Dear friends, family, and blogging community:
I’m requesting your help because you know, educate, or care deeply about my daughter and her needs. That, or you love deaf culture, and/or ASL and know of it’s importance, and that it makes children better readers. Most of you know that my daughter is hearing impaired and has a progressive hearing loss. What you may not know is that public schools across the nation (U.S.A.) do not offer to teach her American Sign Language (ASL), which she needs now and later in life. I need a huge favor from all of you. I want North Carolina to offer ASL in all their public schools (and eventually I hope it will be offered across the nation). Many deaf/hard of hearing families like ours must currently decide between sending our child to a public school that does not support or offer ASL or we must send our kids far away to special deaf schools so that they can learn ASL. We do not wish to send our daughter far away from us, after all, you only get one chance to raise your child.
Below is a video that explains why deaf and hard of hearing children need ASL plus oral English in order to succeed in school, life, and in order to become a successful individual in the society we live in. Please watch it, educate others about it, share the video on Twitter, Facebook, and with our District 8 representatives by calling or e-mailing them and telling them about our need and how you know us. Ask them to create a bill/law that secures this need: language equality for deaf and hard of hearing children in NC public schools (ASL+oral English). Flood their inboxes! Help it to trend on Twitter. Ask your friends to do the same by sharing our story with them and passing along this information/e-mail.
We need people we can count on, people like you! The biggest thing you can do for us, if you live in NC, is to e-mail our District 8 congressmen and senators to create a bill that would require public schools in NC to teach ASL and oral English to deaf and hard of hearing children. If you live outside NC please contact your own representatives. If you have any media contacts, please make them aware of our need too. Every bit counts! The more we educate others about this great need, the more language, and job equality we create for all deaf and hard of hearing individuals. Help us to create something beautiful for those who so desperately need it, my daughter included.
Here is the link I would like you all to watch:
Below is the contact information for our District (8):
D. Craig Horn (704) 844-9960
Kelly Alexander (919) 733-5778
Congressman Richard Hudson:
Senator Richard Burr:
181 South Street
Gastonia, NC 28052
P: (704) 833-0854
F: (704) 833-1467
OR call the Washington office:
217 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
P: (202) 224-3154
F: (202) 228-2981
Senator Thom Tillis:
We appreciate any amount of time you spend contacting these senators and representatives on our behalf. It might make things easier if we all used a special hashtag (#) on Twitter and Facebook to help this trend. If you can please use the hashtag: #ASLandOralEnglishforAllDeaf OR #ASLandOralEnglishforPublicSchools when tweeting, sharing, educating about this need. If someone has a better hashtag, please by all means share your idea with us. :)
P.S. – Here are a few quick facts:
“There are 70 million deaf people in the world who use sign language as their primary means of communication, 98 percent do not have access to education in sign language, 70 percent are under or unemployed in the United States” (not because they are not qualified. Many deaf have degrees that qualify them for these jobs).
Over 24,000 children are born every year in the U.S. with some level of hearing loss. Of the children born deaf, nine out of 10 have hearing parents, who know nothing about the deaf experience or the need for ASL.
There is no evidence to indicate that using sign language interferes with speech development. In fact, research shows that a higher degree of language, including sign language, is correlated with better speech production. Research also shows that hearing children benefit from learning sign language as well, and that their spoken language develops appropriately.
Many studies have proven that the time for language acquisition is when children are young. Children who learn ASL (or any 2nd language for that matter) become better readers and perform better on tests. Here are some other facts related to that: http://www.ncssfl.org/papers/BenefitsSecondLanguageStudyNEA.pdf