Deaf Residential Schools in the US...

Charles Butler chazzer3332000 at YAHOO.COM
Mon Jan 8 11:41:44 UTC 2007

Just one quick comment.  In children who grow up truly bilingual, or a family which has some Deaf members and all know sign language, then the immersion process for a child is "natural language acquisition". Being surrounded every day by both languages, or, as an example, the barge children of Europe being surrounded by Belgique, French, and German every day is total immersion natural multiple language acquisition.  
  For a bilingual person, both langauges are fluent, neither is accented by the other, so the Portuguese for example, sounds native Portuguese, and the English does not carry over a Latino accent.  
  For children to "naturally learn to read" both languages they have to be immersed in both all the time, with books, toys, games, songs, everything to do with cultural acquisition, in an open environment.  Many children in Latino households in the U.S. do just that, they are immersed in English all day at school, and at home they are immersed in Spanish or Portuguese.  The children, not the parents who acquired the other language as a second language, think in both languages, switch vocabulary back and forth in both languages all the time.
  My nieces and nephews are like that, bilingual in Spanish and English, all the time, smoothly transitioning from one to the other.
  My observations, they may be anectodal, but I have a large family.
  Charles Butler

"James Shepard-Kegl, Esq." <kegl at MAINE.RR.COM> wrote:

It's all about RESPECT. Children should see from day one that their
teachers respect sign language as a language, and showing respect for the
written form is about that.

You might as well ask whether parents should read to their babies when the
infants are pre-lingual. (It's all in the rhythm; comprehension comes

I do not advocate stressing literacy skills to a child who does not yet have
first language skills, but I strongly advocate surrounding that child with
the written form of the language that is ACCESSIBLE to him as a first

And by the way, you don't "teach" first language to children. You create an
environment in which they can naturally acquire first language. (Not true
for second language, however.)

-- James

on 1/7/07 10:18 PM, K.J. Boal at kjoanne403 at HOTMAIL.COM wrote:

> One concern that has come up here in Alberta - brought up by the one teacher
> of the deaf (small "d" intentional) - is that there's no point in teaching
> SignWriting to the children she teaches because she has to teach them
> language first. I see her point... most of her kids really act more
> hard-of-hearing than Deaf and come from non-signing families. Is SW really
> useful to a kid that doesn't know Sign Language in the first place?
> KJ
>> From: "Stuart Thiessen" 
>> Reply-To: sw-l at
>> To: sw-l at
>> Subject: Re: [sw-l] Deaf Residential Schools in the US...
>> Date: Sun, 7 Jan 2007 00:20:11 -0600
>> Here in Iowa, we have tried to mention SignWriting to both our local
>> mainstream program and the state school for the Deaf. I say "mention"
>> because we are still trying to figure out the best plan for introducing it
>> to the schools. Part of the challenge is that they have pressure to achieve
>> English literacy. For many of them, ASL Literacy seems like they are going
>> in the wrong direction, so they don't want to "waste" their time. So part
>> of making SW attractive to them (and many others) involves having the
>> "proof" that ASL literacy will lead to English literacy. Even better would
>> be "proof" that ASL literacy will either lead to faster English literacy or
>> better English literacy than the various other programs available that do
>> not involve ASL literacy. Again, we would have to define what "proof"
>> means. What we might call "proof" might not be the same as they would call
>> "proof". So that is all part of the process too.
>> So, (in stating the obvious) I think this is one of the high priority
>> research items that SW advocates need to develop is something that shows
>> how SL literacy impacts spoken language literacy. I think some of that is
>> happening now just in the ancedotal evidence that has been mentioned on
>> this list, and certainly Dr. Flood's dissertation is another helpful
>> resource toward this question. Valerie's Literacy Project is another good
>> avenue. So some things are happening.
>> Now, I think all of us would agree that SL literacy is valuable on its own,
>> and I think eventually people are going to realize that. But in the
>> meantime, we will need to find ways to "dangle the carrot" and get their
>> interest. English literacy is certainly one that will grab the attention of
>> the educational community. Maybe we should brainstorm some other avenues
>> that can introduce SW into the schools, and maybe we can come up with some
>> other creative ideas.
>> I do agree that residential schools are a key part of the puzzle, but we
>> must include the mainstream programs as well because so many deaf children
>> graduate from mainstream programs. This actually might be a way to instill
>> some pride in having Deaf heritage, language, and culture for these
>> mainstream students.
>> Thanks,
>> Stuart
>> On Jan 6, 2007, at 23:27, Valerie Sutton wrote:
>>> SignWriting List
>>> January 6, 2006
>>> Now that Cherie and Donna, at the Georgia School for the Deaf, have
>>> initiated a SignWriting study, it is the first Residential School for the
>>> Deaf in the US to try least in one classroom...
>>> To explain, SignWriting is used in schools in the USA, such as Hodgin
>>> Elementary School in New Mexico, but Hodgin is not a Residential School
>>> for the is a Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing program inside a hearing
>>> school...mainstreamed I believe is the term...
>>> And perhaps Georgia School for the Deaf is not all residential either, but
>>> it is still a School for the Deaf. Generally there are two in each state
>>> in the have SignWriting used, even experimentally, at a
>>> School for the Deaf is very important, I think, for getting acceptance
>>> from the Deaf Community later...If Deaf schools (not just mainstreamed
>>> programs) accept SignWriting then we are reaching more of the Deaf
>>> Community...
>>> Do you agree with this, Stuart? If more Deaf Residential Schools adopted
>>> SignWriting it might gain more acceptance later? That is why it would be
>>> so great if we could encourage more residential schools I think...Val ;-)
>>> On Jan 6, 2007, at 8:06 PM, Stuart Thiessen wrote:
>>>> It has been my experience (and for understandable reasons) that hearing
>>>> advocates of SignWriting are often resisted. For example, one Deaf man I
>>>> met was very resistant when I mentioned SignWriting. He commented that he
>>>> had met these hearing people who tried to encourage him to use the
>>>> system. But then Philip and I talked with him and explained the system
>>>> Deaf to Deaf. It made a big difference for him to see Deaf people who
>>>> championed the system. So, with all due respect to hearing people (and to
>>>> Valerie who invented the system) and to all the other hearing people on
>>>> this list who are our valuable allies, I think that it pays to have Deaf
>>>> advocates lead the charge where possible. That way, the system cannot be
>>>> put down as a hearing-imposed system or some other such excuse. :)
>>>> Now, I by no means am saying, Kelly, that you shouldn't advocate for the
>>>> system. I just suggest that you try a different tack. Perhaps use it
>>>> around Deaf people until you identify Deaf people who are open to the
>>>> idea and curious enough to explore it more. As they become more
>>>> convinced, together as a team, work to convince other Deaf of its value.
>>>> By building this kind of network, you will be better able to overcome the
>>>> resistance that some have toward the system because it will no longer be
>>>> a hearing-Deaf issue. If you let them push for it but you simply provide
>>>> some of the linguistic support that you have through your education and
>>>> skills, that will be a valuable way to do it.
>>>> Thanks,
>>>> Stuart
>>>> On Jan 6, 2007, at 19:47, K.J. Boal wrote:
>>>>> Thanks Shane,
>>>>> I'm planning on doing that when I can, but I've talked to some of the
>>>>> leaders of the Deaf community here (e.g., the chair of Deafness Studies
>>>>> at the University of Alberta), and they have been very negative about
>>>>> SignWriting. Without their support, it's definitely going to be an
>>>>> uphill battle!
>>>>> Thanks again,
>>>>> Kelly Jo
>>>>>> From: "Shane Gilchrist O hEorpa" 
>>>>>> Reply-To: sw-l at
>>>>>> To: sw-l at
>>>>>> Subject: [sw-l] Kelly Jo - Canadian Association?
>>>>>> Date: Sat, 6 Jan 2007 19:59:34 +0000
>>>>>> Kelly Jo,
>>>>>> another possibiliy here is...
>>>>>> you could go and set up a Canadian Association for Sign Writing - or
>>>>>> something like that.
>>>>>> Some of us have set up European SignWriters Organisation (some ll say
>>>>>> SignWriting) in Brussels to support the development of SW in Europe -
>>>>>> we are being slow but more and more people are picking up on SW. Our
>>>>>> first ESWO symopsium did lead to more schools getting involved - and
>>>>>> have impressed the Japanese people!
>>>>>> It will take time but you will get there - just get a few deaf
>>>>>> teachers/lecturers together in Canada, say Western Canada and the rest
>>>>>> will be good.
>>>>>> Shane @ ESWO
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