Deaf Residential Schools in the US...

Jonathan duncanjonathan at YAHOO.CA
Sun Jan 14 23:51:10 UTC 2007

Stuart Thiessen wrote:
> 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
Back in December, I went to visit a deaf friend of mine in another city
here in Honduras.  I wanted to encourage him to use SignWriting.  He is
already sold on writing signs but writes them his own way.  I printed
out the first 6 lessons of the SignoEscritura because the explanations
are in Spanish and he reads a little bit of Spanish.  I explained it all
to him but he said that it was too complicated.  He prefers to draws the
all the fingers on the hand when he draws a hand and other drawings to
help remember the signs.  I had been trying to do that before I found
Val's web site but found that after about an hour I couldn´t remember or
read what I had written.  I have to give credit to my friend, he does
draw much better than I do.  I much prefer SignWriting as it has more,
should I say, specific hand positions and movements than trying to
invent mnemonic aids each time I try to write something.  Many of the
people in our religious organization that are learning sign language and
the deaf we are teaching will want to have some kind of way to write
sign language as we all try to participate in the religious meetings
either by preparing comments before hand or student talks which requires
some way of arranging and remembering ideas so that they can be shared
in sign language at a latter time.
   I gave another copy to a deaf friend who was visiting from El
Salvador.  She was quite thankful and said that she would study it.  I
haven´t been in contact since.
    So I was thinking, that another part of the battle helping people
and especially adopt SignWriting is to present it to them in the easiest
form possible so that they don't feel that they are taking 3 steps
backwards to go 5 ahead.  Maybe if they only felt like it was one step
back and 5 ahead they might offer as much resistance.  Maybe we could
brainstorm ways lessen the learning curve so that they can take onto the
basics of SignWriting and use it.  Then they could progress while using
    Val's 4 levels of Goldilocks is an excellent way for school kids. 
Should we expect adults to learn the same way?  Is there  a way of
making it easy for without have to go through more boring steps that
they may not humble themselves to do?
    Looking forward to everybody's  remarks

>>>>> From: "Shane Gilchrist O hEorpa" <shane.gilchrist.oheorpa at>
>>>>> 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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Jonathan & Yolaine Duncan
8-)  & ;-)

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