Schools using SignWriting

Valerie Sutton signwriting at MAC.COM
Sun Jan 7 05:31:25 UTC 2007

SignWriting List
January 6, 2007

James - Thank you for this description of your work, both in  
Nicaragua and in Maine...quite impressive and wow...Portland High  
School in Maine...congratulations!

You give such amazing support to your Deaf daughter...

I will share this email with my Dad and Mom, who follow your work and  
read all the information you send us...

Val ;-)


On Jan 6, 2007, at 9:06 PM, James Shepard-Kegl, Esq. wrote:

> Kelly Jo,
> SW is not taught to Deaf kids throughout Nicaragua.  The only place  
> that SW
> is used nowadays is in Bluefields.  I could not tell you the extent  
> that it
> is now used because I don't have a volunteer down there anymore.   
> Back when
> Nicaraguan Sign Language Projects (which my wife and I set up)  
> operated a
> school, SW was integral to the program and back then it was working  
> great.
> Kids loved it and we were churning out storybooks.  The school is  
> now run by
> the government, which means that SW is not officially part of the
> curriculum.  The local hearing teachers, because they see SW and  
> therefore
> appreciate it, continue to encourage children to learn the system  
> and the
> local Deaf teachers use it regularly.  But, as funding dwindles, so  
> does
> innovation.  (NSLP continues to produce reading material in SW for the
> school, but at too slow a rate.  And we cannot afford to distribute  
> copies
> to students anymore, either.)
> Ironically, teachers at Portland High School in Maine are taking a  
> real
> interest in SW because I adopted one of the Deaf students from  
> Bluefields
> and enrolled her in the mainstream program here.  I have been  
> translating
> her school assignments (which are in English, of course, and utterly
> unintelligible), so the teachers are quite impressed with the  
> results.  If I
> had a staff, funding and time, all these assignments could be  
> translated --
> might still take some years.  The reality is a good deal less, but I
> translate what I can, when I can.
> As for learning life skills, I regret that I do not really  
> understand your
> question. What kind of life skills does one need in a place devoid of
> interpreters and more or less devoid of employment opportunities  
> (other than
> foreign owned sweat shops -- Bluefields does not even have those.)
> Certain Deaf individuals in Bluefields have a better access to  
> certain kinds
> of information because they are literate and it is available.  The  
> best SW
> readers ultimately become the best Spanish readers, too.  That is  
> in part
> because through SW they are better able to learn Spanish, and in part
> because the students who achieved most in SW (mainly because we  
> devoted more
> time to them) are also the people most likely to have access to  
> email (and
> with it a motivation to use Spanish on a daily basis.)   
> Specifically, I am
> referring to the Deaf teachers who were initially our students.  As
> teachers, and signing role models, they have salaries and therefore  
> email
> access.
> You cannot compare programs in a Third World country with schools  
> in the
> U.S. or Canada, however.  The annual funds spent on one Deaf  
> student in the
> U.S. can exceed the annual budget for an entire school in Nicaragua.
> -- James
> on 1/6/07 9:06 PM, K.J. Boal at kjoanne403 at HOTMAIL.COM wrote:
>> Thanks James,
>> Do you have any information on how well the SW program is working in
>> Nicaragua?  Are the deaf students there learning life skills  
>> better than in
>> North America because of SW literacy?  What kind of feedback do  
>> you have?
>> Kelly Jo
>>> From: "James Shepard-Kegl, Esq." <kegl at MAINE.RR.COM>
>>> Reply-To: sw-l at
>>> To: sw-l at
>>> Subject: Re: [sw-l] Schools using SignWriting
>>> Date: Fri, 05 Jan 2007 23:52:11 -0500
>>> Kelly,
>>> While the schools here do not use SW, I can show you what we have  
>>> been
>>> using
>>> in Nicaragua -- as all our material is produced here in Portland,  
>>> Maine.
>>> -- James
>>> on 1/5/07 9:28 PM, K.J. Boal at kjoanne403 at HOTMAIL.COM wrote:
>>>> Hi List members (particularly in the US and Canada),
>>>> I'm about to start trying to advocate using SW in Deaf education  
>>>> here in
>>>> Alberta, and I'm wondering if I could visit some North American  
>>>> schools
>>> that
>>>> are already using it.  I'd like to see how it's being used, what
>>> educational
>>>> advantages have been noticed, things like that.  I'm planning to be
>>>> traveling in late March/early April, so I'd like to visit  
>>>> schools around
>>>> then too.  Anyone interested?
>>>> Thanks,
>>>> Kelly Jo Boal
>>>> _________________________________________________________________
>>>> Your opinion matters. Please tell us what you think and be  
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>>> a
>>>> draw for a grand prize of $500 or one of 20 $50 cash prizes.
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