WASHINGTON, D.C. — April 15, 2017 — Nyle DiMarco Foundation has provided funding to the National ASL & English Bilingual Consortium for Early Childhood Education in support of the organization’s inaugural “Assessing a Deaf Child’s ASL” workshop.
Designed for mentors and professionals currently working with Deaf children ages 0 to 5, “Assessing a Deaf Child’s ASL” is a three-day transdisciplinary workshop that explores ways of assessing young children’s language and learning at home and in educational settings. Participants will discuss appropriate assessment tools used to identify language and literacy needs of diverse children and interact with various sign language assessments tools available for young Deaf children. Taking place June 22 to 24, 2017, the workshop will include 20 participants and presentations from 10 professionals in the Deaf education field.
As a result of Language Acquisition and Equality for Deaf Kids (LEAD-K)’s efforts, the need for trained professional language assessors is expected to increase in the near future. LEAD-K laws aim to improve accountability by tracking and monitoring the language acquisition of Deaf children between the ages of 0 to 5. To date, three states have passed LEAD-K bills.
Bobbie Jo Kite, a board member of the National ASL & English Bilingual Consortium for Early Childhood Education, emphasizes access to American Sign Language (ASL) to ensure early language access and acquisition for Deaf children and avoid language deprivation or delay.
“There are numerous assessment tools for the English language that are often revised to assess ASL acquisition for Deaf children,” Kite said. “ASL and English are two separate languages and have their own features, milestones and deservingly so, their own assessment tools. We value language equality by having appropriate assessment tools for ASL to develop and strengthen early language acquisition for Deaf children.”
The “Assessing a Deaf Child’s ASL” workshop is an important step forward in ensuring that the development of Deaf children’s language stays on the right track when acquiring language from an early age. “The language development of a Deaf child from birth up until the day the child sets foot in a kindergarten classroom is of paramount importance,” Nyle DiMarco said.
“Like any hearing baby, Deaf babies reach periodical language milestones on their way to full language and literacy fluency. This workshop is critical in training qualified professionals to monitor and track this progression in deaf children. The Nyle DiMarco Foundation is proud to support this workshop and look forward to its success.”
National ASL & English Bilingual Consortium for Early Childhood Education is a non-profit organization of professionals who are dedicated to the development, management, and coordination of ASL and English bilingual early childhood programs for children who are deaf and hard of hearing and their families. For more information on NASLECE, visit: bilingualece.org.
The Nyle DiMarco Foundation is a non-profit organization that exists as a national philanthropic resource for all organizations, institutions and individuals working to improve the lives of every Deaf person in the world. For more information, visit: nyledimarcofoundation.com.
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Also published on Medium.