A few questions

Valerie Sutton sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG
Fri Jul 11 02:05:28 UTC 2003

On Thursday, July 10, 2003, at 01:36 PM, Robin K wrote:
> My name is Robin, I am currently a student at the University 
> of Arizona in Tucson, AZ, USA.  I am working on a B.S. in Deaf 
> Studies/ Interpreting and M.A. in Teaching the Deaf and hard of 
> hearing.   As an assignment for an ASL class, I am doing a research
> paper on signwriting.  I have a few questions that i have not been 
> able to find the answers to, so I thought I would try and write 
> you. the questions that I need answered are:
> 1.  What support is given to caregivers to learn Sign Writing?
> 2.  What support is given if the parents don't speak English?
> 3. At what age is Sign Writing introduced?
> 4. What percentage of the staff that use Sign Writing are Deaf /Hard 
> of Hearing?
> 5.  Is sign writing used in post secondary education, if so 
> how prevalent is it?
> Thank you  
> -Robin Kuenning

SignWriting List
July 10, 2003

Hello Robin, and welcome to the SignWriting List.... Thanks for your 
questions. Let's start with the first one:

 >1.  What support is given to caregivers to learn Sign Writing?

I think the word "caregiver" is an interesting choice. Of course 
parents are always caregivers for their children, but for some reason I 
connect that word with being an invalid, or someone that is helpless, 
and needs help...Except for the multiply-handicapped deaf, most deaf 
people are really not handicapped - they simply can't hear and probably 
use a language that is different than most hearing people - Other than 
that, they are just like you and me, and are oftentimes better at 
sports than I am, I assure you!

So the hearing people who live with deaf people do need to learn to 
sign, if they want to have a meaningful relationship with the deaf 
person in their family - and for some families that is not so easy, 
where other families learn to sign well...

If the family already knows how to sign, then the whole family can 
choose to learn SignWriting if they wish. SignWriting is a writing 
system for any signed language...so they would be learning to write the 
signs they already know. And if the family is learning signs, they can 
remember signs better, when they write them down as they are learning 

SignWriting is a broad subject. On one hand, it has nothing to do with 
education...it is simply a way to write and preserve a series of 
languages. On the other hand, there is an educational movement behind 
it...Teachers who use SignWriting believe it is a positive step, to 
give the deaf child a written form for both the signed and spoken 
languages in the child's life...so SignWriting places signing on an 
equal level with speaking, since both have a written form...

Around the world, in different countries, teachers and students use 
SignWriting differently. Here in the US, we started a program called 
"The SignWriting Literacy Project" in 1998. Teachers would apply with a 
letter from their school administrator and then our non-profit 
organization would donate SignWriting materials to classrooms with deaf 
children, with the understanding that the teachers would in turn give 
us feedback on the SignWriting List. One of the successful projects is 
the Albuquerque SignWriting Literacy Project, that continues today 
under the direction of Dr. Cecilia Flood...So any classroom that is 
participating in our SignWriting Literacy Projects gets full technical 
support from me personally, and also on the SignWriting List, plus 
donated materials. I have also donated to two families with Deaf 
children who were homeschooling...You can read about these projects on 
the web. Go to:

SignWriting Teachers Forum

So if you know of a teacher of deaf students, who would like to 
participate in the SW Literacy Project, please let us know...

I will answer your other questions tomorrow - Hope that is soon enough 

Val ;-)

Valerie Sutton
Sutton at SignWriting.org

1. SignWritingSite
Read & Write Sign Languages

2. SignBankSite
Sign Language Dictionaries

3. DanceWritingSite
Read & Write Dance

4. MovementWritingSite
Read & Write Movement & Gesture

5. Shop Online!
Proceeds Donated to Deaf Literacy

Deaf Action Committee for SignWriting
Center For Sutton Movement Writing
an educational nonprofit organization
Box 517, La Jolla, CA, 92038-0517, USA
tel: 858-456-0098....fax: 858-456-0020
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