarily to address language access and development in Deaf and Hard of Hearing children

An IFSP allows for a team approach to meeting the unique needs of child and family. The program is funded by Part C federal monies. Each state has different names for these 0-3 programs. For example in California it is called Early Start but in North Carolina it is called New Beginnings.


The IFSP team typically includes the parents or guardians, the service coordinator from the local school district, and the Part C provider – a teacher of the Deaf. Parents may also invite an advocate, family members, and friends.


• How the child is meeting developmental milestones (social, linguistic, cognitive, and physical).


• Developmental assessment results. • The family’s wish list and concerns regarding their child’s development. • Resources that can be made available to the family. • Major goals and outcomes for the next 6 to 12 months, to be reviewed every 6 months. • Detailed information on the specific services the child will receive, and who will be providing and funding them. • Transition to preschool placement. • Any other services needed by the child or family.


• Be sure that your child receive services from credentialed teachers of Deaf and Hard of Hearing students. This is required by law. • Use a language assessment tool geared towards Deaf children. • Be wary of assessment results not normed on Deaf and Hard of Hearing children. • Having a Deaf education/ language specialist on the assessment team is required by law. • Infant-toddler programs must provide intensive early intervention services to develop linguistic skills. • Ask for an ASL language model for parents. • Ask for a Deaf role model.

POSSIBLE IFSP SERVICES ◆◆ Special Instruction by a teacher of the Deaf ◆◆ ASL tutors ◆◆ Deaf role models ◆◆ Speech/language ◆◆ Family support ◆◆ Nutrition services ◆◆ Psychological services ◆◆ Social work services ◆◆ Transportation ◆◆ Audiology ◆◆ Parent education ◆◆ Occupational therapy ◆◆ Special instruction ◆◆ Technology ◆◆ Vision services ◆◆ Family counseling ◆◆ Health/nursing ◆◆ Physical therapy ◆◆ Service coordination

Where do I get an advocate? The IFSP can be an intimidating environment. Having an advocate can help you know what services to ask for and be successful in getting them. Contact your local Deaf agency. www. NAD.org

PLANNING GUIDE Who’s on my Individualized Family Service Plan team? Name (parents, care-givers, advocates, teachers, staff)


Contact info

Services I requested: ☐☐ ☐☐ ☐☐ ☐☐ ☐☐ ☐☐ ☐☐

ASL tutors Parent Education Special Instruction Interpreters Audiology Speech/Language Assistive Technology

☐☐ Deaf role models

☐☐ Family support

☐☐ Psychological services

☐☐ Social work services

☐☐ Audiology

☐☐ Parent education

☐☐ Respite service

☐☐ Special instruction

☐☐ Vision services

☐☐ Family counseling

☐☐ Physical therapy

☐☐ Service coordination

☐☐ Request Deaf Role Model - Meeting Date and Time: ☐☐ Connect with other parents. Contact Parent Links – www.myparentlinks.com Parent’sName

Contact info

Age of their Deaf child

☐☐ Find an ASL class (Check Deaf agencies, parks and recreation, and community colleges).

Note: Some states provide videophone programs where you can learn ASL from home when distance and time is an issue.


Date and Time

☐☐ Visit Deaf schools and programs in my area: Date of Visit

School Name and Address

Contact Person/Phone


ASL NOOK ASL and English Bilingual Ebooks and Apps They keep coming: new ebooks and storybook apps that present stories in both American Sign Language (ASL) and English! Here’s a list of what’s available now for the iPad, iPad Mini, iPhone, iPod Touch, and Mac OS X. Try them all!

Pointy Three

The story of a fork who’s missing one of his prongs, but not his brave spirit. Follow Pointy Three on his journey through the land of Dinnertime as he meets characters left and right and looks for a place where he belongs. - Adam Stone.

Adapted from an article by Arika Okrent on Mental_Floss.com

THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS IN ASL Sheena McFeely is a Deaf mom. She and her husband Manny Johnson teach signs with the help of their two adorable daughters, one Deaf, one hearing, both native, fluent users of American Sign Language. You don’t have to know anything about sign language to be blown away by the sheer force of personality coming through in Shaylee’s performance. But with a little knowledge of how ASL works, you can also be amazed by the complexity of her linguistic and storytelling skills. (See more fun videos at www.youtube.com/user/sheenammcfeely)

Why This Young Girl Is a Masterful Storyteller in Sign Language?

The Baobab

The Baobab is an original story about a curious little girl who embarks on an adventure. Complete with enthralling illustrations and talented American Sign Language (ASL) storytelling, this bilingual interactive storybook app features a rich American Sign Language glossary with 170 English to ASL words. - Gallaudet University.

Shaylee signs a complex sentence with a topic-comment structure.

The Manual Alphabet with the Death Hands

The topic noun phrase is indicated by her eyebrow raise.

Along with learning the alphabet in ASL, the letters are tied in to notable names of ASL history with a glossary in the back. Illustrated print and eBook in a bilingual format that can be enjoyed by readers of both languages. The choice of title, “Death Hands,” is a play on a common mistake made by speakers of English confusing the word “deaf,” with “death.” Unfortunately, yours truly had his English essay corrected with “death” replacing every “deaf ” I wrote once during his junior year and the memory always stuck with me. Benjamin Vess. www.foundinblank.com/ asl-english-bilingual-ebooks-and-apps/


Shaylee introduces a long noun phrase “a mouse that was running about”, and says it “is now still”.

She lowers her eyebrows appropriately for the comment part.

A big sentence for a little girl! In her performance, Shaylee is not only representing a neutral narrator and a bunch of roles within the story, she’s also herself with her own opinions.

ASL NOOK ASL and English Bilingual Ebooks and Apps Alistair the Armadillo: Journey to the Stars Clean and cheerful Alistair the armadillo lives underground with his smelly, whiney armadillo friends. Alistair wishes he could improve their lives, make them happier and more pleasant companions. But how...? Alistair dozes off into troubled sleep. A vision appears in which he leads his friends to a healthier, happier lifestyle through proper nutrition, daily exercise and personal cleanliness. Alistair awakes committed to turning this dream into reality. Mike Brumby & Cipta Croft-Cussworth.

For a moment, her own feelings about Santa shine through, without breaking the rhythm of the story. Shaylee continues to shift perspectives smoothly from dad to narrator to Santa and back without missing a beat. This is a great illustration of how what Shaylee is doing with her role shifting is very different from simple playacting or pantomime. Shaylee head turns to show Santa’s head turning, and she winks to show Santa winking, but at the same time she produces the correct ASL signs for head movement and the ASL sign for wink. She is acting and performing and expressing emotions and moods, but all within a linguistic context. “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!” As she slows down to deliver the last line, she holds your attention in the palms of her capable little hands. She ends in a crescendo of anticipation and good cheer! * A version of this post originally appeared on www.theweek.com

Humpty Dumpty

RISE (Reading Involves Shared Experience) ebooks are produced by a collaboration of students at Gallaudet University and Swarthmore College, under the guidance of Prof. Gene Mirus and Prof. Donna Jo Napoli. They are designed to delight Deaf children and the adults who share the books with them, whether those adults be comfortable signers or not. The goal is to promote shared reading, an experience that enhances developing literacy skills. W.W. Denslow, Sarah Bristow, Carla Morris, Miranda Stewart & Katy Walker. - Free.

Jemima Puddle Duck

RISE (Reading Involves Shared Experience) ebooks. They are designed to delight Deaf children and the adults who share the books with them, whether those adults be comfortable signers or not. The goal is to promote shared reading, an experience that enhances developing literacy skills. - Beatrix Potter, Ellen Bachmannhuff, Megan HodgesCook, Jerri Aubrey & Angela Tutt. - Free. www.foundinblank.com/ asl-english-bilingual-ebooks-and-apps/


FAMILY FUN WEEKEND The Annual Family Fun Weekend April 4-6, 2014

The Family Fun Weekend is a unique event for all families with Deaf and Hard of Hearing children.

Parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles connect with each other and discuss the beauty and the challenges of being a family with a Deaf/HH child during the threeday event. The weekend includes formal research based presentations, panels of parents and Deaf adults as well as fun performances and family activities. All the children attend the Kids Camp activities which include playing games, creating art and drama activities.

This year we focused on how to be a Superhero to your family. Practical tips and ideas were shared

on how to make everyday interactions foster the development of confident problem solvers. Families attended a rich linguistic performance of American Sign Language stories. Research and misconceptions about bilingualism and the critical role of an easily accessible language were presented. Deaf adults from a variety of careers were able to share their experiences and answer questions. All while the children were running around in their superhero capes that they made.

One of the most important aspects of the weekend is the connection that happens between families, parent to parent, and the strengthened bond between siblings and the Deaf children themselves who come to realize there are other families like theirs. This valuable event has been made possible the last two years thanks to sponsorship from Sorenson Communications. The Rowell Empowerment Center in Redding, NORCAL in Sacramento, Deaf Community Advocacy and Referral Service in San Leandro and the Deaf Hard of Hearing Service Center in Fresno have been wonderful partners in supporting families and this event.

We look forward to seeing you at our next Family Fun Weekend in the Spring at the California School for the Deaf in Fremont, California!

Put on your cape! Discover your power!


a great deal about “theI learned strong ties among the Deaf

and how one should never give up in order to get ahead with one’s children.

As parents, we are “superheroes in the eyes of our children.”

Now I know I have a “variety of resources and connections I can make with other parents!

very powerful “andOverall moving!” We really connected “with a lot of stories and families.” A big eye opener to more “resources and services for my Deaf child!” Very touching and “motivating! ”



Nathalie Bélanger, Research Scientist, University of California, San Diego

YOUNG DEAF READERS’ WORD PROCESSING EFFICIENCY When discussing with deaf adults about how they read, one comment always comes up: “Deaf people are extremely visually attuned to printed words”. What does this mean exactly?


ur research (Dr. Nathalie N. Bélanger and Dr. Keith Rayner from the University of California, San Diego) has had two main goals: understanding how Deaf people use their visual “powers” when they read words and sentences and how skilled Deaf readers compare to skilled hearing readers. Throughout the years, research on skilled hearing readers has uncovered a tremendous amount of information about the reading process, which begins by viewing small horizontal and vertical lines printed on paper or on a computer screen and translating these lines into letters, and then into meaning. We also know that for hearing readers, this process also involves a step where the letters are associated to the sounds of the spoken language before the meaning of the word is reached (see the article Promoting strong language and literacy skills through ASL). This step is a very powerful tool for hearing people because they have fully heard the language and can easily associate the letters to sounds and then to words that they have heard spoken or have spoken.


his specific step (associating letters to sounds and then sounds to meaning) of the reading process for hearing children and adults has been extensively researched and its importance has lead to conclusions that it is essential to process the sounds of a language to become a skilled reader. This idea of skilled reading is based on what we know about skilled hearing readers, but does this apply to Deaf readers?


y research with Deaf adults (in collaboration with Dr. Rachel Mayberry and Dr. Keith Rayner) has

“...skilled Deaf readers do not seem to go through this phonological, sound-based step of associating letters to sounds...” 30

shown that in fact adult skilled Deaf readers do not seem to go through this phonological, sound-based step of associating letters to sounds and may go directly from letters (orthography) to meaning, suggesting that the sound-based step is not essential to everybody to become a skilled reader.


hat is really fascinating is that we also found that skilled Deaf readers are very efficient at picking up letter information on the page or on the computer screen. What do we mean by that? When reading a sentence skilled (adult) hearing readers will often look at a word once, and then once more (especially for longer words). Skilled Deaf readers on the other end will need that second look at a word much less often, meaning that within one look at a word (where a hearing person would look twice), they have picked up enough letter information to be able to associate quickly to a meaning and to be able to move on to another word in the sentence.


ecently, we visited the California Schools for the Deaf in Riverside and in Fremont to investigate how young Deaf readers read words and sentences.

DEAF READERS These young Deaf readers (age 8-12 y.o.) sat in front of a computer screen and read sentences. A camera was placed on a table in front of our young readers, and while they read, we recorded their eye movements so that we knew exactly how long they looked at the words in the sentences they read, how many times they looked at each word and how often they went back to reread words in the sentences they read. In the meantime, our collaborator Dr. Liz Schotter was doing the same thing with young hearing readers in San Diego.


hat have done a quick analysis of some of the data we collected with young deaf and hearing readers and we find some really interesting differences between the two groups. But first, the two groups were matched in number, age and reading comprehension levels overall. We had 10 children in each group and the average age was 10 y.o. for the hearing children and 11 y.o. for the deaf children. Both groups read on average at a 4th grade level. While the children were reading, we presented comprehension questions related to the sentences they were reading on the computer and the children had to answer “yes” or “no” to these questions. Both groups of children had a really high understanding of the sentences they read based on their comprehension scores (95% for the hearing children and 96% for the deaf children).

“Young hearing readers read on

average 176 words per minute whereas young deaf readers read on average 279 words a minute...” than hearing children did, deaf children had enough information to continue reading the sentence and understand it, without having to go back to reread words to check their comprehension.


e think we can possibly explain this “reading efficiency” in two ways. First, deaf people process the world visually, in general. For example, they do not use sound to avoid an incoming car in traffic, but rather use their heightened visual skills to scan the world and detect the incoming car in traffic. Also for a number of deaf people, language is processed visually via their primary language, sign language. This heightened use of the visual channel may transfer to the act of reading. Second, the fact that deaf people, as we mentioned above, appear to bypass the sound-based step of associating letters to sounds might mean that they are faster at getting from the lines on the page (or screen), to the shapes of letters and then to the meaning of words.


ith equal comprehension levels, however, the young deaf readers read as a group much faster than the young hearing readers. Young hearing readers read on average 176 words per minute whereas young deaf readers read on average 279 words a minute, a 100 words per minute difference between the two groups. Remember that hearing and deaf children both understood the sentences equally well despite the reading speed difference, so the young deaf readers were not speeding up through the sentence at the cost of their comprehension. On the contrary, they were extremely efficient at picking up the visual information very quickly and at converting it into meaning. Young deaf readers looked at each word for less time on average than young hearing readers did, but what is really important is that they also did not go back into the text to reread the words as often as young hearing readers did; this means that even if looking at each word for less time


n a nutshell, our preliminary results are really telling us what adult deaf readers have been saying all along: “Deaf people are extremely visually attuned to printed words”. This is also true for young deaf readers, who have not yet fully reached an adult-like reading stage.


RESOURCES FOR PARENTS ASL and English Bilingual Ebooks and Apps Zoey Goes To The Dog Park

Meet Zoey, a Deaf dog. Zoey loves to see new places with her human partner, Fir. Zoey invites you to join her adventure at the dog park narrated in American Sign Language and written English. - Rachel Berman Blythe & Jena Floyd.

The Boy Who Cried Wolf

The classic Aesop’s fable about the boy who cried wolf is brought to life in a wholly new medium with vivid American Sign Language storytelling, adding cinematic elements to a timeless tale. Accompanied by detailed paintings that evoke times of yore, this storybook app for the iPad comes with over 140 vocabulary words, signed and fingerspelled. App design is based on proven research on bilingualism and visual learning from Visual Language and Visual Learning. Gallaudet University.

Danny the Dragon Meets Jimmy

Danny The Dragon Meets Jimmy is a captivating, multiaward winning tale about a delightful, polite and lovable dragon named Danny, and his sidekick Skipper. In a most unusual way, they stumble upon the home of a boy named Jimmy. Danny’s mode of transportation - he shrinks and travels in a green sea shell! Reading the story, children are also transported - from our fast-paced multimedia world to a simpler place and time? - iStorytime. www.foundinblank.com/ asl-english-bilingual-ebooks-and-apps/


Organizations, Books, DVDs, Videos, Web-Pages Apps may not be available on all phones and tablets.

ASL Apps ◆◆ Alphasign Pro ◆◆ American Sign Language Alphabet Game ◆◆ American Sign Language Alphabet game lite ◆◆ ASL ◆◆ ASL Baby Sign ◆◆ ASL basic words (free) ◆◆ ASL Dictionary ◆◆ ASL Tales ◆◆ ASL Ultimate ◆◆ ASL-phabet (free) ◆◆ Baby Sign (ASL) (free) ◆◆ Baby Sign and Learn ◆◆ How to sign language (free) ◆◆ iASL ◆◆ Marlee Signs (free) ◆◆ My Smart Hands Fingerspelling Games ◆◆ My Smart Hands Intermediate Signs ◆◆ Sign 4 Me ◆◆ Sign Language (free) ◆◆ Sign Language dictionary ◆◆ Sign Language for Beginners ◆◆ Sign Language Tutorial (free) ◆◆ Sign Shine ◆◆ Sign Smith (ASL) lite ◆◆ Signed Stories (free) ◆◆ Signing Time ASL lite (free) ◆◆ The Baobab

Educational Apps for kids ◆◆ A Story Before Bed ◆◆ Alphabet Animals ◆◆ Connect the Dots with Dino and Friends ◆◆ Funbrain Jr. (age 5 and under) ◆◆ Heads Up ◆◆ Kids Doodle

◆◆ ◆◆ ◆◆ ◆◆ ◆◆ ◆◆ ◆◆ ◆◆

Kids Finger Painting Game (free) PicsArt for Kids Pocket Frogs Pocket Pond (free) Read Me stories (age 3 and up) Scratch Draw Art Game (free) Scribble Lite Spawn Glow HD (free)

◆◆ Tap-n-See Zoo

ASL DVD’s and Story Websites ◆◆ ◆◆ ◆◆ ◆◆

ASL Tales.net ASLized.org DawnSignPress.com HarrisCommunications.com * Goodnight moon * There’s something in my attic * Little Quack * 5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed * A pocket for Corduroy

◆◆ Owentales.com ◆◆ Signing Times ◆◆ WeSign.com

ASL Instruction Websites ◆◆ ◆◆ ◆◆ ◆◆

ASL University Lifeprint.com ASL DEAFined.com ASLPro.com Described and Captioned Media Program www.dcmp.org * Summer Signs * Meet the Bravo Family * Beginning ASL Videocourse * Signs of Development Interpreter Interactive Workshops * Vocabulary Builders in Sign Language * Signing Fiesta

◆◆ Signenhancers.com ◆◆ Treehousevideo.com

RESOURCES FOR PARENTS Parent and Deaf Community Websites American Deaf Culture www.americandeafculture.com Thomas K. Holcomb’s website with resources about American Deaf Culture. American Society of Deaf Children www.deafchildren.org A national, independent non-profit organization supporting families raising children who are deaf. Clerc Center www.gallaudet.edu/clerc_center.html Provides information, training, and technical assistance for parents and professionals to meet the needs of children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. National Association of the Deaf www.nad.org A non-profit organization designed to empower Deaf and Hard of Hearing Individuals. Odyssey Magazine www.gallaudet.edu/clerc_center/ odyssey.html Articles important to the families of D/HH children.

Part C - ages 0-3 Early Start services Contact your state coordinator to get services started. www.ectacenter.org/contact/ ptccoord.asp California Part C Deaf and Hard of Hearing www.cde.ca.gov/sp/ss/dh/ The Silent Garden www.gupress.gallaudet.edu/2902.htm Raising your Deaf Child, Paul W. Ogden Friends of Library for Deaf Action www.folda.net Deaf history library Visual Language and Visual Learning “VL2” www.vl2parentspackage.org A Science of Learning Center funded by the National Science studying and providing resources on the advantages and benefits of being bilingual in both English and American Sign Language (ASL). WhySign.com Research and case studies on the benefits of sign language

ASL IS A GIFT ASL is a gift of language ASL is a gift of embracing ASL is a gift of understanding ASL is a gift of communication ASL is a gift of dignity ASL is a gift of acceptance ASL is a gift of creativity ASL is a gift of intelligence ASL is a gift of connection ASL is a gift of expression ASL is a gift of healthy self-esteem ASL is a gift of creating a whole child ASL is a gift of human rights for your Deaf child ASL is a gift of love Written by Julie Rems-Smario

I cried a lot. I thought there was no future for my daughter and that she would be stuck with me for the rest of her life. She would never have friends, get married, or go to school. It was very hard in the beginning. I even put my daughter on the cochlear implant list with the hopes that the device would save her. Then, I read an article and realized that I was being unfair. She was Deaf and I was trying to make her like me: hearing. I then became determined to be a part of her world, so I learned her language: American Sign Language.

Raquel Camerena, Parent

Guardian Angel by Jan Oliver



Doctors, audiologists and educators may use terms that leave families feeling overwhelmed and scared. This does not motivate families to focus on their child’s capabilities and successes. Be culturally sensitive and reframe the vocabulary regarding Deaf children. “Identify” instead of

“diagnose”. Being Deaf is a cultural identity rather than an illness.

“Hearing status”

instead of “hearing loss” Loss infers a less than status and many children are born Deaf and do not feel they ever lost anything.

“Communication opportunities” instead of “communication options”. You do not need to limit yourself to one option, your child can pursue signing and speech skills.

“Journey” instead of “counseling”.

A journey focuses on what you can learn and experience rather than just the grieving process which is only a part of the journey.

“Visual and audio technologies” instead of “needs technology to function”. Functional Deaf people have been around for centuries, technologies can be a useful tools.

“Early involvement” instead of “early

intervention”. Intervene seems to indicate taking over parenting instead of partnering with families for early education.

“Refer with an explanation” instead of “your child failed the hearing test”. Fail is negative and does not give enough information about the hearing screening results.

“Unlimited opportunities” instead of “vocationally limited”. Focus on the vast possibilities of what your child can do.

Watch the video - Early Intervention: The Missing Link at www.aslized.org/ei Signed by Rachel Benedict, produced by ASLized, notes by Gina Oliva

Available in Spanish and English

TIPS FOR TOTS Having fun together is a wonderful way to share effective communication. Play games with expressive body and facial expressions like: Pat-a-Cake, Peek-a-Boo, and So-o Big. Baby may not understand all your words, but he will understand your smiles, laughs, and playfulness. Playing with toys provides an opportunity to expand vocabulary. Give Baby words for different concepts. Sign and say things again and again and again. Repetition is very important. Make a scrap book of your baby’s favorite people and things. Talk and sign about the pictures that interest your infant. Be expressive. Keep eye contact. Than, pause long enough for your child to take a turn responding. Parent Links: Hope! Dream! Achieve!



Contributed by Michele Tompkins, Early Intervention Specialist, CSDF

Learning with BLOCKS

Exploring our shapes with blocks on the table top

Toy blocks and other construction toys might not be as flashy as battery-powered robots or video games. But as developmental psychologist Rachel Keen notes, parents and teachers “need to design environments that encourage and enhance problem solving from a young age” (Keen 2011). Construction toys seem ideally suited to do that, and they may also help children develop

You can also trace different shapes of blocks with differnt colored pens or tape onto paper. Kids can then play a matching game by trying to match the blocks to the different shapes and/or colors. The nice thing about this activity is that there really is no right or wrong way to explore it. It is a simple and a fun way to explore shapes and colors.

◆◆ motor skills and hand-eye coordination, ◆◆ spatial skills, ◆◆ a capacity for creative, divergent thinking, ◆◆ social skills, and ◆◆ language skills. Moreover, kids can integrate their own constructions into pretend play scenarios. There is also evidence that complex block-play is linked with advanced math skills in later life. The type of blocks you offer your children really doesn’t matter. What matters is that there are building materials available so that children can construct and create. To keep children interested in building offere different ways to build. Here are some ways to use building blocks in your home or classroom.

Clay and Wood Block Structures

Building “up!” This fun dice/block game challenges children to build up with blocks as far as they can go… either alone or with friends and family. You need similiar size blocks and dice. The object of this game is for the children to roll the dice, then try to build “up” a tower with the number of blocks shown on the dice. The children can see how high they can stack the blocks. Stacking blocks takes a great deal of focus and a steady hand.

Use small pieces of clay to stick wood blocks together. Try and build as tall a building as possible sticking the blocks together with clay. Experiment away! Explore the process and the product, what works and what doesn’t. Kids will get an idea of how brick buildings are made and why they are weak under certain types of stress. You can also take turns building a block structure together with blocks of different shapes and sizes. You add as many blocks as the number on the dice to build a creative structure. This is a wonderful cooperative game. Visit www.teachpreschool.org to learn more about playful activities.


“Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful.” - Annette Funicello


California School for the Deaf 39350 Gallaudet Drive, Fremont, CA 94538 (510) 794-3666 www.csdeagles.com

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THRIVE - Early Childhood Edition 2014-2015, Volume 2  

This CSD magazine has wealth of information about raising Deaf babies bilingually, ASL and English, and toddlers in language rich homes and...

THRIVE - Early Childhood Edition 2014-2015, Volume 2  

This CSD magazine has wealth of information about raising Deaf babies bilingually, ASL and English, and toddlers in language rich homes and...

Profile for csdthrive