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California School for the Deaf

Deaf Teens • 2014 • Volume 1

Deaf Teens


In This Issue

Thrive Magazine 2013-2014

Editor-in-Chief Julie Rems-Smario jsmario@csdf-cde.ca.gov Assistant Editor & Visual Designer Sina McCarthy smc@sinamccarthy.com Proofreader Laura T. Petersen ltpetersen@csdf-cde.ca.gov

Note from Julie Rems-Smario

On the Cover Joshua Mora, 2013 Graduate Dariyann Thomas, 2014 Senior


Tawny Holmes’ Story Bilingualism

Chad Taylor’s Story DiPaola Family’s Story Don’t Text and Drive Teen Fashion

Superintendent Dr. Sean M. Virnig

California School for the Deaf 39350 Gallaudet Drive Fremont, CA 94536 (510) 794-3666 http://www.csdeagles.com

What’s Happening with Deaf Teens

Education Laws

Contributors Brian Berry-Berlinski DCARA DHHSC Tawny Holmes, Esq. Jeff Freeman King, Ed.D. NorCAL Center for the Deaf Rory Osbrink Chad Taylor

Publication special thanks to California School for the Deaf Outreach

Applying Maslow’s Hierarchy

Brian Berry-Berlinski’s Story

Language Deprivation

Ted Talk Review Marlee Matlin’s Deaf Gain Teen Services CSD’s New Logo




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36 37




46 47


Editor-in-Chief On behalf of California School for the Deaf, I am very excited to launch our first issue of THRIVE magazine, which reflects the school’s new motto, Learn Experience Thrive. In THRIVE, you will find poignant stories from thriving Deaf teens sharing their experiences, wisdom, and dreams. It is my hope that the Deaf youth in this magazine will touch the hearts of parents, and inspire them to learn ASL with their Deaf children; for Deaf teens to be all they can be with their dreams; and to enlighten the community about the joys of raising bilingual Deaf youth. The source of inspiration for this magazine is Dr. Laura Ann Petitio, a cognitive neuroscientist and a developmental cognitive neuroscientist, and the current Scientific Director of Gallaudet University’s Brain and Language Laboratory. During this past year, Pettito announced at several national conferences, “The human brain does not discriminate between the hands and tongue. People discriminate, but not our biological human brain.” Her scientific findings ended the myth that the auditory cortex is exclusively for auditory language. The findings from Pettito’s laboratory have launched a website, “Growing Together: The Science of Learning on Visual Language,” including a parent package. With this package, parents now can get the scientific truth that American Sign Language (ASL) benefits their Deaf child. This new evidence empowers parents and teachers to protect their Deaf children from a national epidemic of great harm from language deprivation. Last July, TIME magazine published an article titled “The Power of the Bilingual Brain” which quoted that “monolingualism is the illiteracy of the 21st century.” Dr. Poorna Kushalnager’s research article, “Mode of communication, perceived level of understanding and perceived quality of life in youth who are deaf or hard-of-hearing,” validated what many Deaf people already knew: “Deaf youth who reported a strong preference for speech were much more likely to report a greater stigma associated with being Deaf than youth who reported a preference to use sign language and speech.” Time for ignorance is over. Bilingualism, ASL and English, is the healthiest and safest path for all Deaf children. All Deaf youth deserve an optimized quality of life with bilingualism (ASL and English) at home and school, social life with Deaf peers, and access to Deaf educators and role models. Lastly, I want to express my deep gratitude to an amazing person, Sina McCarthy, who is a parent of two thriving bilingual Deaf teens at CSD. Sina donated her awesome graphic designs and photograph sessions of CSD’s Deaf Teens to this magazine. To see more of Sina’s professional work, visit her website, www.SinaMcCarthy.com -- It takes a bilingual village of families, scientists, role models, teachers and supporters to nurture thriving bilingual Deaf youth. Thrivingly yours,

Julie Rems-Smario, M.A., M.S. Educational Consultant



By Laura T. Petersen & Julie Rems-Smario

Applying Maslow’s Hierarchy To Deaf Children 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 children. Language deprivation is the most serious barrier to self-actualization for Deaf children. • Deaf children’s delayed and diminished exposure to language may impede their ability to learn language-related tasks (Morford & Mayberry, 2000). • Children are dependent on the adults around them to provide the environment necessary to tap into the neural circuitry to develop language (Eliott, 1999). • The same environment can be rich for hearing children but destitute for Deaf children (Kuntze, 1998; Marschark, 2001).

I learned from bilingualbicultural teachers who were capable of modeling both languages and who had the ability to adapt to both cultures. I take pride in knowing two languages and being part of two distinct cultures.

I was raised in an oral environment using listening and spoken skills only. I was behind academically and socially. I did not learn to read until the age of 11. I learned ASL when I was 10.



MASLOW’S HIERARCHY Language & Identity Deprived Deaf Individual

Self-Actualized Deaf Individual

Because I am fluent in two languages, ASL and English, I learned third, fourth, and fifth languages with ease. “Left Out” painting by Grecia Martinez

• Second-guesses oneself • Feels alone and lacks self-esteem • Has gaps in interpersonal and social skills • Misses social cues and opportunities to connect with others • Feels anxious in communication using speech and listening skills with groups • Tries hard to fit in but may feel unwanted or burdened • Experiences academic and social delays • Feels frustrated in communication basic needs (Sussman, 2000)

• Achieves full intellectual and social-emotional potential • Asks for and uses assistance where and when appropriate • Is self-reliant • Has effective interpersonal relationships and social skills • Has a positive attitude towards sign language • Places speech & residual hearing abilities in perspective • Compensates for society’s devaluing attitudes • Has a positive self-concept as a Deaf person • Influences their world through language (Sussman, 2000)

Why was the burden of comprehending always placed on my shoulders? Why did I have to fake understanding? Once I learned ASL, the world of “Silent Sound” opened up for me. Why did I have to wait until I was 15 to be allowed to learn? “ASL Makes My Imagination Soar” painting by Jordan Kray


MASLOW’S HIERARCHY The Important Role of Language in Achieving Self-Actualization

Full language access opens the door to the world of ideas, creativity, and expression. Language-deprived Deaf children fail to progesss beyond these basic needs and levels of dependence and development.

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 Deaf individuals and the critical role of language in their climb towards self-actualization. Deaf children who use only spoken English and experience being socially ostracized often have limited abilities and opportunities to move up this pyramid. 6


MASLOW’S HIERARCHY Language and Identity Language is integral to culture and identity. Language-

All Deaf children have the innate capability to master

deprived and identity-deprived Deaf individuals struggle

American Sign Language, a naturally acquired visual

to get beyond the belonging level of Maslow’s hierarchy.

language. Research has proven that the brain recognizes

Interacting with Deaf individuals like themselves can

both spoken and signed modes of language. However

provide a sense of grounding and belonging necessary to

our medical and educational systems continue to

achieve self-actualization.

discriminate against signed language.

• Using sign language and identifying with the Deaf

• Research has shown that learning American Sign

community significantly contributes to positive

Language is not antithetical to spoken English

self-esteem in children with severe-profound

but actually facilitates speech skills (Malaia &

sensory neural hearing loss (Jambor & Elliott, 2005).

Wilbur, 2010; Priesler, Tyingstedt & Ahlstrom, 2002).

• The United Nations has called for state parties to

• The 2006 United Nations Convention of the Rights

facilitate the learning of signed language and

of Persons with Disabilities calls for state parties to

promote the linguistic identity of the Deaf

accept and facilitate the use of sign language

community (Article 24).

(Article 21).

Spoken English is the dominant language in the United States; however it is the mode of English that is not fully accessible to Deaf children (Shirin, Jones, Luckner,

• With early exposure to sign language, the stages of development are the same for Deaf children (Bavelier, Newport & Supalla, 2003).

Kreimeyer & Reed, 2011). The dominant culture portrays sign language as a less worthy language. • Parents impart this lowered status to their children when they reluctantly learn sign as a last resort after their Deaf child has failed to produce intelligible speech. • The dominant English culture causes many Deaf individuals to feel marginalized; this has social, psychological, and linguistic repercussions (Ridgeway, 1998). • Relying solely on spoken English puts many Deaf children at a linguistic and social disadvantage (Caprara, Barbaranelli, Pastorelli, Bandura & Zimbardo, 2000; Malecki & Elliott, 2002). “Deaf Pride Soars High” art by Rachelle Guzman


MASLOW’S HIERARCHY Language and Identity Deprived Deaf Individuals Attributes • Delayed language acquisition has significant neural consequences as the anterior left hemisphere shows less activation in correlation with the older age of language acquisition (Mayberry, Klein, Witcher & Chen, 2006). • 48% of teachers reported that children with cochlear implants could not follow a spoken conversation with a group of people (Punch & Hyde, 2011). • 61% of Deaf children in mainstream programs struggle with mental health problems, double the rate found in hearing children (Hindley, Hill, McGuigan & Kitson, 1993). • Deaf adolescents in general education settings report higher emotional security with Deaf peers than with hearing peers (Stinson & Whitmire, 1991; Stinson et al., 1996).

I felt like I was a burden to others, always asking them to repeat stuff, so I felt it was wise to keep a distance.


“The Lost Identity” art by Darriyann Thomas

• Children with excellent one-to-one spoken language skills experience communication breakdowns in groups (Vonen, Hyde & Hole, 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).


MASLOW’S HIERARCHY Self-Actualized Deaf Individuals Attributes • 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 identified with the hearing world (Jambor & Elliott, 2005). • Signing skills are the best predictors of strong English reading skills (Hoffmeister, 2000; Padden & Ramsey, 2000, Strong & Prinz, 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, et al., B.L., Clark, M.D., Anderson, M.L., Gilbert, G.L., Musyoka, M. M., & Hauser, P. C., 2011).

As a graduate student at a private university, I communicate with my hearing teachers and peers effortlessly. I owe my success to the ASL-English bilingual education.

• Using sign language and identifying with the Deaf Community significantly 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). • Deaf 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 Eye Islands” art by Christina Call

Note: Special thanks to CSD’s De’VIA art teacher, Mr. David Call, and his students.


OUR STUDENTS what’s happening with our...

Deaf Teens

The Movie Buff Andrew Cho, Senior San Francisco, California

As a senior in high school, I am still considering several careers. For now, I am enjoying every moment of my senior year at CSD and playing with my GoPro camera. I am fortunate to attend CSD since kinder­garten. Growing up at CSD has made me very ap­preciative of my parents’ decision. I strongly encourage parents of Deaf children to use American Sign Language to communicate with their child and to enroll them at CSD. This bilingual school (ASL and English) has it all, so why limit a Deaf child to spoken English only. I also advise Deaf chil­dren not to rush through life, and to take their time enjoying their parents and friends. Families should enjoy their journey together.

“Deaf students have equal access to communication at CSD, just like hearing students do at their schools. We never run out of things to talk about.” 10


OUR STUDENTS “I love it here because I can communicate with anyone at anytime. This school made me believe in myself. I had no idea that I could excel academically with hard work.”

The Star Athlete Brian Freeman, Senior Sacramento, California

After I graduate from CSD, I would like to donate money to CSD’s Eagles basketball camp. This was an amazing experience for me when I was 11, and I would like more kids to have that opportunity. The camp introduced me to CSD and Deaf role models like Michael Lizarraga. It was him who recognized my potential to be a good basketball player, and taught me valuable techniques. He is a very talented basketball player who, after playing for California State University Northridge (CSUN) on a basketball scholarship for four years, was recruited to play for a professional basketball team in Mexico. He inspired me to succeed academically so I can achieve athletically. This opened my mind to the idea of being able to do well in school. I have goals to become a PE teacher and coach both football and basketball. I’m proud of the education I accomplished at CSD!


OUR STUDENTS “We the Deaf students don’t just support each other, we make each other better.”

The Fashion Designer Maribel Ibarra-Saucedo, Junior Richmond, CA

When I enrolled at CSD, I met Mr. David Call, our high school art teacher. He showed me the opportunities I have as an artist. Fashion Institute of Technology in New York is one possibility I am considering, because I want to be a fashion designer. I wish for all parents of Deaf babies to know about CSD. This school has great resources for families that my parents didn’t have at my mainstream school. After enrolling at CSD at age 9, I did eventually start to feel confident about myself and my future, especially when CSD Student Life staff surprised me with the Outstanding Student Award. This distinguished award taught me that I can do anything I aspire to be. I hang it proudly on my wall to remind me to pursue all my dreams including becoming a fashion designer.



OUR STUDENTS The Humanitarian

LiAn Jackson, Senior Fremont, California

At the age of one, I was adopted from China by an American family. When my parents found out I was Deaf, they moved to Fremont so I could attend CSD. They gave me everything a Deaf child could dream for, especially bilingualism, ASL and English, at home and at school. I fit in so well at CSD because there are others like me. I wish every Deaf child could have what I have. I am very passionate about politics and activism in the Deaf Community. I aspire to become involved with Deaf politics to defend our Deaf rights, and I also want to do work to help disadvantaged women and children. I believe that each woman is a solution to the world. We are wasting a lot of solutions to the world by oppressing women and their children. There need to be more services to empower women and children in dire poverty. I developed a strong Deaf identity at CSD among many Deaf role models. I want Deaf children to grab every opportunity offered to them at Deaf schools and not take them for granted, especially the opportunities to develop a strong Deaf identity by interacting with their Deaf peers.

“My parents’ best resources came from Deaf professionals and adults.” 13



“Every Deaf child deserves to have a Deaf role model to mentor him or her. It truly makes a difference.”

The Compassionate Friend Emily Livermore, 2013 Graduate Fremont, California Gallaudet University Student Psychology Major

At CSD, I was a hard working athlete and leader. I loved being part of a team and participated in many clubs and sports teams at CSD. I didn’t have this opportunity at my previous school. Every parent should follow what makes their Deaf child happy; do whatever it takes to learn ASL and to join the Deaf community. I noticed that my friends who have bilingual (ASL and English) homes are very well adjusted. This is a surefire way for Deaf children to develop confidence. With a confident Deaf child, you will know the answers to your child’s happiness. I value my Deaf friends and community. I worry about eugenics trying to eradicate Deaf people. Our world of diversity should not become a world of conformity.


OUR STUDENTS “ASL is the only language that is 100% accessible to children who have all ranges of hearing levels. They deserve to own the language.”

The Engineer

Shen Mai, 2013 Graduate San Francisco, California Ohlone College Student Game Design & Film Major When I moved to the United States from China, I did not know that there was a Deaf school near San Francisco, until I was invited to watch a school play at CSD. After the play, I told my mom that CSD is where I want to get my education. My mother, who speaks only Cantonese, visited the school and supported my desire to transfer from my public school. Since enrolling at this school in 2012, my ASL improved so much within one year because of the language rich environment. Because of Deaf teachers and friends, many opportunities opened up for me, exceeding what I had in China. During graduation last June, I stood on the stage and announced to the audience “CSD is my home.” People in the audience ap­plauded. I will never forget that moment.


OUR STUDENTS “Since I joined CSD, I became content with who I am.”

The Rapper

RaGene Malave, 2013 Graduate Sacramento, California Work Readiness Program My uncle, who passed away a while ago, showed me how to be my authentic self by opening up to others I care about. He died when I was ten years old, and I was devastated. Now I am 18 and I still remember every word he shared with me, “Always make sure that you are being yourself and never give up on yourself by following your heart and dreams.” CSD is one place where I am able to follow my uncle’s advice. Before I came here, I had shut down. I didn’t know how to be me. For a long time I knew that I was Lesbian, but I was scared to open up to anyone until I moved to CSD. I just blossomed here because my friends and teachers accepted me for who I am. I feel safe and happy at CSD. This is a huge personal accomplishment. Now I can focus on my dreams to own a business to teach dancing and rapping. I graduated last spring and I chose to stay one more semester to be part of the Work Readiness Program (WRP), because I want to strengthen my career. WRP is a fantastic opportunity for me to make transition to life after high school. I plan to enroll at Ohlone College during Spring 2014. I am excited about the future.



OUR STUDENTS “I value both my family and CSD.”

The Explorer

David Sayuni Malle, Senior San Pablo, California Four years ago, I moved to the United States from Arusha, Tanzania. My uncle moved to the USA to study at a university and helped me relocate to this country, so I can get a better education. Later, my Dad and brother joined us. My mom is not able to move here yet. I miss her and hope to see her soon. My uncle constantly reminds me that education leads to more opportunities, challenging me to be successful academically. The CSD’s Career Center taught me how to be prepared for my future career. I also learned how to become comfortable with taking tests, especially in reading and writing. In the future, I want to go back to Tanzania and help build strong schools for Deaf children there. Recently, I received three awards, one from Student Life for good citizenship, one in PE for my sportsmanship, and another from the Career and Technology Education Department for my computer repairing skills. There were no opportunities like this for me in Tanzania. I am thankful for the sacrifices my family made for me. My advice to parents is to do whatever it takes to get your Deaf child in a Deaf school with teachers and peers like themselves.




“My mother is my inspiration because she is the one who encouraged me to go to CSD where I am now thriving with both ASL and English.”

The Scholar

Diego Montoya, Junior West Pittsburg, California At my previous school, I was socially isolated. During middle school, when someone suggested that I go to CSD, I had no idea what to expect. After enrolling at CSD, I became so happy because I could understand what the teachers and students are saying with ease. Of course, there were a few friendly hearing people at my old school who tried to include me, but the interactions were still limited. CSD’s Career Center has shown me what steps I need to take for my dreams to come true. Studying is something I truly enjoy, especially in the subject areas of English, Math, and World History. Deaf children will be in the hearing world for the rest of their lives, so a few years here at CSD provide a solid foundation of educational experiences for a lifetime of success. There was a kid from my old middle school, who became so lonely after I joined CSD. I felt so bad for that kid. One year later, he transfered to CSD! He is very happy like me. The sooner the children start at CSD, the better they can thrive socially, emotionally, intellectually, and academically. They deserve to have this once-in-a-lifetime educational experience.


OUR STUDENTS The Jack of all Trades Joshua Mora, 2013 Graduate Fremont, California RIT Student Business and Psychology Major

My Deafhood identity is strong, because my hearing par­ents learned ASL and met with Deaf adults as soon as they learned that I was Deaf. When I was in fourth grade, my parents relocated from Los Angeles to Fremont, so I could get the best education possible at CSD. This school honed my academic, athletic, and leadership skills. My mother is my role model. She told me that she would choose my education over money anytime, because I am a worthy investment. CSD is a beautiful school where the children are happy and confident. Confidence comes from a lan­guage that is 100 percent accessible from the beginning. Learning to speak is fine, but learning ASL is important, too. I love the fact that Deaf people are the only group of people in the world, who can network and communicate globally because of our visual languages. I would like to invest in a very unique business called Hands-On Travel, a Deaf-owned business venture to sup­port Deaf travelers globally.

“Follow your child’s lead and be open to the child’s world in the Deaf community.’’ 19

OUR STUDENTS “A Deaf child’s only need is to lead his or her own happiness with the support of their family.”

The Artist

Taylor Nix, Senior Suisun City, California I am proud of my recent achievement, win­ning second place in the wedding cake decoration competition at the Culinary FHA-HERO. My wedding cake theme was ‘Nightmare Before Christmas.’ Afterwards I had several requests to make more. My goal is to work as a make-up artist for film and fashion shows. Marilyn Monroe is my role model. She was a very talented actress, and I love her fashion style. Another woman who inspires me, is my mother. She learned ASL along with my hearing twin brother. Both sign fluently. We are a very close family. Hanging out with my friends also feeds my creativity. If I have a Deaf child, the first thing I would do is communi­cate with my child in ASL and enroll him or her at CSD.



OUR STUDENTS The Politician & Social Activist Jacob Pfau-Martinez, Senior Livermore, California

I am passionate about politics and activism in the Deaf Community. There is a bright future for the Deaf youth with our Deaf education and Deaf community leaders. I am already involved with Deaf politics and activities to protect the rights of Deaf people. My role model is Dr. Sean Virnig, the first Deaf Superintendent ever in 153 years of history of CSD. He also graduated from CSD in 1992. Dr. Virnig taught me how to be proud as a Deaf person and that I can do anything I aspire to be. I plan to invest in Early Hearing Detection In­tervention (EHDI) because all babies deserve to learn ASL from the beginning. ASL foundation is like the roots. You need healthy roots to raise a strong, healthy tree. ASL is water to Deaf “seedlings,” so the seedlings can grow into strong Deaf trees. This is my advice to new families of Deaf babies: Find a school that promotes the whole Deaf child approach by focusing on the child’s strengths, not what the problem is. You can tell if the school is vibrant if it has thriving leadership with Deaf teachers, administrators, and superintendents along with their hearing al­lies. This is a powerful way to send a positive message to your Deaf child that he or she can become a leader of his or her own alma mater in the future, just like what my role model, Dr. Sean Virnig, has accomplished at CSD.

“I have 24/7 access to every iota of the school’s language environment. It is so empowering. It’s magical...” 21

OUR STUDENTS “Even though I am hard of hearing, I got lost watching both the interpreters and the whiteboard at my mainstream school. So, with my parents’ support, I switched to CSD. I was blown away with how much I was learning here at CSD.”

The Jumper

John Scognamiglio, Junior Sacramento, California I love all of my classes and teachers here at CSD. My teachers are also my mentors, which is something I never had at my previous mainstream school. Being part of the classroom and the social scene at CSD is a huge accomplishment for me. On the audiogram, I am labeled as “hard of hearing,” but here at CSD I am proud to call myself Deaf. There are diverse hearing levels within CSD from mild to profoundly deaf. However it does not define us, because we are a community of bilingualism, ASL and English. At CSD, I have many opportunities to use my athletic skills playing football, basketball, and track. I am really proud of the fact that I can jump higher than most of my peers. I enjoy long jump and high jump. My goal is to attend RIT after high school. It would be nice if I can play basketball there, too. Auto body is one of my favorite classes. I enjoy playing basketball, video games, and hanging with my friends and listening to music. 22


OUR STUDENTS “My hearing family always included me in daily conversations. They are fluent in ASL. I cannot imagine my parents not knowing how to sign to me.”

The Photographer Meeya Tjiang, Senior Palo Alto, California

At CSD, I get equal access to both educational and social opportunities. I have many hobbies such as painting, drawing, and reading. I especially love reading. My favorite class is photo journalism, which allows me to express my views and feelings about the world. Photography gives me great joy as I am an avid Photographer and take my camera everywhere. I started my own small business taking senior and family portraits, and I’ve been involved with the school’s year book for two years. I am interested in working with computer technology and design. RIT is one of the universities I am interested in. I am also considering California State University, Northridge, and Gallaudet University. Someday I would like to support developing countries by providing food and education, especially for the Deaf children. From my own family experience, new parents of Deaf babies should meet other families with Deaf children to get support to learn ASL. By networking with other parents, they can share their children’s journey towards success. 23

OUR STUDENTS “My dad is my inspiration... he believes in me and in my future.�

The All-Round Star Athlete Darriyan Thomas, Senior Vallejo, CA

My dad and I are so much alike. We have similar smiles, personalities, and an affinity for sports. He taught me to never give up. Because of his support, I have become a dedicated athlete by practicing hard and listening to my coaches. He believes in me and in my future. I enjoy history and foreign languages but I would like to become a PE teacher. During my freshman year, I joined the volleyball team at CSD. I felt intimidated by the older and bigger players on my team. However much to my surprise, by the end of the volleyball season, I ended up with the Most Valuable Player award. That experience made me realize that I do have exceptional athletic skills. Since that year, I have been MVP every year. I have grown so much here at CSD because I have equal access to unlimited opportunities. The Athletics Division taught me more about sportsmanship than my previous school and teams. I am now confident in myself as both an athlete and a scholar.



OUR STUDENTS The Independent Spirit Zoe Johanna Visser, Senior Fremont, California

My parents brought me to the CSD when I was toddler and I learned American Sign Language right away. This gave me a great sense of identity. I know myself and I am confident. I value respect and expect it back. Having time of solitude is important to me. I am an artist and a photographer. I want to teach both subjects. I have a good work ethic from my dad. He taught me to be independent and to manage money. He also taught me the importance of earning respect. Everyone is born to be original! My mother encouraged me to be unique by not conforming. At a very young age, I did not follow or copy others. Last year, my mother passed away. She and I were so much alike. My life is different than most because I will be without my mom for the rest of my life. Through her, I learned about perseverance during hard times. She brought so much love to my life.

“Letting your Deaf child ‘be’ is a gift.” 25



Tawny Holmes, M.ED., J.D.

My Parents, My Advocates How a Deaf girl became a lawyer championing Deaf children’s rights At four years old my mother noticed the fear on my face and the several bite marks on my arm upon getting off the school bus. This incident and my imitations of my intellectually disabled classmates spurred my mother to inform the mainstream elementary school’s Head Start Program that they HAD to separate Deaf children from the other children with disabilities. She pointed out that I already had two languages. She taught me written English and ASL, with help from our home visit teacher. My vocabulary was well above my current classmates. I needed to be with peers and teachers who could help me thrive academically and socially. My mother was very nervous on the day she presented my case to the school board, but also effective since they agreed to adjust my program to meet my educational needs in both ASL and English. This was the start of my mother’s advocacy efforts. She believed in my ability to learn. She was my first teacher. She used flashcards from Japan that she read about in Life magazine and was constantly learning techniques to foster language acquisition. Thanks to her, I am bilingual, a fluent signer and an avid reader. I recently graduated from law school with a degree specializing in educational advocacy. I hope to improve the lives of families of Deaf and hard of hearing children. 26

Tawny, at young age with her mother, Cheryl Holmes.

Tawny and her dad, Darwin Holmes at Gallaudet University graduation, 2005

MY PARENTS My father inspired me to attend law school. He was a dynamic leader and advocate in the local Deaf community and the state of Florida. When I was 6 years old, I sat on the steps of the state capitol with my father and he shared his concerns about the quality of education for Deaf students. At that time I was in a mainstream setting with other Deaf children who struggled because they had no language access at home. I grew up determined to make a difference because while I appreciate the benefits of going to a local mainstream school, I knew the pitfalls— I was socially isolated. I lacked a language rich environment, and the teachers were inexperienced with Deaf students. I wanted with all my heart to play YMCA soccer after school or to join the Girl Scouts, but was told I couldn’t because they wouldn’t provide me a sign language interpreter. Even though I had attended many speech therapy sessions, many people couldn’t understand me without an interpreter. During my pre-teen years, I attended the Alabama School for the Deaf where my life was transformed. I suddenly had plenty of peers who could challenge me academically and socially, teachers who had high expectations, and, best of all, a plethora of after school activities, from sports to youth

Tawny at University of Baltimore Law School graduation, 2013

leadership. That was where I truly thrived. Thanks to that school and my parents I am now an Equal Justice Works Fellow at the National Association of the Deaf. I am determined to help more Deaf and hard of hearing teens thrive by providing information and tools for their parents. Parents may contact National Association of the Deaf (NAD) for IEP advocacy for Deaf and hard of hearing children, and for legal consultation for cases related to education/child welfare of Deaf or hard of hearing child at nad.info@nad.org and (301) 587-1788. The website for NAD is www.nad.org.



BILINGUALISM BILINGUALISM: ACQUIRING ASL and ENGLISH Gallaudet University launches Visual Language and Visual Learning (VL2) website: VL2.Gallaudet.Edu


If Deaf children learn American Sign Language, they will be inhibited from learning speech.


Bilingualism, ASL and English, helps Deaf children learn to write and speak. A 2011 research article by Gallaudet University called “Advantages of Early Visual Language� stated that fluency in sign language and a bilingual approach, using ASL and English, supports the acquisition of written and spoken English. Proficiency in ASL has been shown to positively influence spoken language development and the development of English literacy in Deaf students. It is language that facilitates spoken language, not the mode of communication.


If Deaf children learn sign language, they will be socially deprived.


Bilingualism, ASL and English, fosters optimized social interactions among Deaf children because there is no language confusion or delay associated with bilingualism, learning both ASL and English from the earliest age possible is a logical choice. The most obvious benefit of bilingual development is the ability to communicate in two languages. Bilingualism, ASL and English, is an ability which provides access to more diverse communities, experiences, and perspectives than one would have as a monolingual. This access may be particularly crucial for Deaf children who are likely to want to develop relationships with both ASL signers and English speakers over the course of their lives.


Arielle McCarthy, Sophomore


Teaching Deaf children both sign and spoken language will confuse the child and take up too much of the parents’ time.


American Sign Language helps Deaf children learn English. VL2 researchers at Gallaudet University are trying to understand exactly why and how so many Deaf students whose first language is ASL achieve such high levels of English literacy.


Deaf children need to learn how to speak first, because speech is an indicator of academic success. They can learn sign language when they grow up.


Bilingualism, American Sign Language and English, prevents language deprivation. Bilingual children with ASL and English achieve language milestones on time and are on track with language and literacy development. Contrary to popular belief, bilingualism will not impede successful language learning; in fact it has the opposite effect. Early exposure to multiple languages ensures optimal linguistic and cognitive development. Limiting exposure to one language with the aim for improving the acquisition of another is unwarranted, as both languages will support language acquisition. Delay of language acquisition can have negative consequences on cognition, academic achievement, and social and emotional health. Families and educators are in a position to promote rather than prohibit language learning in their children. By encouraging a deaf child’s curiosity about all forms of language, parents facilitate their children’s linguistic and cognitive development. Visual Language and Visual Learning (VL2) Science of Learning Center. (June 2011). Research and Deaf Children (Research Brief No. 4).

Arielle McCarthy, Sophomore



Jess Freeman King, Ed.

Is Mainstreaming Working for the Deaf Child?


hat is happening in mainstream education of the deaf child, has left many children educationally, socially, and emotionally behind their hearing peers. Has not history taught us that continuing to make the same mistake by placing the deaf child into the mainstream makes absolutely no sense? The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) says that the child who has a disability will be educated in the most appropriate and least restrictive environment, and that this environment will lead to socialization of the child with his/her non-disabled peers. This idea is reasonable for the child who has access to spoken English, but what about the child who is deaf and not disabled? There are two important questions that must be asked: Is the deaf child disabled; and, for the deaf child, can socialization occur without deep and meaningful communication with other children and teachers? The least restrictive environment (LRE) part of IDEA is often not understood as it applies to the child who is deaf. The problem is the law’s inappropriate

LiAn Jackson, Andrew Cho & Meeya Tjiang


interpretation and how it affects the child. The law emphasizes that the least restrictive environment should be most like a “normal” environment that promotes and enhances socialization skills. The misinterpretation of the law has caused problems for the appropriate and successful education of the deaf child. Certainly, without communication of a deep and meaningful nature with other students and teachers, it is impossible for socialization to occur. This results in providing the most restrictive environment! This misinterpretation of “least restrictive” has caused many deaf children to be placed in mainstream programs within the public schools. These placements often disregard or misunderstand the child’s language development needs, identity, and socio-cultural needs. The placement decision of mainstreaming is often made by administrators, special education specialists, audiologists, and speech-language pathologists who do not understand the need for the deaf child to acquire a natural, visual language. The placement team often thinks that having an interpreter will assure equal language access. The decision to place the deaf child in the mainstream with an interpreter is based on the idea that the interpreter will be able to equalize communication among the deaf child, their teacher, and their hearing classmates. The deaf child can only benefit from an interpreter if the child already has a meaningful language. Often many interpreters are not certified or qualified, and do not possess the skills to provide communication in the classroom environment. It is also important to understand that many public school districts in the United States that offer educational services for deaf children have only one or two deaf students in the entire program. It is necessary to have a critical mass of deaf children who are grouped by age, IQ, and language competence. Also, it would be most appropriate and least restrictive to have a teacher with whom the deaf child can comfortably and deeply communicate, and have Deaf role models who are administrators or teachers—individuals whom the child can aspire to emulate.



adly, most deaf children who are placed in mainstream programs are being educated near hearing children, rather than with them. In these programs, the deaf child is given the worst of both worlds, instead of the best. They are given a limited language, a limited social environment, and a limited education. If we accept the fact that many mainstream programs for deaf children are inappropriate, ineffective, and most restrictive, how might these programs be designed to be more appropriate, effective, and least restrictive? The following suggestions are offered for to local school districts, special education administrators and teachers, audiologists, and speech-language pathologists:

1. The program should include a critical mass of deaf children (at least 5 per class) in order to provide for socialization, identity development, and language growth and enhancement.

2. Homogeneous grouping that will assure grouping by age, IQ, and language competence. 3. Only teachers who are qualified/certified and have a respect for and understanding of Deaf culture should have deaf students in their classes. 4. Only teachers who can communicate directly and appropriately with deaf students.

RaGene Malave, Tirzah Farley & Emily Livermore

The most important suggestion that might be given the local school district that tries to offer an appropriate educational program for deaf children is that the program offer a quality education that will truly prepare the student 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 classmates, but that they are educated to become successful Deaf human beings, not imitations of hearing people. References Commission on Education of the Deaf, Toward Equality: Education of the Deaf, Washington, DC; U.S. Government Printing Office, February, 1988. Johnson, R., S. Liddell, and C. Erting, Unlocking the Curriculum: Principles for Achieving Access in Deaf Education, Gallaudet Research Institute Working Paper, 89-3, Washington, DC; Gallaudet University, January, 1989.

5. Deaf adult role models should be present on a regular basis in the educational process, either as administrators, teachers, or aides.

King, J.F., Does Repeating the Mistakes of the Past Protect the Innocent?, A Deaf American Monograph, 61-64, Silver Spring, Maryland; National Association of the Deaf, 1996.

6. Curriculum that includes Deaf history and Deaf culture should be available in classrooms that have deaf children.

King, J.F., Inappropriate and Most Restrictive: The Dilemma of the Deaf Student in American Education, Tejas, Vol. 16, No. 1, Spring-Summer, 1990.

7. Only intelligence, achievement, and other placement tests that are appropriate for deaf children should be used. 8. Interpreters in the program should be highly certified and knowledgeable concerning the Deaf culture.

Thomas, R., Taking Back Our Rights, a paper presented at the American Society for Deaf Children Annual Conference; Faribault, Minnesota, June, 1989. Siegel, L., Educational Isolation of Deaf Children, Newsletter of the Independently Merging Parent Associations of California Together for the Hearing Impaired (IMPACT-HI), 1st Quarter, 1989. Reprinted, with permission, from the author and the Utah Special Educator, www.UPDC.org.



Chad Taylor

CSD Parent as a Role Model BEING DEAF I am a Deaf 36 year old programmer. I cannot speak at all. I love my language, American Sign Language. I enjoy my family, my wife and two sons, tremendously. I think life is good. Suffice to say, I never speak or wear any assistive hearing devices. I used to wear hearing aids but the sounds made the world spin, and I hated the distraction. I do not have to “hear” to be successful. I am concerned about the skewed picture that some speech therapists, educators and audiologists paint about life without speech skills. Deaf culture allows me to be completely myself. My native expressive and beautiful American Sign Language is not a language of last resort. The Deaf community affirms my being and identity. My healthy identity allows me to engage with both Deaf and hearing people with ease. Just like any other culture, the Deaf culture exists because people share a language, common beliefs and goals.

based company, ThoughtMatrix. I work with both Deaf and sign-impaired (i.e., hearing) co-workers. The sign-impaired co-workers and the Deaf employees all communicate via Instant Messaging such as AOL AIM, Yahoo!, and Skype. They use this mode of communication among each other, so the playing field is level for everybody. When we have phone conversations, I use the Video Relay Service. As for staff meetings and social events, ThoughtMatrix hires an ASL interpreter to allow us to participate on equal footing. I realize most companies are not willing to set aside finances for accessibility. I feel fortunate to be employed by a company sensitive to accessibility needs.

WORKING I’ve been involved with several successful start-ups as a programmer and am currently employed with the San FranciscoChad and Tara



LIFE IS GOOD Job opportunities abound through my own personal network and the international Deaf community network. It is often true, “It’s not what you know. It’s who you know.” However I would never compromise myself by accepting a job or interviewing for a company that is not sensitive to equality for all. If an employer doesn’t have an accessibility budget due to being a bootstrapping start-up or small company, there are free or low-cost options to provide accommodation via free video relay services and video remote interpreting, which charges by the minute.

Interpreters are always available. When I need to make phone calls I use free video relay services. Of course, access can always be improved. We have to constantly challenge ourselves to create better solutions.



Fortunately a lot of online videos are captioned (Lynda.com, Netflix, TED talks), however there are a lot that are not. The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) exists for this reason: to fight for our civil rights. They’re making progress and bills are being passed in the Senate to require captions for online videos. Netflix offers captions on all their movies because of NAD. Google has launched voice-to-text translations and although it’s not perfect. There are many venues to receive news and information. For example, Stack Overflow is my go-to programmer’s tool. I post a problem and within 5 minutes, I get answers.

I do not resent hearing people. I love my hearing family members. I appreciate my parent’s decision to send me to a Deaf school where I was educated using sign language. My family learned sign to communicate with me, and they are now able to communicate with my wife and sons.

Tara, Chad, Thoreau and Pax

My sons, Pax, 6, and Thoreau, 1, are also Deaf. My wife, Tara, and I do not argue on “how to raise them based on their hearing loss.” Our parenting is based on the basic principles of equality, respect, and self-esteem. We hope for them to turn into


LIFE IS GOOD curious and engaged citizens of the world. We hope to raise them with healthy identities in order to challenge all systems of discrimination and oppression. They often teach me important life lessons. FINAL WORDS There are a thousand and one ways of being. “Deafness” is a clinical concept, a -‘ness’; it implies absence, a lack of something, an inferior state. Its logic is devastating and easy to fall for. I am culturally Deaf, wherein I gain identity and a unique window to the world. Of course I do experience miscommunications.

Many faces of Pax


However, I choose not to perceive them as negative. These incidents and the gesturing I sometimes resort to, are often opportunities for humor and bonding. If one views being not able to hear as a s ignificant disadvantage, it is because they choose to perceive it that way. I have always thought being Deaf is beautiful in the same way hearing people think music is beautiful. How you live your life, regardless of whether you identify yourself as Deaf or not, are about the choices you make. Positive thinking enables amazing things. I love the quote by Henry Ford: “Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right.”

DiPaola Family

Meet a CSD High School Family CSD is proud to release a video of our high school student and her family. As a Freshman at CSD, Rebecca DiPaola is thriving with a strong foundation of academic and athletic success. Her hearing parents, who chose to raise her bilingually, ASL and English, share their experi­ence raising Rebecca. Even her younger brother, also hearing, shares how he learned ASL as his first language.


We can talk about what she’s going to wear or more in-depth things that she wants to talk about. That’s why I think it’s so important to me that I sign with her. I’m able to share and have a really strong relationship with her. All the fears and worries that I had in the past are just, you know, not a problem now.


I’ve always been a coach and one of the things I envisioned, for when I had kids, was that I was going to coach them in their youth sports. So, one of the reasons I really wanted to learn American Sign Lan­guage was so I can coach Rebecca when she grew up. So we have been together as a team out on the softball field for seven years. I know a lot of other coaches are jealous because we can have full conversations during the games.


When I was younger, my sister taught me Ameri­can Sign Language. It was my first language. I would be able to sign with her on long car trips.

I feel like I have a normal relationship with her be­cause I know how to sign with her and I can interact with her.


I am so happy! I feel included by being informed of what is happening… I am so happy. I think that all hearing parents with Deaf babies or children should com­municate in American Sign Language. By doing that, there will be happier families with no or less language barriers.

To view the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDY3HhonxdE

To learn more about how to give your Deaf child the gift of American Sign Language, contact our Early Intervention Educational Consultant, Laura T. Petersen at 510-344-6191 (VP), 510-794-3751, Email: ltpetersen@csdf-cde.ca.gov


CHP & CSD Campaign

DON’T TEXT AND DRIVE California School for the Deaf Teens join CHP Campaign

Connor Baer, Senior and Brianna Dike, Sophomore

California Highway Patrol partnered with California School for the Deaf in Fremont (CSD) to create a powerful Don’t Text and Drive video. The purpose of this Public Service Announcement (PSA) is to increase awareness among young drivers, Deaf and hearing, that texting, internet surfing or emailing on mobile devices while driving is extremely dangerous. According to AAA’s survey of teen drivers, 46 percent of teens text and 51 percent talk on cell phones while driving. CHP Officer Jeremy Wayland and his film crew worked with CSD students, including Brianna Dike and Connor Baer to create this powerful PSA. “It was such a wonderful experience to work with the California School for the Deaf on this project. It doesn’t matter if someone is Deaf or hearing, the message is universal; distracted driving can kill. We value partnerships like this as instrumental in our efforts to educate the public and save lives. Our hope is that this public service announcement is seen and shared by as many people as possible. If we succeed in saving even one life, we’ve done our job”, said Officer Wayland.


This PSA truly opened the actors’ eyes to the dangers of texting while operating a vehicle. “The filming experience made the tragic result of texting and driving seem so real that it gave me goose bumps. I want to tell the world to stop texting and driving to prevent accidents and deaths,” said Brianna. Connor, also deeply impacted, said, “It made me realize that you could lose your loved ones instantly with an unfinished sentence. It is not worth it.” AAA also reports that car and traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for people ages 15 to 20. The biggest influence of how teens drive is their parents. Almost two-thirds of high school teens say their parents talk on a cell phone while driving. Everyone can easily make a difference by refusing to text while driving to helps make the streets a safer place for every infant, child, teen and adult. See the PSA at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSL-Pt6pnuk. For more information: http://www.itcanwait.com/.

Connor Baer, acting for the film.

TEENS FASHION What do CSD Teens Trot in?


TEENS FASHION If Girls’ Shoes could talk, what would They say...






Brian Brian Berry-Berlinski Berlinski-Berry

We Chose A Different Path for Our Deaf Children


ow did two parents, one hearing and one mainstreamed Deaf graduate, decide to enroll their three Deaf children in a State Deaf school? My partner, Michael, grew up with almost zero exposure to Deaf education and the Deaf community. Even after teaching a theatre class which included some Deaf students for two years, there was much about Deaf education that he was not aware of. I have been Deaf almost all my life since I contracted spinal meningitis at the age of 2. Shortly after my parents received the audiogram that identified me as a Deaf child, my parents signed up for sign language lessons, and I attended speech therapy. I was outfitted with hearing aids, which I used everyday at school and home. I was blessed with an incredibly loving family

who did their best to meet my emotional and educational needs. The abrupt transition from being hearing to being Deaf was the first major adjustment I made in my life. The second came when my mother died from cancer when I was three years old. I was devastated and confused. My mother was the primary communicator in the family, taking sign language classes while my father worked. When she died, I lost the person in my family who had the most availability to bridge my family together through sign language. In my early years of elementary school, I attended public school without a sign language interpreter. Even with my hearing aids, I did not catch most of the auditory information in the classroom. My hearing aids did not change the fact that I was Deaf and primarily received information visually. During recess, I played with my classmates without knowing some of their names, without understanding what they were saying to me.


Background L-R: Brian & Michael. Foreground from L-R: Juan, Mario & Zenaida

he mainstream setting was “good enough” until 5th grade, when friends suddenly became more important to me. It was a struggle for me to feel connected in a classroom full of hearing peers. I started the year by missing a lot of information in class, and my teacher informed my father that I had been missing homework assignments and failing to turn in book reports. When my father requested that the school provide a sign language interpreter, his request was denied. “Brian can hear well enough,” was their argument, “he can function well enough to get by.” My father was furious, because he knew that “good enough to get by” wasn’t fair to me. Fortunately, I had


OUR PATH a father who understood the value of the kind of language-rich environment that was necessary for my academic advancement. After a lengthy legal battle with the school board, my father and I won the case. I became the first Deaf child in the history of my school district to have sign language interpreting services in the classroom. With sign language as my primary mode of receiving instruction, my grades soared. In sixth grade, I received the highest math score that my teacher had ever given a student in her 20-plus years of teaching. In 7th grade I became valedictorian; in 8th grade I was salutatorian. In high school, I graduated 19th out of a class of 586 students, all hearing except for me. It was proof that I performed much better academically with access to information through sign language. In the summer before my senior year at high school, my life changed in a totally new way. I attended a two-week career exploration camp at National Technical Institute for the Deaf in Rochester. It was the first time I was in an environment with other Deaf teenagers like me. Some were from mainstreams program like mine, and others were enrolled at schools for the Deaf. For the first time in my life, I met many Deaf adults from diverse backgrounds, holding a variety of leadership positions. It was like having horse blinders stripped from my view; I could now see a multitude of possibilities for my future. There were others like me.


ast-forward 12 years to me at age 30, my partner and I just had a commitment ceremony in Hawaii, and we were ready to start out family through adoption. Through a miracle, we met our three Deaf children, who at the time were ages 3, 4, and 6 years, and they were in foster care. At our first meeting, we were in awe with their personalities, and we felt intuitively it


O would be the right decision to pursue adoption. After a year and half of being their foster parents, we then finalized their adoption paperwork, and we became an official family, a forever Family.


here was no question which school they would attend. While enrolled at the California School for Zenaida, 3rd grade the Deaf (CSD) in Fremont, we saw their language skills blossom. They started hardly saying anything in the beginning of the school year, to having fully detailed conversations with varied sentence structures in American Sign Language (ASL) by the end of the school year. Surrounded by Deaf peers, their confidence soared as they made new friends with whom they could converse without missing information. Now, my daughter and sons can tell me the names of almost every student in their entire elementary school. My partner and I watched them thrive in a language-rich environment that provided a wealth of opportunities for optimal learning. Seeing how my children were thriving brought me back to my own school experience. Even though I excelled academically in my school years, I was quietly miserable. I had no friends with whom I could communicate effortlessly. I also grew up with no Deaf role models to look up to. I had no exposure to formal ASL, no awareness of Deaf studies, and no connections

OUR PATH to the Deaf community in my area. I didn’t want my children to go through the emotional turmoil, cultural ignorance and identity confusion I endured during my formative years. I look into the eyes of my beautiful Deaf children and I see whole beings-young minds with a healthy inquisitive nature, a clear sense of Deaf cultural identity, and confidence in their communication abilities. My kids are fortunate to have incredible teachers who specialized in Deaf education and school counselors who specialized in Deaf counseling. They are my children’s role models and they intimately understand my children’s. I want my children to have what I didn’t have and that is happening here at CSD. Many hearing people subscribe to the myth that graduates of schools for the Deaf are completely unprepared for life in the hearing world. This is ironic to me because I am familiar with two different schools for the Deaf, one in Fremont, California, and the other in Rochester, New York, and both have excellent Work Readiness Program that are specifically tailored to train Deaf graduates to become successful in their careers. High school students at the California School for the Deaf regularly meet with Deaf professionals and ask them practical questions about their experiences working with other hearing professionals. This is something I didn’t have growing up.

conversations with my hearing colleagues and clients. My children also place their own orders at restaurants and cafes using written English, and sometimes sign with waiters who know American Sign Language. This is something I didn’t have growing up.


aving personally witnessed my Deaf friends who graduated from California School for the Deaf excel in their college education and careers, I can envision what the future will be like for my Deaf children. They will graduate with academic skills and experience a variety of vocational fields. They will graduate with the awareness that Deaf people can go to college and find employment as doctors, lawyers, veterinarians, computer technicians, corporate managers, school superintendents, and political consultants. This is also something I didn’t have growing up.


utside of school, I have taught my children how to use ASL interpreters in medical settings, workshops, theatre productions, athletic events, and so forth. They also see me using Video Relay Services to have in-depth phone Mario, age 6; Zenaida, age 8 & Juan, age 7.


continue from OUR PATH


s parents of Deaf children, it is our hearts’ desires to raise our children in a language-rich environment, ASL and English, and to enroll our children in a school that specializes in the best practices for teaching Deaf children. Moreover, we cherish the immense value that our children get from being part of a close-knit community that promotes Deaf children’s journey of self-actualization as whole human beings. It moves our hearts to see our children grow up with a strong Deaf cultural identity in harmony with their other cultural identities. When choosing between what is “good enough” for our children to “get by” and what provides the greatest quantity and best quality of opportunities, it is an easy choice.


Benefits of growing up as ASL-English Bilinguals ASL-English bilinguals: 1.

Have a larger vocabularies at a younger age, and that sign-fluent deaf children with more ASL proficiency use-more English words in their writing than Deaf students who have lower ASL proficiency;

2. Are more prepared for school because of world knowledge (also known as incidental knowledge) and vocabulary; 3. Know where to look and learn; 4. Achieve milestones in language development in ASL on par with spoken language; 5.

Have brains that are flexible and efficient because bilinguals use their brain’s natural and inborn capacity for languages and learning; in fact, studies show that early-exposed bilinguals use neural tissue to the fullest extent and in contrast, monolingual brains appear to be on a “diet”;


Are ready to write letters from the alphabet earlier because of early fingerspelling and sign language experience; fingerspelling is an important bridge between ASL and English;


Rely on proficiency from ASL and fingerspelling to develop literacy in English; the brain treats spoken and signed languages the same; what is important is the deaf child’s access to rhythmic temporal bundles of language;

8. Read, sometimes faster and more accurately than their hearing classmates, as seen by studies of Deaf adults; 9. And yes, early exposure to sign language does help support the development of spoken language and reading; 10. Are happier because they are a part of the family’s daily life and are aware of what is going on around them. http://vl2parentspackage.org/ Juan, 1st grade


LANGUAGE DEPRIVATION Groundbreaking Research Article on How to End the Epidemic of Language Deprived Deaf Children Harm Reduction Journal published a groundbreaking article about the importance of signed language acquisition for Deaf children, “Reducing the harms of zero tolerance to the use of alternative approaches-The lack of awareness of medical professionals that sign language gives Deaf children clear and total access to a human language is a source of great harm to many Deaf children�. Researchers who wrote the article include Tom Humphries, Poorna Kushalnagar, are Mathur, Donna Jo Napoli, Carol Padden, Christian Rathmann and Scott R. Smith. www.harmreductionjournal.com/content/9/1/16

During the past 25 years, cochlear implantation has evolved into a standard of care, so much so that in developed countries around 80% of Deaf children are implanted, and in some places the figure is even higher. As a result of this medical practice, the harm addressed in this article has already been experienced by a significant number of children. Most of these children experience harm not only because they do not have success with the cochlear implant, but because they are also not provided with exposure to sign language. Over forty years of research on linguistic and psycholinguistic aspects of sign languages demonstrate that they are human languages acquired and used in the same ways as spoken languages with all the requisite grammatical properties. The lack of awareness of medical professionals that sign language gives Deaf children clear and total access to a human language acquisition foundation is a source of great harm to many deaf children.

The article included several remedies that the medical profession can enact by making sign language available and by adjusting cochlear implantation expectations:

1. Recommend Sign Language a) The medical profession must protect the health of Deaf children by setting a foundational goal of prevention of linguistic deprivation, which can be achieved via sign language. All children need and deserve an accessible language. This is a biological need. b) Deaf children need to be given an opportunity to interact with other Deaf peers (i.e. signing children) during their childhood. This ensures that they develop social and communicative abilities. c) For expanded professional and social opportunities, the medical profession can and should also recommend training in spoken language skills. However, such recommendations should never exclude sign language because sign language prevents linguistic deprivation. This is a reliable and implementable remedy to reduce the risk and the harm of linguistic deprivation. d) The cochlear implant team must protect the implanted child by demonstrating ways that the family can raise the child with sign language. They should direct the family to sign language classes if the family has not already done this, and to support services that will help introduce the family to the Deaf community. e) The medical professionals should require continued sign language exposure, both regular and frequent, through the elementary school years to help ensure that Deaf children will have good


LANGUAGE DEPRIVATION language skills regardless of their success with the cochlear implantation.

However, the technology of cochlear implants is not comparable to the technology of computers.

f) Sign language skills are essential in successful use of interpreters in educational, professional and social settings, especially those requiring communication in large and complex interactions (such as a public presentation).

c) Cochlear implants involves a biological interface between technology and the human brain. This means we must find the right way to encode and deliver interpretable information to the brain and find the right way to train the brain to decode and interpret that information. This is not easy.

g) The medical professionals should understand and help the family understand that using a sign language is not an inferior method of communication, but that sign languages are complex, expressive languages in which any matter can be communicated, no matter how technical or nuanced. h) In order to give knowledgeable advice in this regard, schools and continuing education programs for health professionals should include courses on language acquisition for deaf children as well as the status of sign language as a natural language and Deaf communities as rich in culture and history which a family can look forward to exploring. i) The traditional deference to parental autonomy needs to be mitigated when parents’ knowledge about language acquisition in deaf children is not sufficient to make well-informed health decisions for their deaf children. Note: Wealth of information about the benefits of sign language can be found at VL2.Gallaudet.Edu

2. Adjust Expectations from Cochlear Implants a) Unrealistic optimism strongly affects the scene of hearing loss today. We are inclined to view any new technology as an advance in leaps and bounds, so we think cochlear implants will soon effectively bring “hearing” to implanted people. Unfortunately, this optimism is not only unfounded, it is also unrealistic. b) The computers have gone from gigantic mechanisms with limited power to miniscule mechanisms with awe-inspiring power.


d) Hearing aids have been around much longer than cochlear implants; although hearing aid technology has improved vastly, there are still problematic challenges. e) Cochlear implants have been implanted in adults with the US Food and Drug Administration approval since 1972 and in children starting in 1985 with clinical trials. Studies are not reporting substantial increases in success rates, especially in language development. The real challenge is the interface of brain and technology. f) Medical professionals must begin to expect this particular road - the cochlear implant road - to be a long, hard journey, and they should not mislead families with the false impression that technology today has advanced to the point where spoken language is easily and rapidly accessed by implanted children. g) Once the professionals understand expectations for language acquisition and technology, parents will then better understand why they need to give their Deaf children sign language and they will then be more able to work with medical recommendations to that effect.

Note: “Hearing... but not as you know it” A Deaf teen from U.K. describes what it is like to live to cochlear implants as a world of synthetic sounds: http://youtu.be/icPsm9RnO2E

by Rory Osbrink

Ted Talk Review “Love, No Matter What” Recently I viewed Andrew Solomon’s presentation on TEDmed titled “Love, No Matter What”. Solomon, published the bestseller “Far from the Tree” based on interviews he did with parents who raised children that are different from them (Deaf, mentally challenged, little person, prodigy, criminal, etc.) He discusses the subject in depth and appeals mostly to parents. A poignant moment for me in this TEDmed talk came when he quoted Jim Sinclair, a prominent autism activist …

echoes throughout his talk, “Love, no matter what”. This goes beyond just loving your child to embracing their extraordinary and different gifts to humanity. In recognizing the advancement of science, we can eliminate or come close to eliminating many of these extraordinary gifts… then what are we left with? Is that a future we wish upon our children? www.ted.com/talks/andrew_solomon_love_no_matter_what.html

“When parents say ‘I wish my child did not have autism,’ what they’re really saying is ‘I wish the child I have did not exist and I had a different, non-autistic child instead.’ Read that again. This is what we hear when you pray for a cure–that your fondest wish for us is that someday we will cease to be and strangers you can love will move in behind our faces.” It’s a very extreme point of view, but it points to the reality that people engage with the life they have and they don’t want to be cured or changed or eliminated. They want to be whoever it is that they’ve come to be.”

This is a very crucial point for hearing parents of a Deaf children, who are negotiating between two cultures: hearing and Deaf. These Deaf children deserve to learn, understand, and discover what they want to be. What they need is what Solomon

Andrew Solomon, author of “Far from the Tree”


Switched at Birth

“Not Hearing Loss, Deaf Gain” Academy Award-winning actress Marlee Matlin’s most talked about segment on ABC Family’s show, “Switched at Birth”, is her role as a teacher named Melody challenging her Deaf students to shift their thinking from ‘hearing loss’ to ‘Deaf Gain’. This framing encouraged the students to embrace themselves as whole human beings. They also discussed that Deaf Gain means a language, a community and a culture. Here is the script of Melody’s dialogue with the students: Melody: I want to talk about language today. When a Deaf child is born, what is the first thing the parents hear in the hospital? Travis: Your child failed the hearing test. Melody: Right. A baby is five hours old and he’s failed something already? What about the term ‘hearing loss’? What does that word evoke? Natalie: Hearing as the norm. Deaf as less than. Lacking. Melody: Are we ‘less than’? Do you believe being Deaf has taken away or added to your life? If someone invented a pill… you could take it tonight and tomorrow you would wake up hearing… how many of you would take it? (students shake their heads) None of you would take it. Why not? Emmett: Because being Deaf gives you friends anywhere you go. Melody: That’s community. Travis: And a way of seeing the world that’s different from anyone else. Melody: That’s perspective. Student in class: Hearing kids don’t know who they are. We do. We’re Deaf; first, last, always.


Academy-award actress, Marlee Matlin, plays a role as teacher Melody

Melody: Identity. Natalie: Hearing people think they have more than us…their lives are better, we have it so ‘hard’. But I’d never give up being Deaf to be just like everyone else. Never. Melody: It is not hearing loss. It is Deaf Gain.

Deaf Gain is defined as “a reframing of ‘Deaf ’ as a form of sensory and cognitive diversity that has the potential to contribute to the greater good of humanity.” For more information about Deaf gain, read “Reframing: From Hearing Loss to Deaf Gain by Dirksen L. Bauman and Joseph J. Murray. Video clip of Melody’s Deaf Gain dialogue scene: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5W604uSkrk


TEEN SERVICES EDUCATION ADVOCACY AND DEAF ROLE MODELS/MENTORS Looking for good educational programs in Northern California? NorCal offers educational advocacy to help you decide what kind of services your Deaf teen may need in order to be successful in his/her educational program. Want to meet DHH adult role models/mentors in your area? NorCal can help you find people that would be willing to meet with you and your family. The Deaf role model can be a mentor to your teen and provide moral support as he/she gets older and closer to graduation. DRIVER’S EDUCATION, LEADERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES, AND CAMPING FUN Need assistance on preparing for the DMV written test? We can help! Group and individual training sessions in ASL are offered. Leaders are made in the Deaf community when they are exposed to positive Deaf role models and mentors. When future leaders are introduced to Deaf adults at a young age, they learn about the Deaf adult’s journey as a deaf person in the hearing world and how to be successful. In addition, students learn how to be leaders through interaction with others, team building exercises, problem

solving techniques as well as learn the art of communication. Students also can apply to be Counselors in Training (CIT’s) and learn how to work with younger campers and gain valuable work skills. All of this is taught at NorCal’s Camp Grizzly Youth Leadership Camp program which is held every summer. Also, Camp Grizzly hosts family friendly activities throughout the year in the Sacramento area. OUTREACH TO DEAF TEENS Outreach to local high school students is an important goal of NorCal. Staff go out to the schools and provide information on dating violence, healthy relationships, drug and alcohol prevention, interpersonal communication, and many important topics. Group discussions, peer counseling, and team exercises are conducted. Videos are also shown. “REAL WORLD” EVENTS What to do after high school? NorCal has coordinated “Real World” events at a local high school for all Sacramento Valley students gather together to learn about college and job training and placement resources as well as get a taste of what “real” world is like when living on their own. Interactive activities, presentations, panels, and booths are

part of the event. Teens also meet new friends. ASL CLASSES FOR FAMILIES Want to improve your ASL communication at home? Contact NorCal to inquire about community ASL classes and get your name on the email list. This is also a great way to network with other parents and family members and develop support and friendship. NorCal would love to hear from you about any ideas or feedback on what you would like to see for Deaf teens! WHO WE ARE NorCal Services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing is a community based social services and advocacy agency of, by and for deaf and hard of hearing individuals. We serve 24 northeastern California counties from Stanislaus to the border of Oregon and have four offices. Contact us for the nearest office location or to set up an appointment for services. We’re here to make a difference. NorCal Services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing 4708 Roseville Road, Suite 111 North Highlands, CA 95660 (916) 349-7500 V/TTY (916) 993-3048 VP Email: info@norcalcenter.org



TEEN SERVICES Bay Area Services

LEARNING SELF-ADVOCACY As parents or guardians of teens, especially Deaf/hard of hearing teens, one of the best life lessons you can pass on is how to self-advocate. It is natural for parents and guardians to do the advocating for their children, which is part of being a parent/ guardian. The important thing is to make sure your teens also learn how to do the same for themselves, as they will need to do this during all stages of their lives. It is similar to the teach-aman-to-fish-he-will-eat-for-life proverb: teach your child how to advocate, they will self-advocate for life. As they gain competence in strategies of self-advocacy, they will be able to participate with confidence in situations where they need to advocate themselves. Below are some tips to on how to teach your teen self-advocacy skills. ASSESSING THE SITUATION Before the teens can advocate for themselves, they need to know what to advocate for. Discuss with them what kind of situations they may face where they will need to ask for support or access, like turning on the captions when the


teacher shows a film in class or someone to alert them when it is time to board the plane if they are traveling alone, or even educating others about accessibility. They will know exactly what to ask for once they understand what their needs are and how to advocate for it.

showing them how to make an appointment at their doctor’s office including using the video relay services to make the call and requesting for an ASL interpreter to be present at the appointment.

ROLE MODELING Be a role model and let them see how you advocate for yourself. Children often imitate what they see their parents or guardians do. It can be as simple as showing them how you ask for assistance at a grocery store. Be sure to explain to your teen what you are doing, including how you will ask the question so that the teen can get an idea of what kind of questions to ask.

TAKING THE LEAD Empower your teen to do the talking/questioning whenever possible. When you go to a restaurant, have the teen tell the server what they want instead of having you order for them. More parents are discovering that their children can participate at their own IEP meetings, which is a great learning opportunity. They know what works and what does not work for them in classrooms, extracurricular activities, and with their teachers, counselors and peers.

ROLE-PLAYING Role-play with them. Role playing is one of the best ways to practice real-life scenarios before encountering them. Teachers and counselors do it with teens often at school to help them develop and sharpen their communication skills. One idea to help them practice is by

DISCUSSING RIGHTS, LAWS AND RESOURCES FOR DEAF PEOPLE Discuss with your teen what their rights are and what laws are out there to protect them. ADA is an important law for them to learn and understand. Get to know different agencies and organizations out there, like


Deaf Counseling, Advocacy and Referral Agency (DCARA) and California Association for the Deaf (CAD), and introduce your teen to them. Most agencies and organizations are happy to give a tour of their services and site, which can open doors for volunteer and internship opportunities. GRADUATING THIS YEAR? JOIN DCARA’s GRADFEST! In May, Deaf Counseling, Advocacy and Referral Agency (DCARA) hosted their annual GradFest event for Class of 2013 D/HH high school seniors. The theme of the event was “Roadtrip” and the students were inspired with stories and tips about embarking on a new journey into adulthood after graduation. They were entertained by a successful deaf business owner, Russ Stein, who acted as the Master of Ceremonies, and special guests Antoine Hunter and Shira Grabelsky, who each gave incredible performances showcasing their hard-worked skills. They also got a chance to visit different informational booths and learn more about products and services that will benefit them, such as video relay services (VRS), employment services, and California Association for the Deaf (CAD). Delicious picnic-style food was catered by Waterfront Deli and the students enjoyed having their pictures taken using different costumes and props at the photobooth corner. DCARA looks forward to seeing Class of 2014 at the next GradFest! Contact us at Info@DCARA.org to RSVP or to get more information.

DCARA’s mission is to promote self-determination, independence, and celebration of American Sign Language among a diverse Deaf community, regardless of their communication background, through its services and programs.” In order to accomplish this, DCARA provides its clients and communities with the resources, access and counseling services they need to make independent decisions in a variety of situations. In addition, DCARA provides the hearing community with information about the Deaf community and working and living with persons who are Deaf, Deaf-blind, Deafened and hard of hearing, as well as collaborating with other agencies to ensure that their services are more accessible to population that DCARA serves.

DCARA Headquarters 14895 East 14th Street, Suite 200 San Leandro, CA 94578-2926 (510) 343-6670 VP & Toll Free Voice (877) 322-7288 Toll Free TTY (510) 483-1790 Fax info@dcara.org www.dcara.org



CENTRAL CALIFORNIA SERVICES FOR DEAF TEENS OPENING DOORS TO BETTER FUTURES Imagine there is a room that you want to get inside, because you know there is something fantastic just waiting for you to claim it. You approach the door to this room, and you find it locked. You peek through the crack under the door and you can make out just a hint of what waits inside: A future that you want for yourself. This is a future that will be different for each person who peeks under the door, but for each person there is a common quality: It is possible. You only need to have the right key to open the door. DHHSC Deaf and Hard of Hearing Service Center (DHHSC) knows that the key is communication. Communication at its best, with complete understanding between two parties, is the access that is needed to unlock that door. Unlock the door, open it, and your better future awaits. We know that families with Deaf and hard of hearing children, including teens, truly do want the best for their kids. In spite of this desire that is shared, many families still lack this powerful communication key that would help them thrive. Deaf and hard of hearing kids and teens cannot wait for the future to happen before being provided with this kind of access to communication and information that any of us need to succeed in life. It is needed now, right now, to unlock that door. It is to this goal that DHHSC has created two specific programs to support Deaf and hard of hearing youth, ROCK and YES! We offer these programs, free of


charge, as a measure of our shared hope to contribute toward these futures that we believe all deserve. THE ROCK PROGRAM The ROCK program, which stands for Reaching Out and Communicating with our Kids, is for families with Deaf and hard of hearing children of all ages. Our staff is gladly willing and able to meet with families, including in their homes, to provide communication-building sessions. This service focuses on teaching parents ASL with their kids present, if possible, so that immediate use of ASL can be regularly put into practice. It is not enough to learn how to communicate; forgetting what one has learned is likely to occur if one does not take the time and energy to put the skills into practice. With our Client Service Specialists, families are guided step-bystep through this process. THE YES! PROGRAM The YES! program, which stands for Youth Employment Services, is for Deaf and hard of hearing middle school and high school students. We provide regular sessions, often within the school environment, that are geared toward adding more preparation for future employment. Our goal is to encourage our deaf youth to really dream about what careers they want to seek, and then we can show how it is possible. Sessions also include practical lessons on how to find jobs, create resumes, seek higher education to support their goals, and more. We believe

TEEN SERVICES Deaf and hard of hearing youth need to say “YES! I can” to their dreams, rather than feel limited. ANNUAL JOB AWARENESS FAIR To further our purpose for the YES! program, we have been hosting an annual Job Awareness Fair in our Fresno Headquarters, that is open to all deaf or hard of hearing students, regardless of where they live. This event features booths facilitated by deaf and hard of hearing individuals who work in a variety of professions. Students who attend are provided with opportunities to ask questions about each of these careers, and get answers that may inspire them to pursue a new career dream. For any family within the Fresno, Monterey, San Benito, Tulare, Kings, Merced, Madera, and Mariposa Counties that has a Deaf or hard of hearing child or teen, our agency stands ready and hopeful to serve you. Let us work together to unlock those doors.

Fresno: 5340 N. Fresno Street, Fresno, CA 93710 (559) 225-3323 V • (559) 225-0415 TTY (559) 225-0116 FAX • info@dhhsc.org Visalia: 2333 W. Whitendale Ave, Ste. B, Visalia, CA 93277 (559) 225-3323 V • (559) 334-0137 TTY (559) 225-0116 FAX • svoinfo@dhhsc.org Salinas: 339 Pajaro Street, Suite B, Salinas, CA 93901 (831) 753-6540 V • (831) 753-6541 TTY (831) 753-6542 FAX • ccinfo@dhhsc.org Merced: 626 18th Street, Merced, CA 95340 (209) 726-7783 V • (209) 726-7786 TTY 209) 726-7717 FAX • minfo@dhhsc.org www.dhhsc.org

Job Awareness Fair



CSD’s New Logo created by CSD student

Tirzah Farley, age 18, Senior Aspiration: Artist and Film Director When I designed the logo for CSD’s motto, “Learn, Experience, Thrive”, I was so honored my design was voted as the best one by the CSD community. Now the logo can be seen everywhere on campus and on the internet. Because of this opportunity, other schools have already contacted me and asked me to design their school logos. This opportunity also led to other opportunities off campus. It is an amazing experience which gave me a head start with my career to become an artist and film director. After graduating from CSD, I will attend California State University, Northridge.


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THRIVE Magazine - Deaf Teens  

THRIVE - Deaf Teens California School for the Deaf (CSD) launches its first issue of THRIVE magazine which reflects the school's motto, Le...

THRIVE Magazine - Deaf Teens  

THRIVE - Deaf Teens California School for the Deaf (CSD) launches its first issue of THRIVE magazine which reflects the school's motto, Le...

Profile for csdthrive

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