1 Family Sign Language Program Enhancing Family Communication and Early Language Acquisition Glenys Crane-EmersonFSLP CoordinatorKathy VeseyDirectorGallaudet University Regional CenterNorthern Essex Community College
2 Overview of Family Sign Language Program The FSLP is funded by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.Since July 1, 2010, the FSLP has been administered by the Gallaudet University Regional Center at Northern Essex Community College.Families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing aged 0-3 are referred to the Family Sign Language Program by their Early Intervention Program.
3 FSLP Level I and Level II Classes are provided at no cost to families who reside in MA, have a child who is deaf or hard of hearing aged 0-3, and are currently receiving services through an EIP.Each family will receive 10 sessions of Level I Sign Language instruction in the family’s home. The second 10 weeks of Level II Sign Language instructionmay be in the home, online, or in a group setting with other families.Each family will be asked to complete a survey after completion of both levels, to measure the outcomes of the program.
4 Intake and ReferralThe intake form is completed by the EIP service coordinator and is submitted to us with a release signed by the family.We request information such as DOB, language spoken in the home, and the family’s preferred schedule .The intake form is available on the GURC website
5 Once a Family is Referred to FSLP… The coordinator will contact the family and describe the program.The coordinator will review the intake information and assign a tutor who lives close to the family.Once a tutor is identified, the coordinator will work with the tutor and the family to set up a start date.The family and the EIP then receive confirmation of the class start date.The coordinator will follow up with the family and the tutor after the 1st, 5th and 10th sessions.
6 Upon referral, families will receive an information packet including details about the Shared Reading Saturdays program, a copy of the ASL Dictionary, and other useful resources.In addition to ASL instruction, tutors provide families with an overview of Deaf Culture, Deaf History and Early Visual Communication guidelines.
7 The FSLP Tutor’s RoleIntroduce the family to Sign Language and the application of the signs to everyday family life.Be a positive cultural and linguistic role model for the family and the child.Remain neutral and respect the family’s wishes and culture.Guide the family to resources and community information.Share knowledge about Deaf Culture and teach the family ways to make their communications visual and accessible for their child.Make the sessions fun and interactive so family members will be able and feel comfortable to communicate with their child at the earliest age possible.
9 Comments From Families… “We thoroughly enjoyed working with our tutor- she was always patient, kind, flexible, positive, and encouraging, It was always a challenge to get through a lesson with our energetic 2yr old running around, but she was always easy going about it and tried to engage our son in the lesson when he was willing. She was always got us answers to our questions. She was a pleasure to work with”“Individual (personalized) to fit our family and our needs and our interests”“I liked the fact that they came to my house and you could have any of your family members or care givers come and not worry about doing it right. Practice and facial expressions are huge factors in sign and can make signing fun to learn and help each other”“Material very useful for regular conversation”“Reduced frustration for our daughter and family”“The curriculum was obviously geared for people interacting with small children-very practical”“Coming to our home and seeing the whole family in our environment”“Whole family participation”
11 How it all started…The Shared Reading Project was developed by David R. Schleper of Gallaudet University's Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center. SRP is designed to teach parents and caregivers how to read to their deaf and hard of hearing children using American Sign Language, and to use strategies to make book sharing most effective.
12 Why Shared Reading?We know that early book sharing experiences contribute to higher reading ability in school.Most hearing parents do not know how to share books with their young children who are deaf or hard of hearing.If hearing parents can learn how to share books, the reading ability of deaf and hard of hearing children should improve.
13 Shared Reading Saturdays An adaptation of the Shared Reading Project.Since 2004, the program has been offered monthly (September-June) in Lawrence, MA for families with children who are deaf and hard of hearing.Families are shown the story in a large group and then break into smaller groups to practice with individual tutors.
14 Shared Reading Saturdays The children are involved in organized activities while their caretakers learn how to sign the story.The children join their caretakers and read the story together with the support of the tutors.After the formal program the families have time to socialize and network during lunch.
15 Shared Reading Saturdays Interpreters provide spoken English and spoken Spanish translations as the deaf tutors sign the story.FM systems are used to transmit the translations in both languages simultaneously, keeping both languages equal.Each family brings home a book bag at the completion of the day.
16 SRP Book Bags Include… A popular children’s book… A DVD of the book… An activity guide…And a bookmark of “Tips for Reading”…
17 Outcomes Family Members: Learned to apply book sharing strategies, such as the use of role play and the placement of signs on the book.Became more skilled and confident signers.Communicate more effectively with their children.
18 Outcomes Family Members: Improved their own understanding of English when English was not their native language.Became more accepting of their child’s hearing loss.Appreciated the importance of deaf role models, felt more comfortable with deaf adults, and started to understand Deaf Culture.
19 Comments on Shared Reading Saturdays… “Individual instruction with each book, the video is great to reinforce new signs, and everyone in the program has been wonderful!”“This class has taught us to make reading more visual and more interesting.”“This was a great time for me and my family. We all learned a lot! Thank you very much!”“This is a chance to tell you how much we enjoy this program. The families are dear and the children are precious. The format you have created is exceptional. We are "working" more diligently on our signing.”
20 Resources http://clerccenter.gallaudet.edu The Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education CenterInformation and Resources including the Shared Reading Project: ation_and_Resources.htmlThe Gallaudet University Regional Center and the Family Sign Language Program