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“The Boy Who Cried Wolf” part of the DawnSignPress "Once Upon a Sign Series" Nominated at Festival Clin d’Oeil

Over 16,000 people attended the 9th bi-annual Clin d'Oeil festival which took place in Reims, France, July 4, 2019 - July 7, 2019.

According to the Festival’s official website, the Clin d’Oeil is organized biannually by the CinéSourds Association "whose vocation is the discovery of Sign Language in all its diversity of its culture and its artistic forms."

The festivities include cinema, live performances, street theatres, musicals, signed concerts, and visual art exhibitions.

In March 2019, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” part of the DawnSignPress Once Upon a Sign Series was elected to screen at the festival in the 2D/3D animation category. There are a total of six different film categories altogether including:

  • Best Director
  • Best Film
  • Best Animation or 2D/3D
  • Best Actresses
  • Best Actor
  • Best Youth Film

During the week of the festival, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” was nominated as a finalist. Ben Bahan, Co-Director, attended on behalf of the media and publishing company along with one of the actors from the film, Jon Savage.

Bahan,who is also Professor/Co-Director of Prog. Development for 6th Street Project at Gallaudet University, said: “It was an honor to represent DawnSignPress and to see the film being shown to thousands of attendees every day. Congratulations to those who were involved with the production of the series --the actors, writers, directors, producers and crew!"

Clin d'Oeil will have a spinoff event called Oiol Festval that will take place in Washington, D.C., from July 9 to 12, 2020.

About DawnSignPress: DawnSignPress is a media and publishing house that creates, develops, produces, publishes and distributes quality American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf culture-related materials. DawnSignPress is on the cutting edge of the educational, cultural, and social trends in the Deaf world. Deaf-owned and -operated, DawnSignPress produces educational materials that raise standards in ASL education, break new ground in ASL literature and the arts, and preserve the unique and rich contributions of the Deaf and signing community.

For more information, visit www.dawnsign.com.
 
For media inquiries, contact Susan Gold, susan@susangoldconsulting.com

Sources:
https://www.clin-doeil.eu/en-gb/festival
https://www.dawnsign.com/
https://www.dawnsign.com/series/ouas/details/the-boy-who-cried-wolf
https://oiolfestival.org/

DawnSignPress interviews ASL Teacher Lisa Hermatz

1. How did you first become interested in teaching American Sign Language?

At first, it was mostly a social habit that I had. When I saw hearing people around (in a signing community), looking lost, I would assist them with a few signs. Later, when I was working for Deaf West Theatre, we would have hearing actors who wanted to learn a few signs., I remember always enjoying assisting them. Eventually, TRIPOD, a privately funded school, which taught DHH and KODA children, hired me as one of their ASL instructors for their Family Sign program. (ASL instructors would go into the homes of these deaf children and teach their parents and families ASL [for one year], at no cost to the family.) I, at some point, became the coordinator of the program and ran it for ten years. While doing that, I found the job of a lifetime, teaching ASL at Pierce College. I am still there today. It’s been nearly 20 years! I also teach at Glendale Community College, and this May was my 15th anniversary with them.

2. Who along your path was really instrumental in your becoming an ASL teacher?

This is a tough question. I cannot name one person who was instrumental in my becoming an ASL teacher. I think it sort of “fell into my lap” and I “fell in love with it.” But, if I had to name the one person who believed in me in such a way (at the beginning) that has driven me to where I am today, I would have to say the lucky winner is Cindy Herbst. (She was the Modern Language Arts Chair at Pierce and was the one who hired me.) She is the one who kept the fire inside of me burning. Now, I have many people who continue to light this flame and are pushing me to obtain my Master’s in ASL Teaching. It would be unfair of me to name them for fear of missing the many others who are also my cheerleaders.

3. What are some of the most rewarding experiences in teaching ASL?

One of my happiest moments is when some of my budding ASL students return to visit me as professional ASL interpreters. I am always in awe at how they have taken the “seeds” from ASL 101 and turned them into full blooms on their own as they go through all other ASL classes. Other times, I have deaf students in my class who are oblivious to their identities and to ASL and the incredible community that comes with it. Witnessing these young Deaf individuals transform into proud, strong Deaf members of our community always touches me very deeply. I am always glad I can be of some kind of influence, for I wish I were given that opportunity when I was much younger. Role models are very important for these Deaf children growing up in families that may lack the resources in to raise successful deaf children. Other rewarding experiences are when I see growth in all of my students from the first day of level one until the end of level two. Many of them come out of their shells and open up with amazing abilities to express this beautiful language, not only using their hands, but with their faces and entire beings.

4. Do you think the prevalence of ASL interpreters at public events, like concerts, or programs like Switched at Birth on television or feature films like Wonderstruck, help in bringing the Deaf and hearing community together and if so, why?

Yes, definitely. I remember when Switched at Birth (SAB) was airing; there was an astronomical surge in enrollment in ASL classes. I would have up to 25 people on my wait list. The show was probably the reason for the rise. The interest level still seems pretty high even today, after the hype of SAB had decreased.  There are other events, as mentioned in the question above, that are also reasons for the uptick in classroom size. I also believe that since ASL is recognized as a full-fledged language, and ASL courses are accepted for second language requirements, people do have that option and ASL does seem appealing. Is it easy? Not always! Some pick it up so very naturally and others struggle.  One thing I love to tell my students is they need not travel across the seas to practice ASL, because it is here all over America and Canada.  Why waste a 2-year language experience on a one- time overseas trip?

5. Who are your favorite heroes of the Deaf world and why do you consider them heroes?

At one time in my life, I would say Alice Cogswell, for she woke the need for Deaf Education in America.  To think of the life of language deprivation she must have experienced, being the reason Gallaudet and Clerc established one of the first Deaf schools in America, and to have died shortly after her father’s passing, at such a young age, she probably had NO idea the profound impact she (and the others) would make on the Deaf Community today and on future generations. If I had to name a more modern hero, I would say all the Deaf Education teachers who are campaigning to give Deaf children the BEST education today as well as provide them all language tools necessary for success. I feel their passion, and I praise their dedication to their missions and careers. It is not an easy job! Another incredible figure I adore is Bernard Bragg. As much richness as he brought into the deaf world, he was a believer in everyone, his humility was profound.

6. You are one of the founders of KODAWest (Kids of Deaf Adults), and can you tell us more about it? What inspired you to be one of the founders?

KODAWest is one of the biggest (and proudest) accomplishments I have ever undertaken. Before I had children, I became friends with many CODA interpreters. Listening to their stories made me feel very connected to them because of my own upbringing.  I was raised in a mainstream program (as were my two sisters), where I felt like I never fit in. So, I had a strong affinity with the CODAs. When my nieces were born, I watched how their dual identities shaped them, and I taught them the term “KODA” so they could have some understanding of their little struggles. When I had my own daughters, I noticed it even more. I knew that sooner than later, I would need to immerse them in a community where they would feel they belonged and were embraced. We tried getting them into the KODA camp on the east coast for a few years to no avail. Undeterred, I knew something had to be done. After some searching, we realized there was no support system for KODAs on the West Coast. We knew there had to be a KODA camp and a year-round support system for these families. We established KODAWest 2005, and it was purely blood, sweat and tears and from the center of our hearts that we were able to provide this for our children and for generations thereafter and even for those from across the seas. We have had lots of community support as well. This is type of service is GREATLY needed all over the USA, even the world, for more than 90% of the deaf community have hearing children. For more information on KODAWest, check us out at www.kodawest.org.

7. You are very involved with the Deaf community such as being on the national board of Deaf Women United, and ASLTA planning committee. Is that your way of giving back to the community?

You could say it was a way of giving back to the community. I always try to be as involved as much as I am able. When I joined the board of Deaf Women United, it was only because someone nominated me.  Never did I realize that would change my world. I have gained not just lifelong friends from serving with some wonderful women, but I have gained so much awareness ranging from social justice to transformative justice to pro-tactile awareness. I have been so enriched, I am forever grateful for that nomination, which was made by DSP’s own Tina Jo! As for being a part of the ASLTA 2019 Conference Committee, I have always had a strong belief that if you are passionate about your career, then you should be as involved in all aspects of it as possible. Again, being a part of the ASLTA-LA, ASLTA-SoCal, the national level ASLTA, and the committee has given me so much. I am currently in school full-time too, aiming to get my Master’s in ASL Teaching. What I have attained thus far is indescribable. I am very blessed to be on this journey, and to be with amazing colleagues along the way.

8. What DawnSignPress products do you use, and which ones do you recommend for others to use?

I use all of their Signing Naturally curriculums, Units 1-6, 7-12, Levels 2 and 3. I have used their Fingerspelling videos. I was one of the sign language models in their ASL at Work curriculum. Movers & Shakers is another great product I have! The students love playing with the ASL Handshape Games cards!  I also have their Once Upon a Sign series of children’s stories told in ASL. That series was one of my most enjoyable and gratifying opportunities I worked with the actors (in this series) as their ASL master. I will forever be grateful to DawnSignPress for all of the opportunities they have given me. I hope to be fortunate enough to work with them again one day. Long live DSP!!

DawnSignPress Intern Selected as Undergraduate Speaker for Commencement of Gallaudet Class of 2019

Washington D.C. - Yunhe Bai, class of 2019, Gallaudet University was born deaf and raised in a small town in China. He began his educational endeavors at a school for hearing and speech in a city far away from his family. When Yunhe was nine, his parents transferred him to the Wenchang School for the Deaf in his hometown where he began to learn Chinese Sign Language.  While there, Yunhe discovered a passion for learning and applied to top schools in his area. He was rejected because the schools would not provide interpreters. Upon graduating from Deaf school Yunhe was not allowed to sit for the national entrance exams that would allow him to enter mainstream colleges in China.  That’s when Yunhe applied to Gallaudet University, was accepted and majored in Business Administration out of a desire to improve the labor rights of Deaf people in both the public and private sectors.
 
During the summer between his junior and senior year, Yunhe traveled to San Diego to intern for DawnSignPress, a national media and publishing house for quality educational materials in American Sign Language. Yunhe says, “My internship with DawnSignPress helped me to gain practical knowledge and experience. My time at DawnSignPress as an intern and with the employees there helped me gain an important perspective to implement. I am going on to study in the policy practice track at Columbia where I will focus on the world of work for my Masters in Social Work.”
 
The DawnSignPress internship program is the brainchild of the President and CEO of the company, Joe Dannis.  Dannis says, “We put the internship program in place to give students an opportunity to grow experientially while still studying theory.  It’s been a huge privilege to see students like Yunhe grow through our program.”
 
 
About DawnSignPress: DawnSignPress is a media and publishing house that creates, develops, produces, publishes and distributes quality American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf culture-related materials. DawnSign is on the cutting edge of the educational, cultural, and social trends in the Deaf world. Deaf-owned and operated, DawnSign produces materials that raise standards in ASL education, break new ground in ASL literature and the arts, and preserve the unique and rich contributions of Deaf people.
 
For more information, visit: www.dawnsign.com.
 
For more information, contact Susan Gold, susan@susangoldconsulting.com
 

FREE Mother's Day Cards!

It's never too late to get your cards ready for Mother's Day! We got 4 different designs so you can pick your favorite or choose them all! Download, print and let your creativity run wild! Available in either JPG or PDF format!

*We highly suggest you download on a computer with access to printer*

 

Choose your format: JPG in first row, PDF in second row

     

 

Mother's Day #1 Mother's Day #2 Mother's Day #3 Mother's Day #4

 

Mother's Day #1 Mother's Day #2 Mother's Day #3 Mother's Day #4

 

(For JPG, click on the image you would like then right click and select "Save Image As..." to save to your computer)

(For PDF, click on the image you would like then click download from browser bar)

DawnSignPress Announces The Lawrence Fleischer Scholarship Winner for CSUN's Deaf Studies Majors

April 2, 2019, San Diego, CA- Media and Publishing House, DawnSignPress launched a new scholarship opportunity, The Lawrence Fleischer Scholarship, for Deaf Studies major students attending California State University, Northridge. The new scholarship opportunity is named after Lawrence “Larry” Fleischer to honor his contributions to California State University, Northridge’s Deaf Studies program.

Joe Dannis, CEO of DawnSignPress, received a one-thousand-dollar gift when he graduated from Gallaudet University in 1978, and Joe used the one-thousand-dollar gift to launch DawnSignPress. The company now wants to give back to the community, and give a one-thousand gift annually to a scholarship recipient. DawnSignPress created the scholarship program to tie in with their 40th Anniversary Celebration.

California State University, Northridge, has recently announced the scholarship winner, Marina Perry, an Interpreting Training Program (ITP) student at CSUN. Marina also studies ballroom dancing, and grew up in Paso Robles where she saw Deaf people signing. She began learning American Sign Language (ASL) when she was only nine-years-old, and took ASL classes in high school where she used DawnSignPress’s well-known product, Signing Naturally. Having worked four jobs simultaneously to support her studies, Marina is grateful for the $1,000 award to support her academics at CSUN.

DawnSignPress has agreed to a 5-year pledge, for the $1,000 annual scholarship award through the 2022-2023 academic year. DawnSignPress proudly supports the Deaf community through this scholarship and is thrilled to honor Dr. Lawrence R. Fleischer.

Dr. Flavia Fleischer, Chair and Professor of the Department of Deaf Studies at California State University Northridge, and also the daughter of Lawrence Fleischer says: “DawnSignPress continues to lend their never ending and unwavering support to the Deaf community through the creation of a scholarship for students in the field of Deaf Studies and, at the same time, ensures the continuation of the late Dr. Lawrence R. Fleischer’s legacy and contributions to the community. Thank you, DawnSignPress, for your wonderful stewardship of our Deaf community!”

About DawnSignPress: DawnSignPress is a media and publishing house that creates, develops, produces, publishes and distributes quality American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf culture-related materials. DawnSignPress is on the cutting edge of the educational, cultural, and social trends in the Deaf world. Deaf-owned and-operated, DawnSignPress produces educational materials that raise standards in ASL education, break new ground in ASL literature and the arts, and preserve the unique and rich contributions of the Deaf and signing community.

For more information, visit www.dawnsign.com

For media inquires, contact Susan Gold, susan@susangoldconsulting.com

For more information on CSUN's Deaf Studies program, visit https://www.csun.edu/eisner-education/deaf-studies/why-deaf-studies

DawnSignPress Confirmed to Exhibit at 2019 CAL-ED Conference

DawnSignPress Confirmed to Exhibit at 2019 CAL-ED Conference

March 29, 2019, San Diego, CA - Media and Publishing House, DawnSignPress will exhibit at the 2019 California Educators of the Deaf (CAL-ED) Conference April 5-7 in Riverside, CA. CAL-ED caters to  teachers, parents, and professionals dedicated to the pursuit of educational excellence for Deaf children.

With the study of American Sign Language (ASL) growing as a foreign language, DawnSignPress is considered one of the stalwart publishers and distributors of quality educational materials in ASL.

With key publications like the flagship Signing Naturally series, which is the authority when it comes to learning ASL, The Effective Interpreting Series, down to their ASL Babies board books and Once Upon a Sign, a children’s video series, DawnSignPress is a standout among the Deaf and hearing communities.

President of DawnSignPress, Joe Dannis, said in a recent statement, “We are celebrating our 40th year in publishing and have had the privilege of working with quality writers and authors of educational materials in ASL from around the globe. This will be our 17th time exhibiting at the CAL-ED Conference and we are proud to participate in this valuable and noteworthy gathering of educators.”

About DawnSignPress: DawnSignPress is a media and publishing house that creates, develops, produces, publishes and distributes quality American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf culture-related materials. DawnSignPress is on the cutting edge of the educational, cultural, and social trends in the Deaf world. Deaf-owned and operated, DawnSignPress produces materials that raise standards in ASL education, break new ground in ASL literature and the arts, and preserve the unique and rich contributions of Deaf people.

For more information, contact Susan Gold, susan@susangoldconsulting,com and visit www.dawnsign.com

For more information about CAL-ED, visit www.cal-ed.org

Students Open Doors to American Sign Language

San Diego, CA – Bellport, NY - The popularity of American Sign Language has become an American groundswell.

According to Disability Studies Quarterly, ASL course offerings have surged in both secondary and post-secondary environments. ASL is now the third most-taught language in the United States.

State by state, legislatures are supporting the teaching and acceptance of ASL as a foreign language with many states now recognizing ASL as a foreign language for the purpose of meeting high school graduation requirements.

Torrey Pines High School in San Diego has yet to commit to an ASL curriculum for their students. That hasn’t stopped Beryl Dannis, a standout on the women’s basketball team with a bright outlook for playing in Division I who excels academically, from organizing an after-school ASL Club with help from two of her basketball teammates.

Dannis is a child of Deaf adults or “CODA”. She was raised bi-lingual, speaking English and signing in ASL. She is also fluent in Spanish. With a passion for ASL and clearly seeing a need to be filled, Beryl meets with dozens of students once a week after school hours, to teach them basic signs.

“We were disappointed not to have an American Sign Language course offered, so the next best thing was to learn on our own as a group,” Dannis says. “Club members are at different levels, some have had basic ASL in Middle School. It’s been challenging to find teaching methods that work but we have managed to make the best of our circumstances. We are hoping to reach out this Spring with a community event, sharing basic signs for emergencies within the San Diego Police and Fire Departments.”

Beryl Dannis continues, “ASL is a beautiful language of its own and organizing this club has helped make a connection between the Deaf world and hearing that’s been well worth it."

On the other side of the country, Bellport High School sophomore, Kaylee Thatcher, shares a desire to create a bridge between Deaf and hearing. Thatcher came to ASL watching “Switched at Birth” – the first mainstream TV series to have multiple Deaf and hard-of-hearing characters - which opened her eyes to the beauty of signing.

Her goals for the ASL Club she is starting are to help students become aware of another language that is universal. Thatcher states: “ I want to get rid of the stigma surrounding the culture. I want students to understand that being deaf doesn’t mean you are an outsider or weird. We are all people and we just need to learn to communicate with one another.”

She continues, “My ultimate goal is to have American Sign Language become an offered language not only at Bellport High School but every school across the country.”

Between club meetings and serving as Co-Commutative Director for Student Council – which means she made the morning announcements throughout 8th grade, Kaylee is a competitive dancer and travels with the Starlite School of Dance. She also loves singing and plays piano and ukulele. As for college, her plan is to attend a university like the University of New Haven which offers a music program and American Sign Language club.

In honor of February’s nod to the heart and to support the ASL clubs that want to reach out within their communities, ASL publishing and media house, DawnSignPress will be offering their pamphlet, 100 Signs for Emergencies for free during the month of February and March. To receive a free pamphlet contact: contactus@dawnsign.com

For more information on this story or American Sign Language please contact: susan@susangoldconsulting.com

About DawnSignPress: DawnSignPress is a media and publishing house that creates, develops, produces, publishes and distributes quality American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf culture-related materials. DawnSignPress is on the cutting edge of the educational, cultural, and social trends in the Deaf world. Deaf-owned and -operated, DawnSignPress produces educational materials that raise standards in ASL education, break new ground in ASL literature and the arts, and preserve the unique and rich contributions of the Deaf and signing community.

For more information, visit www.dawnsign.com.

For media inquiries, contact Susan Gold, susan@susangoldconsulting.com

FREE Valentine's Day Cards!

Hey everyone, get your cards ready for Valentine's Day! We got 3 different designs so you can pick your favorite or choose them all! Download, print and let your creativity run wild! Available in either JPG or PDF format!

*We highly suggest you download on a computer with access to printer*

 

Choose your format: JPG in first row, PDF in second row

 

Valentine's Day #1 Valentine's Day #2 Valentine's Day #3

 

Valentine's Day #1 Valentine's Day #2 Valentine's Day #3

 

(Click on the image you would like then right click to save to your computer)

DawnSignPress Interviews Standout Educator, Amy Andersen

In 2018, ASL teacher Amy Andersen was nominated for National Teacher of the Year, click here to read about it. Prior to that, she was selected as NJ Teacher of the Year, click here to read about it. DawnSignPress wanted to learn more about Amy so we reached out with some questions.

1. How did you first become interested in American Sign Language?

When I was 7 years old, my mother took me to with her to a sign language class two nights a week. She was a teacher and had a new student who was autistic and Deaf, but did not have language. I remember immediately connecting with signing and practicing all the time - I loved those classes.

Once I entered grade school, I started playing the flute and by high school, I was going to Philadelphia every weekend for private lessons and traveled with an orchestra to Moscow, Russia. Playing the flute was a significant part of who I was and it was the logical path to take after high school. As one of only four flute players to be accepted in 1990, I was honored to be going to Indiana University.

But, while at Indiana University, I began taking American Sign Language classes, getting involved with Deaf community and volunteering in a kingergarten classroom of Deaf students. And I fell in love - again - it's what I wanted to do all the time and although performing for an audience was extremely gratifying, what I felt when working with children was different than anything I had experienced up until that point. There was something pulling me towards teaching.

I found the courage to follow my instincts. Holding my breath, I made that phone call home. "Mom, Dad.... I really want to be a teacher, and I want to work with Deaf children." My parents supported me because they had suspected this was going to happen for a long time.

2. Who along your path was really instrumental in your becoming an ASL teacher?

After graduating from Indiana University, I went on to Western Maryland College (now McDaniel) for a master's in Deaf education, one of only 4 hearing students in the program. The other graduate students were all Deaf, many of the professors were Deaf, most of the classes were taught in ASL, not spoken English. We went to Gallaudet University on the weekends and I became immersed in ASL and Deaf Culture, and I loved it. My Deaf classmates, friends, roommates were all mentors to me during that time on my path to internalizing ASL and understanding Deaf Culture. Those friendships and experiences are crucial to what I can now share with my students. I loved being a part of that community and I still remember the moment it dawned on me, "I get to do this for the rest of my life!" I've been part of the Deaf community for 25 yeras and teaching for 22 and I know it was the best decision I ever made.

I also know that nothing thrives in isolation and no one gets to this point without love, support and mentors along the way. When I look back, my greatest accomplishments can be attributed to a handful of strong women, who empowered me to expand boundaries and shaped the teacher I am today.

My mother showed me the person I wanted to be, how a teacher's loving demeanor gets the results we all want for students. She was constantly pushing the boundaries or walls of her classroom to enrich the experiences of her students - Bringing Life to Learning and Learning to Life!

In graduate school, Dr. Judith Coryell taught me how to be an ally in the Deaf community and how to inspire students. After being diagnosed with Leukemia, she trusted me to care for her recently adopted Deaf daughters. I learned about the consequences of language deprivation, and then the powerful transformation that access to language can bring. Because of that experience, my high school students understand why I demand the highest commitment from them.

My principal in Boston, Patrice DiNatale was tough, petite, and someone you couldn't help but respect. Opportunities I had to partner with the Department of Education or pursue National Board Certification was because she encouraged me to keep pushing myself, and she believed in me.

And now in Ocean City, Dr. Kathleen Taylor has been that influence! She trusts what I propose, ways I want to expand the ASL program and believes in the opportunities I want for my students. Without her appreciation, encouragement and support every thought would have remained... just an idea. I strive to be that strong, inspiring mentor for my students, giving back the passion that was given to me!

Most of all, my Deaf community has been instrumental in my personal growth as a teacher of ASL as well as the evolution of Ocean City's ASL program. As a hearing teacher, I immediately sought collaboration and connections with Deaf colleagues in the community because I knew as an individual who was teaching a language and culture neither of which I was a native member, it was paramount to work hand in hand with my local Deaf community and colleagues.

Their support was instantaneous and now in addition to colleagues, I have cherished friends and my students have supportive mentors, year after year. Leaders in the community like Michelle Cline, treasurer of the National Association of the Deaf, Khanh Lao, President of the NJ Association of the Deaf, Carrie Pogue, Vice President of NJAD and husband, Eli Pogue, former President of NJAD. I have had unconditional support from leaders like Rosemarie and Dan Chrisham, now on their way to becoming certified Teachers of ASL themselves. Annmarie Buraczeski and Steven Klinger, trailblazers in the community have also been incredible.

This collaboration, working side by side is why my students enjoy the successes they do and acquire the comfort they have communicating in a Deaf environment. My hope is that within the next year or two, I will have a Deaf teacher working with me, a necessity for a program that is growing beyond the capacity of one teacher.

3. If you could have, would you have gone to a college like Gallaudet, specifically for the Deaf and if so, what do you think it would have brought to you individually and as a teacher?

Yes! I still toy around with the idea of spending a summer at Gallaudet pursuing a doctorate! The benefits to someone pursuing a career teaching ASL is invaluable at a university like Gallaudet - learning in your second language, living within the Deaf community - it is the best way to acquire fluency and gain some understanding of Deaf culture.

I do go to Gallaudet a few times a year for mini-conferences with the Mid-Atlantic Coalition of Teachers of ASL, run by Dr. Jason Zinza, Amy Crumrine and Meg Vickers. Last month, I had the honor of being the guest presenter for teh day. The knowlege and expertise in that room was unmatched and I know I learned as much as, if not more, from the talented ASL teachers in attendance.

Fortunately, when I think back, my graduate school experience was similar to a college for the Deaf but on a much smaller scale. My classmates were all Deaf, only 4 of us were hearing. In between academic years, I worked at the Austine School for the Deaf summer camp in Vermont, where I was one of two hearing teachers among the entire staff.

At Western Maryland College, my roommate was Deaf, my friends were Deaf, my boyfriend was Deaf and most of my teachers were Deaf so I was signing more than I was talking. I remember waking up one night signing in my sleep - hands in the air in the middle of a dream.

I did my practicum at the Maryland School for the Deaf and then my internship and first teaching job was at The Learning Center in Framingham, MA. I started working there in 1996 right after the school launched the Bilingual/Bicultural initiative and it was an ideal environment for students and teachers. My experiences in graduate school and at The Learning Center are stories I refer to all the time with my students.

One story I always tell is about the summer when there were 6 of us sharing an apartment, 4 Deaf and 2 hearing, so we were a bilingual/bicultural apartment. We had two TV's side by side in our living room - both with the sound off and captions on. The boys could watch football or basketball and the girls watched soap operas, Day of Our Lives I think it was - which all sounds very stereotypical, but the point is because 3 of my roommates had Deaf families, this was a natural part of their own living environment and I was able to experience it, and then 20 years later share it with 150 hearing ASL students every year.

4. Being an ASL teacher, what did it mean to you to win Teacher of the Year for the state of New Jersey?

Becoming the 2018 NJ Teacher of the Year gave me the opportunity to talk to people all over the state about the value of ASL as a second language and also as a first language for deaf babies. Throughout my time as a teacher of the Deaf and teacher of American Sign Language, advocating has been as important to me as teaching. I know that the idea of fighting alongside Deaf mentors for every child’s right to language, culture and the right to be themselves is what initially drew me to teaching and what has fueled my passion for the past 22 years.

Becoming the NJ Teacher of the Year magnified my ability to successfully advocate for these rights and for that - I am most proud and grateful.

Winning Teacher of the Year as an ASL teacher has been about the right that every child has to their voice - no matter how different – spoken or signed. At every speaking event I was invited to, I told the story about a deaf baby named Cole, who was spending 10 hours a day in a daycare classroom where he could not access the language. At 18 months old, he was lost, disconnected and unable to communicate. The one hour a week I spent with his family, as his teacher of the deaf, was not having an impact – how could it? So, I started to use my teacher of the year voice to advocate for Cole. I asked that he have American Sign Language in his daily environment, a language he could acquire naturally because he could see it. The answer was No, that has never been done. So, in collaboration with Cole's mother and immense support from the local Deaf community, I used that "Teacher of the Year" voice for 3 months until NJ Early Intervention finally heard me and agreed to try something new. Cole became the first deaf baby in NJ, in the country, to have a Deaf para-professional in a daycare setting, five hours a day, five days a week.

In a little over a year, Cole went from being a child who could not communicate at all, to a 3 year-old who knows his colors, numbers and animals; a little boy who can fingerspell M-A-X, the name of his favorite toy dog.   

A little boy who can tell his mother when he isn’t feeling well or that he’s excited that Daddy gave him candy, which sometimes gets Daddy in trouble. He is a little boy who can communicate with his hearing twin, Ryan who now signs.

Advocating, knocking down barriers, ensuring that every child receives the education they deserve - that is what this year has meant for me. And the real gift is that my journey will not end simply because a year has passed.

At the end of June, I joined 12 adults and children, both hearing and Deaf, at the NJ State House to advocate for deaf children throughout the state. That day, the NJ Senate Education Committee voted unanimously, 5 – 0, in support of legislation that will provide language equality for deaf children, LEAD-K and the Deaf Child's Bill of Rights. On October 18th, we testified in front of the NJ Assembly Education Committee who also voted unanimously 14-0 in support of both bills.

On July 5th, I received a call from the NJ Budget and Appropriations office – the proposal I submitted with my colleagues Chris Sullivan and Michelle Cline to enhance NJ early intervention services for deaf babies was accepted. In coordination with the Department of Health, we now have $550,000 to establish the “Cole Model of Early Intervention” for deaf babies all over the state. If we are successful, NJ could potentially become a model for other states across the country. For me, being able to influence policy in this way is a lifetime dream, but I know it did not happen simply because I am the NJ Teacher of the Year.

It happened because THAT honor empowered me to use my voice to advocate for the right that every child has to succeed, not as a version of anyone else, but as themselves.

5. You went on to be one of FOUR nominees for our National Teacher of the Year. Has that experience changed you as an ASL teacher?

The experiences and opportunities I have had over the past year have most certainly had a significant impact on who I am as an ASL teacher, a fellow educator, a mother and simply as Amy Andersen.

As a National Finalist this year, I had the opportunity to visit Google headquarters, tour the White House and the West Wing, meet with federal legislators and spend a week at Space Camp, where I piloted a mission to Mars and survived a minute and 45 seconds on one of those 3G astronaut simulator spinning contraptions.

I have learned so much and forged lasting friendships with a truly exceptional cohort of state teachers all over the country – but most importantly, I learned that I am happiest when I am teaching. After my year as NJ Teacher of the Year, I chose to continue to lead from within my classroom - in fact I couldn't wait to get back!

My district and community are going through some exciting transformations as a result of my year as a State teacher and national finalist. With the encouragement and support of my superintendent, principal and Board of Education, Ocean City High School will be expanding our ASL program into what will be called an "ASL Academy".

Students are able to choose pathways like engineering, performing arts, and Teachers of Tomorrow to guide their course selections throughout high school. Starting Fall, 2019 students will be able to choose the "ASL Academy", which will include 4 levels of ASL, collaboration with our Teachers of Tomorrow program and theater department.

Our district has also begun preparing to offer a program for Deaf and hard of hearing students beginning in our primary school and eventually extending all the way through high school.

6. You've just been recognized as the receipient of the California Casualty Award for Teaching Excellence for New Jersey along with 45 other teachers in the U.S. and you'll be going to the NEA Foundation's Awards gala in Washington next year. What message will you bring to the other teachers and attendees about teaching ASL?

I begin with two goals for my ASL students each year: to understand that every individual has the indisputable right to communicate; and every voice has value, whether spoken or signed. As we learn about the interconnectivity of language and culture, I want students to understand we are stronger because of our differences, not in spite of them. I could say this all year, but for students to truly internalize the concept, I need to transcend the four walls of the classroom and help them experience language and culture in various authentic situations.

Collaboration with our Deaf Community creates dynamic, authentic learning opportunities. Once a month, our Deaf Community, students, and parents of Deaf children, sign and get to know each other at Starbucks ASL Chats. Students become immersed in our Deaf Community naturally, gaining lifelong mentors. I have developed even more opportunities for students to interact with the Deaf Community by inviting world-renowned Deaf artists to present painting parties, coordinating silent dinners with parents, welcoming diverse panelists to demonstrate the range in deafness, and coordinating videophone connections. Using our videophone, students have interacted with a Deaf survivor of the 9/11 attack, the Deaf Studies Director at Boston University, and a cyclist from the 2013 Deaflympics.

Deaf mentors provide practice sessions to prepare students for conversations with a variety of signers. Every year, Deaf chaperones join our Gallaudet University field trips where students, now the minority, are immersed on a campus rich with ASL and Deaf culture.

Teaching is an opportunity to inspire, and ignite students’ passion for ASL, although my responsibility doesn’t end there. I encourage every child to build a future they will love living.

I truly am proud of students like Megan, who interpreted for Michelle Obama, and Ashlyn, among the 5% of hearing applicants accepted to Gallaudet University. I succeed when students feel safe to be themselves, appreciate diversity in the classroom, and develop life-long empathy.

Recently, some of my students volunteered at the "ASL Connect " event at the NJ School for the Deaf, where they organized t-shirt sales, games, and ASL songs. After school, students sign with a local deaf toddler, witnessing the impact of the gift of visual language. Annually, current students, alumni, the Deaf Community and I collaborate on an original show to promote deaf awareness. Funds raised support student scholarships and national deaf charities that promote language equality. ASL students perform with deaf coaches and deaf children and learn, not because I teach them, but because they experience it. More than 100 deaf audience members from surrounding states attend this show year-after-year, helping students realize the value they bring.

Nearly 150 students learn ASL every year, (this year I have 176) transforming Ocean City into a “deaf-friendly town”, where people in restaurants, shops, and on the boardwalk, sign with deaf visitors, making an accessible environment. Because nothing thrives in isolation, I facilitate meaningful connections between students and the world around them. In collaboration with students, parents, colleagues and the community, we empower leaders, expand perspectives, and maximize learning for all.

7. What would you say to a student, Deaf or hearing, who wants to follow in your footsteps?

When I stand before my ASL students, I know some will do incredible things in and with the Deaf community.  For students who want to become teachers, I emphasize the privilege of being part of the journey of every child you teach. What an honor. But with this honor comes great responsibility because every day we, as teachers, are showing our students what we believe is a priority. We can choose to focus only on our content area, or to commit to the whole child. I urge them to decide their students will feel equity within a classroom free of judgment; to show students their humanity, and make relationships with students a priority. Above all else, to ANY student planning on becoming a teacher, I want them to realize they will have the power, the choice, to make kindness a priority. As teachers, we plan, we assess, we inform our instruction… and we advocate. We change lives one child at a time, removing obstacles and creating educational environments that allow students to succeed not as a version of everyone else, but as themselves. My students are learning and excelling in American Sign Language, and for that I am exceedingly proud. But, I am even more proud - grateful - that these students are evolving into exceptional human beings.

8. We're wondering if you have a favorite DawnSignPress product?

I love the Signing Naturally curriculum Units 1-6 and 7-12 and most of all I LOVE that DawnSignPress has made the videos available on-line. Students don’t use DVD’s anymore and most of their computers don’t even have DVD drives so the fact that I can offer a curriculum with an online video option is essential. I just started teaching at our local university, Stockton University and I am using the Signing Naturally curriculum with my beginning students there as well.

In an effort to expand the reach of ASL in our district, my superintendent recently hired a teacher who is Deaf to run a class for teachers in the district who want to learn ASL. Kathy Reese was hired and recommended the book “Signs For Me”. This is another fantastic product from DawnSignPress that we are loving!

DawnSignPress Celebrates 40th Anniversary

January 25, 2019, San Diego, CA - Media and Publishing House, DawnSignPress is marking their 40th year in media and publishing. In the last 40 years, DawnSignPress has created, developed, produced, published, and distributed quality American Sign Language (ASL) and deaf culture-related educational materials including the most known resource- Signing Naturally series.

The company originated in Berkeley in 1979 when Joe Dannis invested a $1,000 college graduation gift from his father into a business dream that has flourished to become a multi-million dollar publishing and media house specializing in quality educational materials in American Sign Language (ASL).

“As t-shirts became a means of self expression as wearable art and to convey messages (and protests), it was the thing to do in the late 70s, says Joe Dannis, founder of DawnSignPress. “Selling t-shirts with ASL slogans out the back of my van in Berkeley, who knew it would lead me to Signing Naturally products, the most respected resource for learning and teaching ASL."

The celebration will extend throughout the year and begins with our 40th anniversary January special, 20% off any Signing Naturally Students set (expires 2/10), that can be purchased via www.dawnsign.com. Through the year, DawnSignPress will offer monthly product specials, throwback videos, giveaways, announcements, and updates. They will be posted on DawnSignPress’s Facebook page (@Dawnsign), Instagram account (@DawnSignPress), and Twitter account (@DawnSignPress).

DawnSignPress has also established a scholarship for CSUN students in honor of the renowned teacher, Lawrence Fleischer and DawnSignPress hitting the 40th Anniversary mark.

A formal 40th anniversary event will take place on July 3, 2019, at Broadway Pier in San Diego, CA. It is an invitation-only event. A media organization, The Daily Moth, will be presented at the event for video coverage. For further media inquiries, contact Susan Gold, susan@susangoldconsulting.com.

About DawnSignPress: DawnSignPress is a media and publishing house that creates, develops, produces, publishes and distributes quality American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf culture-related materials. DawnSignPress is on the cutting edge of the educational, cultural, and social trends in the Deaf world. Deaf-owned and operated, DawnSignPress produces materials that raise standards in ASL education, break new ground in ASL literature and the arts, and preserve the unique and rich contributions of the Deaf and signing community.

DawnSignPress Publishes New Baby Board Books Adding to American Sign Language Babies Series

November 13, 2018, San Diego, CA- American Sign Language (ASL) Media and Publishing House, DawnSignPress has published their newest baby board books, What Color? and Playtime, adding to their renowned ASL Babies Series. Co-author and mom, Tina Jo Breindel, visually demonstrates how to sign with your baby in the free online videos that are a companion to the baby board book series found here. Ms. Breindel says: "This is a great way to cuddle and bond and by adding a book into your routine, your baby will learn that reading (and signing) is special and something to look forward to!" Dr. Laura-Ann Petitto, Cognitive Neuroscientist and a Developmental Cognitive Neuroscientist widely known for her discoveries about the brain structure underlying early human language processing says: "Children who are exposed to multiple languages actually are not delayed, they are not confused, they hit each of their classic language milestones in each of the languages on the same maturational timetable. The human brain actually is empowered and develops with agility when it's getting two languages at the same time." What Color? and Playtime add to the existing titles: First Signs, Let's Eat, Get Dressed and Outside. About DawnSignPress: DawnSignPress is a media and publishing house that creates, develops, produces, publishes and distributes quality American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf culture-related materials. DawnSignPress is on the cutting edge of the educational, cultural, and social trends in the Deaf world. Deaf-owned and -operated, DawnSignPress produces educational materials that raise standards in ASL education, break new ground in ASL literature and the arts, and preserve the unique and rich contributions of the Deaf and signing community. For more information, visit www.dawnsign.com.

For media inquiries, contact Susan Gold, susan@susangoldconsulting.com

Simply Real Moms Holiday Gift Guide for Kids 2018

We are featured on the 2018 Holiday Gift Guide for Kids with Simply Real Moms!

Visit here to read all about it!

DawnSignPress Announces Scholarship with CSUN

DawnSignPress Launches The Lawrence Fleischer Scholarship for CSUN’s Deaf Studies Majors

Tweet it: #DawnSignPress launches the Lawrence Flesicher Scholarship for CSUN’s Deaf Majors! The scholarship honors the memory of Lawrence Flesicher.

November 8, 2018, San Diego, CA- Media and Publishing House, DawnSignPress launches a new scholarship opportunity, The Lawrence Fleischer Scholarship, for Deaf Studies major students attending California State University, Northridge. The new scholarship opportunity is named after Lawrence Fleischer to honor his contributions to California State University, Northridge’s Deaf Studies program. 

Joe Dannis, CEO of DawnSignPress, received a one-thousand-dollar gift when he graduated from Gallaudet University in 1978, and Joe used the one-thousand-dollar gift to launch DawnSignPress. The company now wants to give back to the community, and give a one-thousand gift annually to a scholarship recipient. 

DawnSignPress has agreed to a 5-year pledge, for the $1,000 annual scholarship award from 2018 to 2022. DawnSignPress proudly supports the Deaf community through this scholarship and is thrilled to honor Dr. Lawrence R. Fleischer.

Dr. Flavia Fleischer, Chair and Professor of the Department of Deaf Studies at California State University Northridge, and also the daughter of Lawrence Fleischer says: “DawnSignPress continues to lend their never ending and unwavering support to the Deaf community through the creation of a scholarship for students in the field of Deaf Studies and, at the same time, ensures the continuation of the late Dr. Lawrence R. Fleischer’s legacy and contributions to the community. Thank you, DawnSignPress, for your wonderful stewardship of our Deaf community!”

The required criteria to qualify for the Lawrence Fleischer Scholarship are:

  • Student must be enrolled in the Deaf Studies program
  • Student must have a minimum of 3.0 GPA
  • Standard Michael D. Eisner College of Education scholarship application to be applied with an extra letter of recommendation regarding student’s capacity with ASL

An award banquet will take place in Spring 2019 where the donors will have an opportunity to meet the award recipients.

About DawnSignPress: DawnSignPress is a media and publishing house that creates, develops, produces, publishes and distributes quality American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf culture-related materials. DawnSign is on the cutting edge of the educational, cultural, and social trends in the Deaf world. Deaf-owned and -operated, DawnSign produces educational materials that raise standards in ASL education, break new ground in ASL literature and the arts, and preserve the unique and rich contributions of the Deaf and signing community.

For more information, visit

More information available at www.dawnsign.com.

For media inquiries, contact Susan Gold at susan@susangoldconsulting.com

For more information on CSUN’s deaf studies program, visit https://www.csun.edu/eisner-education/deaf-studies/why-deaf-studies

The FINAL piece of the puzzle is now here!

The Effective Intepreting Series: Simultaneous Interpreting from ASL is now here!

Combine a workbook filled with research-based exercises, and almost 3 hours of ASL video material, and you have a WINNING combination!

Developing linguistic flexibility in both English AND ASL is the key to effective interpreting! EIS gives you the tools to ensure student success!

BONUS FOR TEACHERS!

New online resources

  • Sample syllabus for each volume
  • EIS Quick Start Guide

In addition, all teachers receive FREE ACCESS to the digital student library!

Click HERE to visit the EIS series page!

Thoughts from Tina Jo #2

How surprising that board books are relatively new invention. Yes, only from early 1980s when this kind of book became available. Publishers noticed their success in bookstores that they expanded their offerings by converting popular picture books into this new format. As it is SO important to read books with children, even to babies, you may think they are too young to understand, but babies that see more words in their infancy have a better vocabulary as a toddler (or preschooler?). It is a great way to cuddle and bond, and by adding books into your routine your baby will learn reading is special and something to look forward to! Reading to babies can be tricky sometimes. You might find they are too wiggly and don’t want to sit for a book, or they just want to grab the book out of your hands and eat it. I have found it has been easier to read to my babies right after they have a full tummy, before naptime or bedtime. The more you read and sign to them, the more they will love it —and I promise you that they will start bringing you books any time of the day to read to them. Board books are nice because they are usually condensed and just the right length for their short attention span. Pages are thick and easier for them to flip. They also double as a nice chew toy (just kidding about this part!). Board books aren’t just for babies either. Indeed, when you think about it, board books are remarkable and magical thing like a “multimedia” device, all at once so colorful, pictorial, inexpensive, mobile, durable (and chewable!). It beats the iPhone hands down!

Building baby's first library is one of the most important AND fun ways to prepare for their arrival. Though there are plenty of awesome and iconic classic books that should be stacked on bookshelf from the get-go, your baby won’t be ready to handle their delicate pages at first. This is where board books come in! When it comes to reading and signing to the littles, this is it.

Need tips for reading to your deaf child? This is a great link, http://www3.gallaudet.edu/clerc-center/our-resources/shared-reading-project.html

Happy reading and signing!

DawnSignPress & National Preparedness Month

DawnSignPress Provides Handy Pamphlet with 100 Signs for Emergencies

SAN DIEGO, Calif., September 5, 2018 - In honor of National Preparedness Month, media and publishing house DawnSignPress offers free samples of their American Sign Language (ASL) publication 100 Signs for Emergencies to every Emergency Service Unit in the country through September.

Recognizing the need for basic communication tools, DawnSignPress created a pocket-sized pamphlet of 100 signs that can be used in emergencies. “Past misunderstandings, some leading to tragedies, could be avoided if we learn more about each other,” DawnSignPress owner Joe Dannis said. “100 Signs for Emergencies helps first responders communicate basic concepts in ASL."

This clearly illustrated pamphlet lists common signs for emergencies, such as transportation (ambulance, car, motorcycle), injuries (accident, blood, identification), people (baby, doctor, interpreter), environment (earthquake, snow), questions (what, when, who), and feelings (dizzy, hurt, sick). Also included are the fingerspelled alphabet and numbers up to 10. For those who don’t know ASL this pamphlet offers basic signs that are helpful in the short term and can even be life-saving. 

An incident more than 30 years ago taught Joe Dannis a hard lesson about the need for accessible communication in emergencies. 

“I was pulled over for speeding, late at night, at a closed gas station,” said Dannis, who is Deaf. “The police officer wore a motorcycle helmet, so I couldn’t lipread or understand him. I asked him to take it off, but he kept talking.” Dannis walked toward his car to retrieve his hearing aids. 

“The officer grabbed me from behind, and slammed me onto the hood,” Dannis said. “I was caught off-guard, and had no idea what he was saying behind my back.” Dannis was handcuffed and sent to jail. Dannis isn’t alone in his experience.

Around the nation, lack of awareness and accessibility is a reality for the roughly 34 million Americans who are deaf or hard of hearing. To be fair, accessible communication isn’t always possible in emergencies, where first responders’ priority is safety. For most deaf or hard of hearing individuals, the priority is communication — what’s being said, and what’s going to happen. 

Attempts at remedying this intersection of differing priorities, such as bringing in sign language interpreters or using paper and pen, are not always possible. What if a car hits a guardrail and erupts into fire with deaf people trapped inside? Or a deaf person has a stroke and can’t write? Let’s not forget the stress of urgency: most first responders don’t have the time for written conversations with victims or bystanders.  Communication isn’t always in place when lives need saving.

 “The feelings of helplessness I had in 1985 are something no one should experience,” Dannis said. “Since then, I’ve committed to ensuring that police, fire, and other first responders are aware of how they can alleviate concerns in times of crisis.”

DawnSignPress is offering a free pamphlet to every Emergency Service Unit making the request during the month of September while supplies last. Send your email request to contactus@dawnsign.com, or call 858 625 0600 to request your copy. Use “Helps with Signs” in the subject line.

About DawnSignPress: DawnSignPress is a media and publishing house that develops, produces, publishes and distributes quality American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf culture-related materials.

More information is available at www.dawnsign.com.

Thoughts from Tina Jo Breindel

As children get settled back into the classroom, we are spending more time getting prepared, inspired, and motivated for the school year! This brings me to: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I may remember. Involve me and I learn,” as quoted by Xun Kuang.

My parents had no knowledge of Deaf people when they first learned I was Deaf. They invested time to research what my life could be, as they sought information about how to raise me, a Deaf child. They got involved in my life and learned what it is to be Deaf. Wish they were around to share their story. I view parents and teachers as partners in education. When both are inspired to facilitate learning, children are the winners! My parents treated me like any other child. I was different only because I was Deaf…and still am. My signing ASL at school wasn’t just about communication, my parents also saw I was acquiring a complete language. It was wonderful when I had access to classroom content and never had to worry about missing anything. I had the pleasure of learning. This is the best “secret” about ASL, shared here so more people will be aware of what it takes to raise a Deaf child.

I hope parents are inspired to learn ASL with their signing Deaf children. For people new to ASL, know that learning a language takes time. It’s different for everyone as it may take one a year or others five years to get the basics. All I know is now is the time to learn. Just remember how long it took you to learn to ride on your bicycle. Just keep at it.  Keep learning. It takes time. One sign at a time. You're making progress, one by one. Make time to attend an ASL event, take an ASL class. When you see Deaf people gather, just watch the conversations. It isn’t rude to observe. Learning ASL is fun! You learn, and you become involved.

DawnSignPress Hosts Interns From Gallaudet

DawnSignPress Hosts Gallaudet University Students for Internship Program

San Diego, CA ? Media and Publishing House, DawnSignPress recently hosted two Gallaudet University Students for a summer internship program.

Students Yunhe Bai and Mel Bowman landed the highly competitive summer internships in the Business Operations and Marketing Departments of DawnSignPress respectively.

Yunhe Bai is a senior at Gallaudet University with a Business Administration major and a concentration in Human Resources and Finance. Mel Bowman is a junior, also at Gallaudet with an English major and Psychology minor.

American Sign Language (ASL) use is growing rapidly in this country. President of DawnSignPress, Joe Dannis, would like to see more young professionals with opportunities for future employment in relation to ASL education.

Dannis said in a recent statement: “This is our first year of the internship program with Gallaudet University, the world-renowned private university for the education of the deaf and hard of hearing located in Washington, D.C. I am a Gallaudet Alumni as are several members of the staff at DawnSignPress. It’s great to see students from the University now interning with us.”

About DawnSignPress: DawnSignPress is a media and publishing house that creates, develops, produces, publishes and distributes quality American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf culture-related materials. DawnSignPress is on the cutting edge of the educational, cultural, and social trends in the Deaf world. Deaf-owned and operated, DawnSignPress produces materials that raise standards in ASL education, break new ground in ASL literature and the arts, and preserve the unique and rich contributions of the Deaf and signing community.

For more information about DawnSignPress, visit: www.dawnsign.com

FREE Father's Day Cards

It's not too late to get your cards ready for Father's Day! We got 3 different designs so you can pick your favorite or choose them all! Download, print and let your creativity run wild! Available in either JPG or PDF format!

*We highly suggest you download on a computer with access to printer*

 

Choose your format: JPG in first row, PDF in second row

     

 

Father's Day #1 Father's Day #2 Father's Day #3

 

Father's Day #1 Father's Day #2 Father's Day #3

 

(Click on the image you would like then right click to save to your computer)

Innovations TV/DawnSignPress

Innovations TV Series with Ed Begley Jr. Highlights Advances in American Sign Language Research and the Benefits of Children Signing from Birth with local San Diego Media and Publishing House DawnSignPress.

Discovery series explores the latest research regarding American Sign Language and brain development in infants, and follows one local company as they work to make ASL available to everyone.

San Diego, CA – Local San Diego Media and Publishing House, DawnSignPress, will be featured in an upcoming episode of the highly acclaimed TV series, Innovations with Ed Begley, Jr., airing on History Channel, Wednesday, May 16th at 6:30am eastern/6:30am pacific.

Viewers will learn the benefits of American Sign Language (ASL) on the developing brain. In addition to exploring the fascinating history of ASL and ASL research, spectators will also learn about DawnSignPress and their top educational materials, widely known as some of the best ASL and Deaf culture materials available. The local San Diego media and publishing company was specifically sought out for the Innovations program.

“Although we saw it for many years in the Deaf community, research has caught up, and shows how beneficial it is to sign with babies whether they are Deaf or hearing,” explains Joe Dannis, President of DawnSignPress. “We’re now focusing on providing materials that can help parents sign with their children. Everyone benefits from American Sign Language!”

“From seasoned teachers to parents, students, or lovers of language and culture… there’s something for everyone at DawnSignPress,” said Seth Michaels, Producer for the Innovations series. “We look forward to enlightening audiences on the topic.”

To watch the :30 commercial for the program use this link: https://youtu.be/cCiIsCZQq-Q

To watch DawnSign’s segment of the program use this link: https://youtu.be/u3R1fuXwZC4

About DawnSignPress: For over 35 years DawnSignPress has been at the cutting edge of American Sign Language and Deaf culture development and publication. Signing Naturally, DawnSignPress’s flagship product, has been instrumental in ASL’s growth in popularity all over the US and Canada since it was first published in 1988. DawnSignPress now turns its focus to helping families everywhere benefit from American Sign Language use with children.

For more information, visit: www.dawnsign.com or contact Susan Gold, susan@susangoldconsulting.com

About Innovations: Innovations, hosted by award winning actor Ed Begley, Jr., is an information-based series geared toward educating the public on the latest breakthroughs in all areas of society. Featuring practical solutions and important issues facing consumers and professionals alike, Innovations focuses on cutting-edge advancements in everything from health and wellness to global business, renewable energy, and more.

DawnSignPress Celebrates National Children's Book Week!

DawnSignPress Celebrates Children’s Book Week by Giving Away American Sign Language Books at Local Library

26 April, 2018, San Diego, CA - Media and Publishing House, DawnSignPress will introduce American Sign Language through their popular baby board books at the Rancho San Diego Library during the toddler and preschool story hours Tuesday, May 1 at 10:15am and 11:15am respectively.

In honor of Children’s Book Week and to promote greater understanding between Deaf and hearing children, DawnSignPress is making this gesture to introduce ASL and to help pre-verbal babies and toddlers communicate with their caregivers. DawnSignPress will provide free books from their ASL Babies series to all families that attend.

American Sign Language (ASL) use is growing rapidly in this country. President of DawnSignPress, Joe Dannis, would like to see young children among those who are learning some signs.

Dannis said in a recent statement: “Our children’s library program is a simple way for parents and young children to bond by learning something new together. It’s great to see the faces of the children and adults, as they’re being introduced to this beautiful language. It’s also proven that youngsters who learn to sign have a reduction in frustration levels and an increase in developmental skills. With our baby board books and video series, Once Upon A Sign, families have fun learning ASL together.

About DawnSignPress: DawnSignPress is a media and publishing house that creates, develops, produces, publishes and distributes quality American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf culture-related materials. DawnSignPress is on the cutting edge of the educational, cultural, and social trends in the Deaf world. Deaf-owned and operated, DawnSignPress produces materials that raise standards in ASL education, break new ground in ASL literature and the arts, and preserve the unique and rich contributions of the Deaf and signing community.

For more information, visit www.dawnsign.com.

For more information, contact Susan Gold, susan@susangoldconsulting.com

DawnSignPress Offers 100 Signs for Emergencies to Nation's Emergency Service Units

DawnSignPress Offers 100 Signs for Emergencies to Nation’s Emergency Service Units

February 20, 2018, San Diego, CA - Media and Publishing House, DawnSignPress will offer for free their American Sign Language publication, 100 Signs for Emergencies to every Emergency Service Unit in the country through the end of March 2018.

In a move to promote greater understanding between Deaf and hearing communities, DawnSign is making this gesture with the hope that communities may join to realize they are one.

American Sign Language (ASL) use is growing rapidly in this country. President of DawnSignPress, Joe Dannis, would like to see emergency responders among those who are learning some signs.

Dannis said in a recent statement: “Past misunderstandings, some that led to fatal tragedy, could be avoided if we learn a little more about each other. 100 Signs for Emergencies is a simple pocket-sized pamphlet designed to help first responders communicate basic concepts in American Sign Language.”

DawnSignPress is offering the pamphlet free to every Emergency Service Unit making the request during the month of February while supplies last. Send your email request to contactus@dawnsign.com, or call 858 625 0600 to request your copy. Use “Help with Signs” in the subject line.

About DawnSignPress: DawnSignPress is a media and publishing house that creates, develops, produces, publishes and distributes quality American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf culture-related materials. DawnSign is on the cutting edge of the educational, cultural, and social trends in the Deaf world. Deaf-owned and operated, DawnSign produces materials that raise standards in ASL education, break new ground in ASL literature and the arts, and preserve the unique and rich contributions of the Deaf and signing community.

For more information, visit www.dawnsign.com.

For more information, contact Susan Gold, susan@susangoldconsulting.com

Local San Diego Executive Shares Spotlight with Oscar Winner and Receives Service Honor

DawnSignPress executive, Tina Jo Breindel, receives honor at New York School for the Deaf 200th Anniversary celebration.

San Diego, CA - Local San Diego Media and Publishing House, DawnSignPress, announced that Tina Jo Breindel, executive in charge of community relations, shared the spotlight with Oscar winner, Marlee Matlin, to receive a service award from New York School for the Deaf.

Singled out as a ‘tireless advocate for literacy for Deaf children’ and a treasured Alumna of New York School for the Deaf, Ms. Breindel accepted the award at a Black and White Gala held at Tarrytown Hill mansion, the home of Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain.

Accepting the award, Breindel said: "My parents treated me like any other child. I was different only because I was Deaf...and still am. It wasn't just about communication, they also saw that I was acquiring a language. My parents saw I was happy when I came home smiling and full of stories about what I learned (at school)."

Proceeds from the Gala benefit the school's program: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) and also serve to broaden vocational training.

About DawnSignPress: DawnSignPress is a media and publishing house that creates, develops, produces, publishes and distributes quality American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf culture-related materials. DawnSign is on the cutting edge of the educational, cultural, and social trends in the Deaf world. Deaf-owned and operated, DawnSignPress produces materials that raise standards in ASL education, break new ground in ASL literature and the arts, and preserve the unique and rich contributions of Deaf people.

For more information, visit: www.dawnsign.com.

For more information, contact Susan Gold, susan@susangoldconsulting.com

Scribblitt and DawnSignPress work together in celebration of International Week of the Deaf!

For Immediate Release

Media Contacts:

Andrea Bergstein, Scribblitt                                    Josef Harrison, DawnSignPress

andrea@scribblitt.com                                            josefh@dawnsign.com

http://www.scribblitt.com                                       http://www.dawnsign.com

 

SCRIBBLITTTM AND DAWNSIGNPRESS BRING HEARING AND DEAF CHILDREN TOGETHER IN CELEBRATION OF INTERNATIONAL WEEK OF THE DEAF

Charlotte, VT and San Diego, CA - September 19, 2016 --

Scribblitt and DawnSignPress are joining together to offer a writing contest for school-aged children nationwide in support of International Week of the Deaf. Kids create a short story with a modern-day fairytale theme. The grand prize contest winner will have his/her story published in hardcover by Scribblitt, translated into American Sign Language (ASL) by Deaf kids and filmed in ASL. Ten other winners will have their stories published in hardcover by Scribblitt and receive a “Once Upon a Sign” video from DawnSignPress.

The idea for this contest came from a common goal of providing tools that help kids improve their communication skills.

“I hope the collaborative contest with Scribblitt will help improve awareness of American Sign Language and bring hearing and Deaf children together just as our award-winning children’s video series ‘Once Upon a Sign’ has,” says Joe Dannis, President of DawnSignPress. The company is offering a free viewing of “Jack and the Beanstalk” from the “Once Upon a Sign” series in connection with International Week of the Deaf. To watch “Jack and the Beanstalk” between 9/19/16 and 9/25/16, go to VIMEO and use the password, IWD2016.

Teachers can access this video and some unique writing and illustration tools on Scribblitt.com to engage their students in a writing assignment or to enter this writing contest.

“We are thrilled to help spark creativity in all young authors, Deaf and hearing, in school or out, to write and publish their own books,” says Scribblitt founder, Andrea Bergstein. “We hope that teachers will use this opportunity to tie together lessons in writing and editing with building awareness for American Sign Language and Deaf culture.”

The contest launches via Scribblitt.com on September 19 in honor of International Week of the Deaf and continues through December 15.. Winners will be announced on or around January 16, 2017. To enter simply register for a free account at Scribblitt.com, login, write a story in “Write itt” and enter the story on the Scribblitt contest page.

For contest rules, click here

About Scribblitt.com

Scribblitt provides kids an online space and tools to help them write, illustrate and publish their own professionally printed hardcover books. For every book published, Scribblitt donates a book to a child in need.

About DawnSignPress

DawnSignPress publishes American Sign Language educational materials and looks to increase awareness of ASL and Deaf culture by bringing hearing and Deaf together to enjoy ASL.

Learning American Sign Language

American Sign Language (ASL) is one of the fastest growing languages of study in the United States for a variety of reasons. What could be some of the reasons why people want and decide to learn ASL?

The reasons vary widely from personal to professional. Most of the ASL students give their reason as “wanting to be able to communicate” with their Deaf relative, neighbor, or co-worker.

High schools offer ASL as a foreign language study along with Spanish, Japanese, and other languages. Taking ASL meets the high school graduation requirements for a foreign language. Some of the students take ASL because they think it improves their acting abilities or enhances their visual acuity. There have been reports that students take ASL because they wanted to date someone who was Deaf. Sometimes students who have been recognized as mainly visual learners think studying ASL will benefit them. Some of those students always wanted to learn more ASL since learning fingerspelling as a child.

College students are required to take a foreign language and many consider ASL an interesting choice. Serious students of ASL may even choose their college to major in Deaf Studies, or Deaf Education. Those who continue to study ASL and Deaf Culture may eventually decide on careers that involve the ability to speak ASL such as teachers of deaf students or community/educational interpreters.

Sometimes professionals like EMTs, police, firemen, or emergency responders decide to learn ASL because it will enhance their ability to communicate with Deaf people they come across in their dealings with the public.
Parents with newly-identified Deaf babies and Deaf children could decide to study ASL as the language of choice for their family. Parents believe that speaking ASL is a sure way for their Deaf child to acquire language, and fluent ASL is a wonderful path to eventually acquire English as a second language. Teaching ASL signs to hearing babies has also become a proven way to increase early communication between parents and babies and is more widespread and popular than ever.

Clearly, there is more than one reason why students take ASL. People take ASL for fun or necessity, and get a glimpse into a fascinating culture with the prospect of meeting people they might not meet in their daily lives.

History of American Sign Language

Although the first record of a signed language was in the early 17th century, signed languages probably existed as long as there were civilizations. Sign languages had existed whenever there were deaf people.

Even though American Sign Language (ASL) has strong roots in French Sign Language, it is deeply influenced by many events preceding the more formalized sign languages that flourished since the 1700’s. The most prominent event was the publication of Sign Language Structure in 1965 by William Stokoe, a linguist, showing that ASL was a bona-fide language.

The first known book on sign language was published in 1620 by Juan Pablo de Bonet. While a treaty for teaching “mute people to speak,” Bonet’s book also published a manual alphabet to improve communication with deaf students.

In 1755, Abbe Charles-Michel de l’Epee of Paris founded the first public (free) school in Paris for deaf students. Many of l’Epee’s disciples founded schools for deaf students in their respective countries throughout Europe using the Langue des Signes Francaise (LSF).

In 1815, Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet travelled to Europe to study methods for teaching Deaf students. At a public demonstration in England, Gallaudet met Abbe Roch-Ambroise Sicard and Jean Massieu who then invited him to visit their school in Paris.

While in Paris learning the teaching methods using LSF, Gallaudet asked Laurent Clerc – a deaf teacher who was also a graduate of the school -- to come to America and help him set up a school for deaf students. Laurent Clerc accepted Gallaudet’s invitation to travel to America. During the 60 days of sailing to America, Gallaudet taught Clerc English while Clerc taught Gallaudet LSF. (Laurent Clerc, A Profile)

In 1817, Gallaudet and Clerc opened the first of their schools in Connecticut. It was called the Connecticut Asylum for the Education and Instruction of Deaf and Dumb Persons (now called the American School for the Deaf) in Hartford. By the end of the first year, there were 31 students from various New England cities which included students from Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts and Henniker, New Hampshire.

Martha’s Vineyard and Henniker were two full-fledged communities where deaf and hearing residents of the island were communicating in a form of signed language. “Among the possible sources of the present American Sign Language would be Clerc’s LSF, the homesigns students brought from home and from some small scattered Deaf communities, pantomime, and new signs generated in the setting of the school.” (Journey to the Deaf World).

Today’s ASL was thus strongly influenced by the American School for the Deaf (ASD). Deaf students who graduated from ASD would go to different states to set up new schools for deaf students and would thus pass down to the next generation of deaf students the “contact language” that has become today’s ASL.

By 1900s, the nationwide network of residential state schools was completed. Deaf people were now given the opportunity to be with other Deaf children and Deaf adults. They could share their sign language and cultural experiences without any communication barriers.  The relationships they would form in these residential schools would last a lifetime.

First ten state-supported residential schools in America
Name of School Location Date Founded
The American School for the Deaf Hartford, Conn 1817
New York Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb New York City 1818
Pennsylvania Institution of the Deaf and Dumb Philadelphia 1820
Kentucky School for the Deaf Danville 1822
Ohio Institution for the Deaf Columbus 1827
Virginia Institution for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb Staunton 1839
State of Indiana Institution for the Education of the Deaf Indianapolis 1844
The Tennessee Deaf and Dumb School Knoxville 1844
North Carolina Institution for the Deaf and the Blind Raleigh 1845
Georgia School for the Deaf Cave Springs 1846

 

By the time of Clerc’s death in 1869, over 1500 students had graduated from the Hartford school, and there were 30 state-supported residential schools. In 1864, Gallaudet University -- the first college for the Deaf in the world – was founded. The establishment of residential schools and the college ensured that ASL flourished.

Deaf adults were first hired as teachers as well as sign language models for Deaf children at school.  This was changed later, in the early 20th century, when the oralist movement had taken hold in the educational system. Alexander Graham Bell led the movement in opposing the use of sign language in the education of deaf children.  As a result, many Deaf adults were forced out of the teaching profession or demoted to being teachers of vocational classes.

Today, the trend toward dedicated, residential education for deaf children has been replaced by a trend to integrate deaf children into local public schools. This movement became predominant after the passage of the All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 (today called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act [IDEA]).

Even though the long tradition of residential schools as the main centers of cultural transmission has been altered, ASL has still boomed.

As a result of Stokoe’s 1965 linguistic study of ASL, within a short time, the perception of ASL changed from that of a broken or simplified version of English to that of a complex and thriving natural language as functional and powerful as any found in the oral languages of the world. The instruction of ASL as a “foreign language” became popular and ASL’s appeal has only grown. Currently, students can take ASL to meet their high school or college requirement of two years of foreign language study.

The ASL in use today is a result of 195 years of deaf families and students passing down from one generation to next the language that has become one of the most used languages in the United States of America.

Once Upon a Sign Wins Again!

The "Once Upon a Sign" series has a new award to it's lineup! Recently, Play on Words gave it's PAL award to "The New Three Little Pigs." To read their review, visit here!

DawnSignPress's Once Upon a Sign wins Best of 2015 award!

December 1, 2015 - San Diego, CA -- DawnSignPress's Once Upon a Sign series won the Best Series of the Year Award from the Family Review Center. Once Upon a Sign stories are American Sign Language (ASL) recreations of the following classic stories: The Stone Soup, Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Magic Mirror and The Three Little Pigs.

This latest award is one in a string of accolades the Once Upon A Sign videos received, including a Kids First endorsement and Dove Foundation’s #FamilyApproved Seal. This summer, San Diego International Film Festival awarded the Best Educational Film to DawnSignPress for The Magic Mirror. Awarded with Parents’ Choice Approved, The Magic Mirror is also the winner of the Bronze Telly Award 2015.

“I’m thrilled that Once Upon a Sign is getting recognition. It’s a big dream and goal to educate the mainstream about ASL. The more exposure to ASL, the more awareness there will be. That’s why we produced the series. The stories allow Deaf and hearing families to watch and enjoy them together,”said Joe Dannis, executive producer, Once Upon a Sign series.

About Once Upon a Sign

Once Upon a Sign re-creates classic children’s stories with modern themes performed by an all-Deaf cast entirely in ASL with voice-over and English subtitles. Each DVD also features “Fun Signs,” a recap of key signs from the story. Children can delight all over again in these timeless stories with new twists. Previews of Once Upon a Sign can be viewed at www.dawnsignkids.com.  DVDs of the signed stories are now available for $15.95 each and can be purchased at www.dawnsign.com.

About DawnSignPress

DawnSignPress, a Deaf-owned company, creates, develops, and publishes quality American Sign Language (ASL) videos and books. After 35 years of pioneering ASL products, DawnSignPress is still on the cutting edge of the educational and social media trends relating to ASL. Now, with ASL’s popularity in the mainstream on a steady rise, DawnSignPress looks to offer quality ASL to a wider audience. DawnSignKids is a division of DawnSignPress, which creates, develops, and publishes quality children’s ASL videos and books. For more information, visit www.DawnSign.com or www.dawnsignkids.com.

Josef Harrison
Marketing Specialist
josefh@dawnsign.com

“The Boy Who Cried Wolf” part of the DawnSignPress "Once Upon a Sign Series" Nominated at Festival Clin d’Oeil

Over 16,000 people attended the 9th bi-annual Clin d'Oeil festival which took place in Reims, France, July 4, 2019 - July 7, 2019.

According to the Festival’s official website, the Clin d’Oeil is organized biannually by the CinéSourds Association "whose vocation is the discovery of Sign Language in all its diversity of its culture and its artistic forms."

The festivities include cinema, live performances, street theatres, musicals, signed concerts, and visual art exhibitions.

In March 2019, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” part of the DawnSignPress Once Upon a Sign Series was elected to screen at the festival in the 2D/3D animation category. There are a total of six different film categories altogether including:

  • Best Director
  • Best Film
  • Best Animation or 2D/3D
  • Best Actresses
  • Best Actor
  • Best Youth Film

During the week of the festival, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” was nominated as a finalist. Ben Bahan, Co-Director, attended on behalf of the media and publishing company along with one of the actors from the film, Jon Savage.

Bahan,who is also Professor/Co-Director of Prog. Development for 6th Street Project at Gallaudet University, said: “It was an honor to represent DawnSignPress and to see the film being shown to thousands of attendees every day. Congratulations to those who were involved with the production of the series --the actors, writers, directors, producers and crew!"

Clin d'Oeil will have a spinoff event called Oiol Festval that will take place in Washington, D.C., from July 9 to 12, 2020.

About DawnSignPress: DawnSignPress is a media and publishing house that creates, develops, produces, publishes and distributes quality American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf culture-related materials. DawnSignPress is on the cutting edge of the educational, cultural, and social trends in the Deaf world. Deaf-owned and -operated, DawnSignPress produces educational materials that raise standards in ASL education, break new ground in ASL literature and the arts, and preserve the unique and rich contributions of the Deaf and signing community.

For more information, visit www.dawnsign.com.
 
For media inquiries, contact Susan Gold, susan@susangoldconsulting.com

Sources:
https://www.clin-doeil.eu/en-gb/festival
https://www.dawnsign.com/
https://www.dawnsign.com/series/ouas/details/the-boy-who-cried-wolf
https://oiolfestival.org/

DawnSignPress Intern Selected as Undergraduate Speaker for Commencement of Gallaudet Class of 2019

Washington D.C. - Yunhe Bai, class of 2019, Gallaudet University was born deaf and raised in a small town in China. He began his educational endeavors at a school for hearing and speech in a city far away from his family. When Yunhe was nine, his parents transferred him to the Wenchang School for the Deaf in his hometown where he began to learn Chinese Sign Language.  While there, Yunhe discovered a passion for learning and applied to top schools in his area. He was rejected because the schools would not provide interpreters. Upon graduating from Deaf school Yunhe was not allowed to sit for the national entrance exams that would allow him to enter mainstream colleges in China.  That’s when Yunhe applied to Gallaudet University, was accepted and majored in Business Administration out of a desire to improve the labor rights of Deaf people in both the public and private sectors.
 
During the summer between his junior and senior year, Yunhe traveled to San Diego to intern for DawnSignPress, a national media and publishing house for quality educational materials in American Sign Language. Yunhe says, “My internship with DawnSignPress helped me to gain practical knowledge and experience. My time at DawnSignPress as an intern and with the employees there helped me gain an important perspective to implement. I am going on to study in the policy practice track at Columbia where I will focus on the world of work for my Masters in Social Work.”
 
The DawnSignPress internship program is the brainchild of the President and CEO of the company, Joe Dannis.  Dannis says, “We put the internship program in place to give students an opportunity to grow experientially while still studying theory.  It’s been a huge privilege to see students like Yunhe grow through our program.”
 
 
About DawnSignPress: DawnSignPress is a media and publishing house that creates, develops, produces, publishes and distributes quality American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf culture-related materials. DawnSign is on the cutting edge of the educational, cultural, and social trends in the Deaf world. Deaf-owned and operated, DawnSign produces materials that raise standards in ASL education, break new ground in ASL literature and the arts, and preserve the unique and rich contributions of Deaf people.
 
For more information, visit: www.dawnsign.com.
 
For more information, contact Susan Gold, susan@susangoldconsulting.com
 

DawnSignPress Announces The Lawrence Fleischer Scholarship Winner for CSUN's Deaf Studies Majors

April 2, 2019, San Diego, CA- Media and Publishing House, DawnSignPress launched a new scholarship opportunity, The Lawrence Fleischer Scholarship, for Deaf Studies major students attending California State University, Northridge. The new scholarship opportunity is named after Lawrence “Larry” Fleischer to honor his contributions to California State University, Northridge’s Deaf Studies program.

Joe Dannis, CEO of DawnSignPress, received a one-thousand-dollar gift when he graduated from Gallaudet University in 1978, and Joe used the one-thousand-dollar gift to launch DawnSignPress. The company now wants to give back to the community, and give a one-thousand gift annually to a scholarship recipient. DawnSignPress created the scholarship program to tie in with their 40th Anniversary Celebration.

California State University, Northridge, has recently announced the scholarship winner, Marina Perry, an Interpreting Training Program (ITP) student at CSUN. Marina also studies ballroom dancing, and grew up in Paso Robles where she saw Deaf people signing. She began learning American Sign Language (ASL) when she was only nine-years-old, and took ASL classes in high school where she used DawnSignPress’s well-known product, Signing Naturally. Having worked four jobs simultaneously to support her studies, Marina is grateful for the $1,000 award to support her academics at CSUN.

DawnSignPress has agreed to a 5-year pledge, for the $1,000 annual scholarship award through the 2022-2023 academic year. DawnSignPress proudly supports the Deaf community through this scholarship and is thrilled to honor Dr. Lawrence R. Fleischer.

Dr. Flavia Fleischer, Chair and Professor of the Department of Deaf Studies at California State University Northridge, and also the daughter of Lawrence Fleischer says: “DawnSignPress continues to lend their never ending and unwavering support to the Deaf community through the creation of a scholarship for students in the field of Deaf Studies and, at the same time, ensures the continuation of the late Dr. Lawrence R. Fleischer’s legacy and contributions to the community. Thank you, DawnSignPress, for your wonderful stewardship of our Deaf community!”

About DawnSignPress: DawnSignPress is a media and publishing house that creates, develops, produces, publishes and distributes quality American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf culture-related materials. DawnSignPress is on the cutting edge of the educational, cultural, and social trends in the Deaf world. Deaf-owned and-operated, DawnSignPress produces educational materials that raise standards in ASL education, break new ground in ASL literature and the arts, and preserve the unique and rich contributions of the Deaf and signing community.

For more information, visit www.dawnsign.com

For media inquires, contact Susan Gold, susan@susangoldconsulting.com

For more information on CSUN's Deaf Studies program, visit https://www.csun.edu/eisner-education/deaf-studies/why-deaf-studies

DawnSignPress Confirmed to Exhibit at 2019 CAL-ED Conference

DawnSignPress Confirmed to Exhibit at 2019 CAL-ED Conference

March 29, 2019, San Diego, CA - Media and Publishing House, DawnSignPress will exhibit at the 2019 California Educators of the Deaf (CAL-ED) Conference April 5-7 in Riverside, CA. CAL-ED caters to  teachers, parents, and professionals dedicated to the pursuit of educational excellence for Deaf children.

With the study of American Sign Language (ASL) growing as a foreign language, DawnSignPress is considered one of the stalwart publishers and distributors of quality educational materials in ASL.

With key publications like the flagship Signing Naturally series, which is the authority when it comes to learning ASL, The Effective Interpreting Series, down to their ASL Babies board books and Once Upon a Sign, a children’s video series, DawnSignPress is a standout among the Deaf and hearing communities.

President of DawnSignPress, Joe Dannis, said in a recent statement, “We are celebrating our 40th year in publishing and have had the privilege of working with quality writers and authors of educational materials in ASL from around the globe. This will be our 17th time exhibiting at the CAL-ED Conference and we are proud to participate in this valuable and noteworthy gathering of educators.”

About DawnSignPress: DawnSignPress is a media and publishing house that creates, develops, produces, publishes and distributes quality American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf culture-related materials. DawnSignPress is on the cutting edge of the educational, cultural, and social trends in the Deaf world. Deaf-owned and operated, DawnSignPress produces materials that raise standards in ASL education, break new ground in ASL literature and the arts, and preserve the unique and rich contributions of Deaf people.

For more information, contact Susan Gold, susan@susangoldconsulting,com and visit www.dawnsign.com

For more information about CAL-ED, visit www.cal-ed.org

Students Open Doors to American Sign Language

San Diego, CA – Bellport, NY - The popularity of American Sign Language has become an American groundswell.

According to Disability Studies Quarterly, ASL course offerings have surged in both secondary and post-secondary environments. ASL is now the third most-taught language in the United States.

State by state, legislatures are supporting the teaching and acceptance of ASL as a foreign language with many states now recognizing ASL as a foreign language for the purpose of meeting high school graduation requirements.

Torrey Pines High School in San Diego has yet to commit to an ASL curriculum for their students. That hasn’t stopped Beryl Dannis, a standout on the women’s basketball team with a bright outlook for playing in Division I who excels academically, from organizing an after-school ASL Club with help from two of her basketball teammates.

Dannis is a child of Deaf adults or “CODA”. She was raised bi-lingual, speaking English and signing in ASL. She is also fluent in Spanish. With a passion for ASL and clearly seeing a need to be filled, Beryl meets with dozens of students once a week after school hours, to teach them basic signs.

“We were disappointed not to have an American Sign Language course offered, so the next best thing was to learn on our own as a group,” Dannis says. “Club members are at different levels, some have had basic ASL in Middle School. It’s been challenging to find teaching methods that work but we have managed to make the best of our circumstances. We are hoping to reach out this Spring with a community event, sharing basic signs for emergencies within the San Diego Police and Fire Departments.”

Beryl Dannis continues, “ASL is a beautiful language of its own and organizing this club has helped make a connection between the Deaf world and hearing that’s been well worth it."

On the other side of the country, Bellport High School sophomore, Kaylee Thatcher, shares a desire to create a bridge between Deaf and hearing. Thatcher came to ASL watching “Switched at Birth” – the first mainstream TV series to have multiple Deaf and hard-of-hearing characters - which opened her eyes to the beauty of signing.

Her goals for the ASL Club she is starting are to help students become aware of another language that is universal. Thatcher states: “ I want to get rid of the stigma surrounding the culture. I want students to understand that being deaf doesn’t mean you are an outsider or weird. We are all people and we just need to learn to communicate with one another.”

She continues, “My ultimate goal is to have American Sign Language become an offered language not only at Bellport High School but every school across the country.”

Between club meetings and serving as Co-Commutative Director for Student Council – which means she made the morning announcements throughout 8th grade, Kaylee is a competitive dancer and travels with the Starlite School of Dance. She also loves singing and plays piano and ukulele. As for college, her plan is to attend a university like the University of New Haven which offers a music program and American Sign Language club.

In honor of February’s nod to the heart and to support the ASL clubs that want to reach out within their communities, ASL publishing and media house, DawnSignPress will be offering their pamphlet, 100 Signs for Emergencies for free during the month of February and March. To receive a free pamphlet contact: contactus@dawnsign.com

For more information on this story or American Sign Language please contact: susan@susangoldconsulting.com

About DawnSignPress: DawnSignPress is a media and publishing house that creates, develops, produces, publishes and distributes quality American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf culture-related materials. DawnSignPress is on the cutting edge of the educational, cultural, and social trends in the Deaf world. Deaf-owned and -operated, DawnSignPress produces educational materials that raise standards in ASL education, break new ground in ASL literature and the arts, and preserve the unique and rich contributions of the Deaf and signing community.

For more information, visit www.dawnsign.com.

For media inquiries, contact Susan Gold, susan@susangoldconsulting.com

DawnSignPress Celebrates 40th Anniversary

January 25, 2019, San Diego, CA - Media and Publishing House, DawnSignPress is marking their 40th year in media and publishing. In the last 40 years, DawnSignPress has created, developed, produced, published, and distributed quality American Sign Language (ASL) and deaf culture-related educational materials including the most known resource- Signing Naturally series.

The company originated in Berkeley in 1979 when Joe Dannis invested a $1,000 college graduation gift from his father into a business dream that has flourished to become a multi-million dollar publishing and media house specializing in quality educational materials in American Sign Language (ASL).

“As t-shirts became a means of self expression as wearable art and to convey messages (and protests), it was the thing to do in the late 70s, says Joe Dannis, founder of DawnSignPress. “Selling t-shirts with ASL slogans out the back of my van in Berkeley, who knew it would lead me to Signing Naturally products, the most respected resource for learning and teaching ASL."

The celebration will extend throughout the year and begins with our 40th anniversary January special, 20% off any Signing Naturally Students set (expires 2/10), that can be purchased via www.dawnsign.com. Through the year, DawnSignPress will offer monthly product specials, throwback videos, giveaways, announcements, and updates. They will be posted on DawnSignPress’s Facebook page (@Dawnsign), Instagram account (@DawnSignPress), and Twitter account (@DawnSignPress).

DawnSignPress has also established a scholarship for CSUN students in honor of the renowned teacher, Lawrence Fleischer and DawnSignPress hitting the 40th Anniversary mark.

A formal 40th anniversary event will take place on July 3, 2019, at Broadway Pier in San Diego, CA. It is an invitation-only event. A media organization, The Daily Moth, will be presented at the event for video coverage. For further media inquiries, contact Susan Gold, susan@susangoldconsulting.com.

About DawnSignPress: DawnSignPress is a media and publishing house that creates, develops, produces, publishes and distributes quality American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf culture-related materials. DawnSignPress is on the cutting edge of the educational, cultural, and social trends in the Deaf world. Deaf-owned and operated, DawnSignPress produces materials that raise standards in ASL education, break new ground in ASL literature and the arts, and preserve the unique and rich contributions of the Deaf and signing community.

DawnSignPress Publishes New Baby Board Books Adding to American Sign Language Babies Series

November 13, 2018, San Diego, CA- American Sign Language (ASL) Media and Publishing House, DawnSignPress has published their newest baby board books, What Color? and Playtime, adding to their renowned ASL Babies Series. Co-author and mom, Tina Jo Breindel, visually demonstrates how to sign with your baby in the free online videos that are a companion to the baby board book series found here. Ms. Breindel says: "This is a great way to cuddle and bond and by adding a book into your routine, your baby will learn that reading (and signing) is special and something to look forward to!" Dr. Laura-Ann Petitto, Cognitive Neuroscientist and a Developmental Cognitive Neuroscientist widely known for her discoveries about the brain structure underlying early human language processing says: "Children who are exposed to multiple languages actually are not delayed, they are not confused, they hit each of their classic language milestones in each of the languages on the same maturational timetable. The human brain actually is empowered and develops with agility when it's getting two languages at the same time." What Color? and Playtime add to the existing titles: First Signs, Let's Eat, Get Dressed and Outside. About DawnSignPress: DawnSignPress is a media and publishing house that creates, develops, produces, publishes and distributes quality American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf culture-related materials. DawnSignPress is on the cutting edge of the educational, cultural, and social trends in the Deaf world. Deaf-owned and -operated, DawnSignPress produces educational materials that raise standards in ASL education, break new ground in ASL literature and the arts, and preserve the unique and rich contributions of the Deaf and signing community. For more information, visit www.dawnsign.com.

For media inquiries, contact Susan Gold, susan@susangoldconsulting.com

DawnSignPress Announces Scholarship with CSUN

DawnSignPress Launches The Lawrence Fleischer Scholarship for CSUN’s Deaf Studies Majors

Tweet it: #DawnSignPress launches the Lawrence Flesicher Scholarship for CSUN’s Deaf Majors! The scholarship honors the memory of Lawrence Flesicher.

November 8, 2018, San Diego, CA- Media and Publishing House, DawnSignPress launches a new scholarship opportunity, The Lawrence Fleischer Scholarship, for Deaf Studies major students attending California State University, Northridge. The new scholarship opportunity is named after Lawrence Fleischer to honor his contributions to California State University, Northridge’s Deaf Studies program. 

Joe Dannis, CEO of DawnSignPress, received a one-thousand-dollar gift when he graduated from Gallaudet University in 1978, and Joe used the one-thousand-dollar gift to launch DawnSignPress. The company now wants to give back to the community, and give a one-thousand gift annually to a scholarship recipient. 

DawnSignPress has agreed to a 5-year pledge, for the $1,000 annual scholarship award from 2018 to 2022. DawnSignPress proudly supports the Deaf community through this scholarship and is thrilled to honor Dr. Lawrence R. Fleischer.

Dr. Flavia Fleischer, Chair and Professor of the Department of Deaf Studies at California State University Northridge, and also the daughter of Lawrence Fleischer says: “DawnSignPress continues to lend their never ending and unwavering support to the Deaf community through the creation of a scholarship for students in the field of Deaf Studies and, at the same time, ensures the continuation of the late Dr. Lawrence R. Fleischer’s legacy and contributions to the community. Thank you, DawnSignPress, for your wonderful stewardship of our Deaf community!”

The required criteria to qualify for the Lawrence Fleischer Scholarship are:

  • Student must be enrolled in the Deaf Studies program
  • Student must have a minimum of 3.0 GPA
  • Standard Michael D. Eisner College of Education scholarship application to be applied with an extra letter of recommendation regarding student’s capacity with ASL

An award banquet will take place in Spring 2019 where the donors will have an opportunity to meet the award recipients.

About DawnSignPress: DawnSignPress is a media and publishing house that creates, develops, produces, publishes and distributes quality American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf culture-related materials. DawnSign is on the cutting edge of the educational, cultural, and social trends in the Deaf world. Deaf-owned and -operated, DawnSign produces educational materials that raise standards in ASL education, break new ground in ASL literature and the arts, and preserve the unique and rich contributions of the Deaf and signing community.

For more information, visit

More information available at www.dawnsign.com.

For media inquiries, contact Susan Gold at susan@susangoldconsulting.com

For more information on CSUN’s deaf studies program, visit https://www.csun.edu/eisner-education/deaf-studies/why-deaf-studies

DawnSignPress & National Preparedness Month

DawnSignPress Provides Handy Pamphlet with 100 Signs for Emergencies

SAN DIEGO, Calif., September 5, 2018 - In honor of National Preparedness Month, media and publishing house DawnSignPress offers free samples of their American Sign Language (ASL) publication 100 Signs for Emergencies to every Emergency Service Unit in the country through September.

Recognizing the need for basic communication tools, DawnSignPress created a pocket-sized pamphlet of 100 signs that can be used in emergencies. “Past misunderstandings, some leading to tragedies, could be avoided if we learn more about each other,” DawnSignPress owner Joe Dannis said. “100 Signs for Emergencies helps first responders communicate basic concepts in ASL."

This clearly illustrated pamphlet lists common signs for emergencies, such as transportation (ambulance, car, motorcycle), injuries (accident, blood, identification), people (baby, doctor, interpreter), environment (earthquake, snow), questions (what, when, who), and feelings (dizzy, hurt, sick). Also included are the fingerspelled alphabet and numbers up to 10. For those who don’t know ASL this pamphlet offers basic signs that are helpful in the short term and can even be life-saving. 

An incident more than 30 years ago taught Joe Dannis a hard lesson about the need for accessible communication in emergencies. 

“I was pulled over for speeding, late at night, at a closed gas station,” said Dannis, who is Deaf. “The police officer wore a motorcycle helmet, so I couldn’t lipread or understand him. I asked him to take it off, but he kept talking.” Dannis walked toward his car to retrieve his hearing aids. 

“The officer grabbed me from behind, and slammed me onto the hood,” Dannis said. “I was caught off-guard, and had no idea what he was saying behind my back.” Dannis was handcuffed and sent to jail. Dannis isn’t alone in his experience.

Around the nation, lack of awareness and accessibility is a reality for the roughly 34 million Americans who are deaf or hard of hearing. To be fair, accessible communication isn’t always possible in emergencies, where first responders’ priority is safety. For most deaf or hard of hearing individuals, the priority is communication — what’s being said, and what’s going to happen. 

Attempts at remedying this intersection of differing priorities, such as bringing in sign language interpreters or using paper and pen, are not always possible. What if a car hits a guardrail and erupts into fire with deaf people trapped inside? Or a deaf person has a stroke and can’t write? Let’s not forget the stress of urgency: most first responders don’t have the time for written conversations with victims or bystanders.  Communication isn’t always in place when lives need saving.

 “The feelings of helplessness I had in 1985 are something no one should experience,” Dannis said. “Since then, I’ve committed to ensuring that police, fire, and other first responders are aware of how they can alleviate concerns in times of crisis.”

DawnSignPress is offering a free pamphlet to every Emergency Service Unit making the request during the month of September while supplies last. Send your email request to contactus@dawnsign.com, or call 858 625 0600 to request your copy. Use “Helps with Signs” in the subject line.

About DawnSignPress: DawnSignPress is a media and publishing house that develops, produces, publishes and distributes quality American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf culture-related materials.

More information is available at www.dawnsign.com.

DawnSignPress Hosts Interns From Gallaudet

DawnSignPress Hosts Gallaudet University Students for Internship Program

San Diego, CA ? Media and Publishing House, DawnSignPress recently hosted two Gallaudet University Students for a summer internship program.

Students Yunhe Bai and Mel Bowman landed the highly competitive summer internships in the Business Operations and Marketing Departments of DawnSignPress respectively.

Yunhe Bai is a senior at Gallaudet University with a Business Administration major and a concentration in Human Resources and Finance. Mel Bowman is a junior, also at Gallaudet with an English major and Psychology minor.

American Sign Language (ASL) use is growing rapidly in this country. President of DawnSignPress, Joe Dannis, would like to see more young professionals with opportunities for future employment in relation to ASL education.

Dannis said in a recent statement: “This is our first year of the internship program with Gallaudet University, the world-renowned private university for the education of the deaf and hard of hearing located in Washington, D.C. I am a Gallaudet Alumni as are several members of the staff at DawnSignPress. It’s great to see students from the University now interning with us.”

About DawnSignPress: DawnSignPress is a media and publishing house that creates, develops, produces, publishes and distributes quality American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf culture-related materials. DawnSignPress is on the cutting edge of the educational, cultural, and social trends in the Deaf world. Deaf-owned and operated, DawnSignPress produces materials that raise standards in ASL education, break new ground in ASL literature and the arts, and preserve the unique and rich contributions of the Deaf and signing community.

For more information about DawnSignPress, visit: www.dawnsign.com

Innovations TV/DawnSignPress

Innovations TV Series with Ed Begley Jr. Highlights Advances in American Sign Language Research and the Benefits of Children Signing from Birth with local San Diego Media and Publishing House DawnSignPress.

Discovery series explores the latest research regarding American Sign Language and brain development in infants, and follows one local company as they work to make ASL available to everyone.

San Diego, CA – Local San Diego Media and Publishing House, DawnSignPress, will be featured in an upcoming episode of the highly acclaimed TV series, Innovations with Ed Begley, Jr., airing on History Channel, Wednesday, May 16th at 6:30am eastern/6:30am pacific.

Viewers will learn the benefits of American Sign Language (ASL) on the developing brain. In addition to exploring the fascinating history of ASL and ASL research, spectators will also learn about DawnSignPress and their top educational materials, widely known as some of the best ASL and Deaf culture materials available. The local San Diego media and publishing company was specifically sought out for the Innovations program.

“Although we saw it for many years in the Deaf community, research has caught up, and shows how beneficial it is to sign with babies whether they are Deaf or hearing,” explains Joe Dannis, President of DawnSignPress. “We’re now focusing on providing materials that can help parents sign with their children. Everyone benefits from American Sign Language!”

“From seasoned teachers to parents, students, or lovers of language and culture… there’s something for everyone at DawnSignPress,” said Seth Michaels, Producer for the Innovations series. “We look forward to enlightening audiences on the topic.”

To watch the :30 commercial for the program use this link: https://youtu.be/cCiIsCZQq-Q

To watch DawnSign’s segment of the program use this link: https://youtu.be/u3R1fuXwZC4

About DawnSignPress: For over 35 years DawnSignPress has been at the cutting edge of American Sign Language and Deaf culture development and publication. Signing Naturally, DawnSignPress’s flagship product, has been instrumental in ASL’s growth in popularity all over the US and Canada since it was first published in 1988. DawnSignPress now turns its focus to helping families everywhere benefit from American Sign Language use with children.

For more information, visit: www.dawnsign.com or contact Susan Gold, susan@susangoldconsulting.com

About Innovations: Innovations, hosted by award winning actor Ed Begley, Jr., is an information-based series geared toward educating the public on the latest breakthroughs in all areas of society. Featuring practical solutions and important issues facing consumers and professionals alike, Innovations focuses on cutting-edge advancements in everything from health and wellness to global business, renewable energy, and more.

DawnSignPress Celebrates National Children's Book Week!

DawnSignPress Celebrates Children’s Book Week by Giving Away American Sign Language Books at Local Library

26 April, 2018, San Diego, CA - Media and Publishing House, DawnSignPress will introduce American Sign Language through their popular baby board books at the Rancho San Diego Library during the toddler and preschool story hours Tuesday, May 1 at 10:15am and 11:15am respectively.

In honor of Children’s Book Week and to promote greater understanding between Deaf and hearing children, DawnSignPress is making this gesture to introduce ASL and to help pre-verbal babies and toddlers communicate with their caregivers. DawnSignPress will provide free books from their ASL Babies series to all families that attend.

American Sign Language (ASL) use is growing rapidly in this country. President of DawnSignPress, Joe Dannis, would like to see young children among those who are learning some signs.

Dannis said in a recent statement: “Our children’s library program is a simple way for parents and young children to bond by learning something new together. It’s great to see the faces of the children and adults, as they’re being introduced to this beautiful language. It’s also proven that youngsters who learn to sign have a reduction in frustration levels and an increase in developmental skills. With our baby board books and video series, Once Upon A Sign, families have fun learning ASL together.

About DawnSignPress: DawnSignPress is a media and publishing house that creates, develops, produces, publishes and distributes quality American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf culture-related materials. DawnSignPress is on the cutting edge of the educational, cultural, and social trends in the Deaf world. Deaf-owned and operated, DawnSignPress produces materials that raise standards in ASL education, break new ground in ASL literature and the arts, and preserve the unique and rich contributions of the Deaf and signing community.

For more information, visit www.dawnsign.com.

For more information, contact Susan Gold, susan@susangoldconsulting.com

DawnSignPress Offers 100 Signs for Emergencies to Nation's Emergency Service Units

DawnSignPress Offers 100 Signs for Emergencies to Nation’s Emergency Service Units

February 20, 2018, San Diego, CA - Media and Publishing House, DawnSignPress will offer for free their American Sign Language publication, 100 Signs for Emergencies to every Emergency Service Unit in the country through the end of March 2018.

In a move to promote greater understanding between Deaf and hearing communities, DawnSign is making this gesture with the hope that communities may join to realize they are one.

American Sign Language (ASL) use is growing rapidly in this country. President of DawnSignPress, Joe Dannis, would like to see emergency responders among those who are learning some signs.

Dannis said in a recent statement: “Past misunderstandings, some that led to fatal tragedy, could be avoided if we learn a little more about each other. 100 Signs for Emergencies is a simple pocket-sized pamphlet designed to help first responders communicate basic concepts in American Sign Language.”

DawnSignPress is offering the pamphlet free to every Emergency Service Unit making the request during the month of February while supplies last. Send your email request to contactus@dawnsign.com, or call 858 625 0600 to request your copy. Use “Help with Signs” in the subject line.

About DawnSignPress: DawnSignPress is a media and publishing house that creates, develops, produces, publishes and distributes quality American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf culture-related materials. DawnSign is on the cutting edge of the educational, cultural, and social trends in the Deaf world. Deaf-owned and operated, DawnSign produces materials that raise standards in ASL education, break new ground in ASL literature and the arts, and preserve the unique and rich contributions of the Deaf and signing community.

For more information, visit www.dawnsign.com.

For more information, contact Susan Gold, susan@susangoldconsulting.com

Local San Diego Executive Shares Spotlight with Oscar Winner and Receives Service Honor

DawnSignPress executive, Tina Jo Breindel, receives honor at New York School for the Deaf 200th Anniversary celebration.

San Diego, CA - Local San Diego Media and Publishing House, DawnSignPress, announced that Tina Jo Breindel, executive in charge of community relations, shared the spotlight with Oscar winner, Marlee Matlin, to receive a service award from New York School for the Deaf.

Singled out as a ‘tireless advocate for literacy for Deaf children’ and a treasured Alumna of New York School for the Deaf, Ms. Breindel accepted the award at a Black and White Gala held at Tarrytown Hill mansion, the home of Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain.

Accepting the award, Breindel said: "My parents treated me like any other child. I was different only because I was Deaf...and still am. It wasn't just about communication, they also saw that I was acquiring a language. My parents saw I was happy when I came home smiling and full of stories about what I learned (at school)."

Proceeds from the Gala benefit the school's program: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) and also serve to broaden vocational training.

About DawnSignPress: DawnSignPress is a media and publishing house that creates, develops, produces, publishes and distributes quality American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf culture-related materials. DawnSign is on the cutting edge of the educational, cultural, and social trends in the Deaf world. Deaf-owned and operated, DawnSignPress produces materials that raise standards in ASL education, break new ground in ASL literature and the arts, and preserve the unique and rich contributions of Deaf people.

For more information, visit: www.dawnsign.com.

For more information, contact Susan Gold, susan@susangoldconsulting.com

Scribblitt and DawnSignPress work together in celebration of International Week of the Deaf!

For Immediate Release

Media Contacts:

Andrea Bergstein, Scribblitt                                    Josef Harrison, DawnSignPress

andrea@scribblitt.com                                            josefh@dawnsign.com

http://www.scribblitt.com                                       http://www.dawnsign.com

 

SCRIBBLITTTM AND DAWNSIGNPRESS BRING HEARING AND DEAF CHILDREN TOGETHER IN CELEBRATION OF INTERNATIONAL WEEK OF THE DEAF

Charlotte, VT and San Diego, CA - September 19, 2016 --

Scribblitt and DawnSignPress are joining together to offer a writing contest for school-aged children nationwide in support of International Week of the Deaf. Kids create a short story with a modern-day fairytale theme. The grand prize contest winner will have his/her story published in hardcover by Scribblitt, translated into American Sign Language (ASL) by Deaf kids and filmed in ASL. Ten other winners will have their stories published in hardcover by Scribblitt and receive a “Once Upon a Sign” video from DawnSignPress.

The idea for this contest came from a common goal of providing tools that help kids improve their communication skills.

“I hope the collaborative contest with Scribblitt will help improve awareness of American Sign Language and bring hearing and Deaf children together just as our award-winning children’s video series ‘Once Upon a Sign’ has,” says Joe Dannis, President of DawnSignPress. The company is offering a free viewing of “Jack and the Beanstalk” from the “Once Upon a Sign” series in connection with International Week of the Deaf. To watch “Jack and the Beanstalk” between 9/19/16 and 9/25/16, go to VIMEO and use the password, IWD2016.

Teachers can access this video and some unique writing and illustration tools on Scribblitt.com to engage their students in a writing assignment or to enter this writing contest.

“We are thrilled to help spark creativity in all young authors, Deaf and hearing, in school or out, to write and publish their own books,” says Scribblitt founder, Andrea Bergstein. “We hope that teachers will use this opportunity to tie together lessons in writing and editing with building awareness for American Sign Language and Deaf culture.”

The contest launches via Scribblitt.com on September 19 in honor of International Week of the Deaf and continues through December 15.. Winners will be announced on or around January 16, 2017. To enter simply register for a free account at Scribblitt.com, login, write a story in “Write itt” and enter the story on the Scribblitt contest page.

For contest rules, click here

About Scribblitt.com

Scribblitt provides kids an online space and tools to help them write, illustrate and publish their own professionally printed hardcover books. For every book published, Scribblitt donates a book to a child in need.

About DawnSignPress

DawnSignPress publishes American Sign Language educational materials and looks to increase awareness of ASL and Deaf culture by bringing hearing and Deaf together to enjoy ASL.

Once Upon a Sign Wins Again!

The "Once Upon a Sign" series has a new award to it's lineup! Recently, Play on Words gave it's PAL award to "The New Three Little Pigs." To read their review, visit here!

DawnSignPress's Once Upon a Sign wins Best of 2015 award!

December 1, 2015 - San Diego, CA -- DawnSignPress's Once Upon a Sign series won the Best Series of the Year Award from the Family Review Center. Once Upon a Sign stories are American Sign Language (ASL) recreations of the following classic stories: The Stone Soup, Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Magic Mirror and The Three Little Pigs.

This latest award is one in a string of accolades the Once Upon A Sign videos received, including a Kids First endorsement and Dove Foundation’s #FamilyApproved Seal. This summer, San Diego International Film Festival awarded the Best Educational Film to DawnSignPress for The Magic Mirror. Awarded with Parents’ Choice Approved, The Magic Mirror is also the winner of the Bronze Telly Award 2015.

“I’m thrilled that Once Upon a Sign is getting recognition. It’s a big dream and goal to educate the mainstream about ASL. The more exposure to ASL, the more awareness there will be. That’s why we produced the series. The stories allow Deaf and hearing families to watch and enjoy them together,”said Joe Dannis, executive producer, Once Upon a Sign series.

About Once Upon a Sign

Once Upon a Sign re-creates classic children’s stories with modern themes performed by an all-Deaf cast entirely in ASL with voice-over and English subtitles. Each DVD also features “Fun Signs,” a recap of key signs from the story. Children can delight all over again in these timeless stories with new twists. Previews of Once Upon a Sign can be viewed at www.dawnsignkids.com.  DVDs of the signed stories are now available for $15.95 each and can be purchased at www.dawnsign.com.

About DawnSignPress

DawnSignPress, a Deaf-owned company, creates, develops, and publishes quality American Sign Language (ASL) videos and books. After 35 years of pioneering ASL products, DawnSignPress is still on the cutting edge of the educational and social media trends relating to ASL. Now, with ASL’s popularity in the mainstream on a steady rise, DawnSignPress looks to offer quality ASL to a wider audience. DawnSignKids is a division of DawnSignPress, which creates, develops, and publishes quality children’s ASL videos and books. For more information, visit www.DawnSign.com or www.dawnsignkids.com.

Josef Harrison
Marketing Specialist
josefh@dawnsign.com

DawnSignPress interviews ASL Teacher Lisa Hermatz

1. How did you first become interested in teaching American Sign Language?

At first, it was mostly a social habit that I had. When I saw hearing people around (in a signing community), looking lost, I would assist them with a few signs. Later, when I was working for Deaf West Theatre, we would have hearing actors who wanted to learn a few signs., I remember always enjoying assisting them. Eventually, TRIPOD, a privately funded school, which taught DHH and KODA children, hired me as one of their ASL instructors for their Family Sign program. (ASL instructors would go into the homes of these deaf children and teach their parents and families ASL [for one year], at no cost to the family.) I, at some point, became the coordinator of the program and ran it for ten years. While doing that, I found the job of a lifetime, teaching ASL at Pierce College. I am still there today. It’s been nearly 20 years! I also teach at Glendale Community College, and this May was my 15th anniversary with them.

2. Who along your path was really instrumental in your becoming an ASL teacher?

This is a tough question. I cannot name one person who was instrumental in my becoming an ASL teacher. I think it sort of “fell into my lap” and I “fell in love with it.” But, if I had to name the one person who believed in me in such a way (at the beginning) that has driven me to where I am today, I would have to say the lucky winner is Cindy Herbst. (She was the Modern Language Arts Chair at Pierce and was the one who hired me.) She is the one who kept the fire inside of me burning. Now, I have many people who continue to light this flame and are pushing me to obtain my Master’s in ASL Teaching. It would be unfair of me to name them for fear of missing the many others who are also my cheerleaders.

3. What are some of the most rewarding experiences in teaching ASL?

One of my happiest moments is when some of my budding ASL students return to visit me as professional ASL interpreters. I am always in awe at how they have taken the “seeds” from ASL 101 and turned them into full blooms on their own as they go through all other ASL classes. Other times, I have deaf students in my class who are oblivious to their identities and to ASL and the incredible community that comes with it. Witnessing these young Deaf individuals transform into proud, strong Deaf members of our community always touches me very deeply. I am always glad I can be of some kind of influence, for I wish I were given that opportunity when I was much younger. Role models are very important for these Deaf children growing up in families that may lack the resources in to raise successful deaf children. Other rewarding experiences are when I see growth in all of my students from the first day of level one until the end of level two. Many of them come out of their shells and open up with amazing abilities to express this beautiful language, not only using their hands, but with their faces and entire beings.

4. Do you think the prevalence of ASL interpreters at public events, like concerts, or programs like Switched at Birth on television or feature films like Wonderstruck, help in bringing the Deaf and hearing community together and if so, why?

Yes, definitely. I remember when Switched at Birth (SAB) was airing; there was an astronomical surge in enrollment in ASL classes. I would have up to 25 people on my wait list. The show was probably the reason for the rise. The interest level still seems pretty high even today, after the hype of SAB had decreased.  There are other events, as mentioned in the question above, that are also reasons for the uptick in classroom size. I also believe that since ASL is recognized as a full-fledged language, and ASL courses are accepted for second language requirements, people do have that option and ASL does seem appealing. Is it easy? Not always! Some pick it up so very naturally and others struggle.  One thing I love to tell my students is they need not travel across the seas to practice ASL, because it is here all over America and Canada.  Why waste a 2-year language experience on a one- time overseas trip?

5. Who are your favorite heroes of the Deaf world and why do you consider them heroes?

At one time in my life, I would say Alice Cogswell, for she woke the need for Deaf Education in America.  To think of the life of language deprivation she must have experienced, being the reason Gallaudet and Clerc established one of the first Deaf schools in America, and to have died shortly after her father’s passing, at such a young age, she probably had NO idea the profound impact she (and the others) would make on the Deaf Community today and on future generations. If I had to name a more modern hero, I would say all the Deaf Education teachers who are campaigning to give Deaf children the BEST education today as well as provide them all language tools necessary for success. I feel their passion, and I praise their dedication to their missions and careers. It is not an easy job! Another incredible figure I adore is Bernard Bragg. As much richness as he brought into the deaf world, he was a believer in everyone, his humility was profound.

6. You are one of the founders of KODAWest (Kids of Deaf Adults), and can you tell us more about it? What inspired you to be one of the founders?

KODAWest is one of the biggest (and proudest) accomplishments I have ever undertaken. Before I had children, I became friends with many CODA interpreters. Listening to their stories made me feel very connected to them because of my own upbringing.  I was raised in a mainstream program (as were my two sisters), where I felt like I never fit in. So, I had a strong affinity with the CODAs. When my nieces were born, I watched how their dual identities shaped them, and I taught them the term “KODA” so they could have some understanding of their little struggles. When I had my own daughters, I noticed it even more. I knew that sooner than later, I would need to immerse them in a community where they would feel they belonged and were embraced. We tried getting them into the KODA camp on the east coast for a few years to no avail. Undeterred, I knew something had to be done. After some searching, we realized there was no support system for KODAs on the West Coast. We knew there had to be a KODA camp and a year-round support system for these families. We established KODAWest 2005, and it was purely blood, sweat and tears and from the center of our hearts that we were able to provide this for our children and for generations thereafter and even for those from across the seas. We have had lots of community support as well. This is type of service is GREATLY needed all over the USA, even the world, for more than 90% of the deaf community have hearing children. For more information on KODAWest, check us out at www.kodawest.org.

7. You are very involved with the Deaf community such as being on the national board of Deaf Women United, and ASLTA planning committee. Is that your way of giving back to the community?

You could say it was a way of giving back to the community. I always try to be as involved as much as I am able. When I joined the board of Deaf Women United, it was only because someone nominated me.  Never did I realize that would change my world. I have gained not just lifelong friends from serving with some wonderful women, but I have gained so much awareness ranging from social justice to transformative justice to pro-tactile awareness. I have been so enriched, I am forever grateful for that nomination, which was made by DSP’s own Tina Jo! As for being a part of the ASLTA 2019 Conference Committee, I have always had a strong belief that if you are passionate about your career, then you should be as involved in all aspects of it as possible. Again, being a part of the ASLTA-LA, ASLTA-SoCal, the national level ASLTA, and the committee has given me so much. I am currently in school full-time too, aiming to get my Master’s in ASL Teaching. What I have attained thus far is indescribable. I am very blessed to be on this journey, and to be with amazing colleagues along the way.

8. What DawnSignPress products do you use, and which ones do you recommend for others to use?

I use all of their Signing Naturally curriculums, Units 1-6, 7-12, Levels 2 and 3. I have used their Fingerspelling videos. I was one of the sign language models in their ASL at Work curriculum. Movers & Shakers is another great product I have! The students love playing with the ASL Handshape Games cards!  I also have their Once Upon a Sign series of children’s stories told in ASL. That series was one of my most enjoyable and gratifying opportunities I worked with the actors (in this series) as their ASL master. I will forever be grateful to DawnSignPress for all of the opportunities they have given me. I hope to be fortunate enough to work with them again one day. Long live DSP!!

FREE Mother's Day Cards!

It's never too late to get your cards ready for Mother's Day! We got 4 different designs so you can pick your favorite or choose them all! Download, print and let your creativity run wild! Available in either JPG or PDF format!

*We highly suggest you download on a computer with access to printer*

 

Choose your format: JPG in first row, PDF in second row

     

 

Mother's Day #1 Mother's Day #2 Mother's Day #3 Mother's Day #4

 

Mother's Day #1 Mother's Day #2 Mother's Day #3 Mother's Day #4

 

(For JPG, click on the image you would like then right click and select "Save Image As..." to save to your computer)

(For PDF, click on the image you would like then click download from browser bar)

FREE Valentine's Day Cards!

Hey everyone, get your cards ready for Valentine's Day! We got 3 different designs so you can pick your favorite or choose them all! Download, print and let your creativity run wild! Available in either JPG or PDF format!

*We highly suggest you download on a computer with access to printer*

 

Choose your format: JPG in first row, PDF in second row

 

Valentine's Day #1 Valentine's Day #2 Valentine's Day #3

 

Valentine's Day #1 Valentine's Day #2 Valentine's Day #3

 

(Click on the image you would like then right click to save to your computer)

DawnSignPress Interviews Standout Educator, Amy Andersen

In 2018, ASL teacher Amy Andersen was nominated for National Teacher of the Year, click here to read about it. Prior to that, she was selected as NJ Teacher of the Year, click here to read about it. DawnSignPress wanted to learn more about Amy so we reached out with some questions.

1. How did you first become interested in American Sign Language?

When I was 7 years old, my mother took me to with her to a sign language class two nights a week. She was a teacher and had a new student who was autistic and Deaf, but did not have language. I remember immediately connecting with signing and practicing all the time - I loved those classes.

Once I entered grade school, I started playing the flute and by high school, I was going to Philadelphia every weekend for private lessons and traveled with an orchestra to Moscow, Russia. Playing the flute was a significant part of who I was and it was the logical path to take after high school. As one of only four flute players to be accepted in 1990, I was honored to be going to Indiana University.

But, while at Indiana University, I began taking American Sign Language classes, getting involved with Deaf community and volunteering in a kingergarten classroom of Deaf students. And I fell in love - again - it's what I wanted to do all the time and although performing for an audience was extremely gratifying, what I felt when working with children was different than anything I had experienced up until that point. There was something pulling me towards teaching.

I found the courage to follow my instincts. Holding my breath, I made that phone call home. "Mom, Dad.... I really want to be a teacher, and I want to work with Deaf children." My parents supported me because they had suspected this was going to happen for a long time.

2. Who along your path was really instrumental in your becoming an ASL teacher?

After graduating from Indiana University, I went on to Western Maryland College (now McDaniel) for a master's in Deaf education, one of only 4 hearing students in the program. The other graduate students were all Deaf, many of the professors were Deaf, most of the classes were taught in ASL, not spoken English. We went to Gallaudet University on the weekends and I became immersed in ASL and Deaf Culture, and I loved it. My Deaf classmates, friends, roommates were all mentors to me during that time on my path to internalizing ASL and understanding Deaf Culture. Those friendships and experiences are crucial to what I can now share with my students. I loved being a part of that community and I still remember the moment it dawned on me, "I get to do this for the rest of my life!" I've been part of the Deaf community for 25 yeras and teaching for 22 and I know it was the best decision I ever made.

I also know that nothing thrives in isolation and no one gets to this point without love, support and mentors along the way. When I look back, my greatest accomplishments can be attributed to a handful of strong women, who empowered me to expand boundaries and shaped the teacher I am today.

My mother showed me the person I wanted to be, how a teacher's loving demeanor gets the results we all want for students. She was constantly pushing the boundaries or walls of her classroom to enrich the experiences of her students - Bringing Life to Learning and Learning to Life!

In graduate school, Dr. Judith Coryell taught me how to be an ally in the Deaf community and how to inspire students. After being diagnosed with Leukemia, she trusted me to care for her recently adopted Deaf daughters. I learned about the consequences of language deprivation, and then the powerful transformation that access to language can bring. Because of that experience, my high school students understand why I demand the highest commitment from them.

My principal in Boston, Patrice DiNatale was tough, petite, and someone you couldn't help but respect. Opportunities I had to partner with the Department of Education or pursue National Board Certification was because she encouraged me to keep pushing myself, and she believed in me.

And now in Ocean City, Dr. Kathleen Taylor has been that influence! She trusts what I propose, ways I want to expand the ASL program and believes in the opportunities I want for my students. Without her appreciation, encouragement and support every thought would have remained... just an idea. I strive to be that strong, inspiring mentor for my students, giving back the passion that was given to me!

Most of all, my Deaf community has been instrumental in my personal growth as a teacher of ASL as well as the evolution of Ocean City's ASL program. As a hearing teacher, I immediately sought collaboration and connections with Deaf colleagues in the community because I knew as an individual who was teaching a language and culture neither of which I was a native member, it was paramount to work hand in hand with my local Deaf community and colleagues.

Their support was instantaneous and now in addition to colleagues, I have cherished friends and my students have supportive mentors, year after year. Leaders in the community like Michelle Cline, treasurer of the National Association of the Deaf, Khanh Lao, President of the NJ Association of the Deaf, Carrie Pogue, Vice President of NJAD and husband, Eli Pogue, former President of NJAD. I have had unconditional support from leaders like Rosemarie and Dan Chrisham, now on their way to becoming certified Teachers of ASL themselves. Annmarie Buraczeski and Steven Klinger, trailblazers in the community have also been incredible.

This collaboration, working side by side is why my students enjoy the successes they do and acquire the comfort they have communicating in a Deaf environment. My hope is that within the next year or two, I will have a Deaf teacher working with me, a necessity for a program that is growing beyond the capacity of one teacher.

3. If you could have, would you have gone to a college like Gallaudet, specifically for the Deaf and if so, what do you think it would have brought to you individually and as a teacher?

Yes! I still toy around with the idea of spending a summer at Gallaudet pursuing a doctorate! The benefits to someone pursuing a career teaching ASL is invaluable at a university like Gallaudet - learning in your second language, living within the Deaf community - it is the best way to acquire fluency and gain some understanding of Deaf culture.

I do go to Gallaudet a few times a year for mini-conferences with the Mid-Atlantic Coalition of Teachers of ASL, run by Dr. Jason Zinza, Amy Crumrine and Meg Vickers. Last month, I had the honor of being the guest presenter for teh day. The knowlege and expertise in that room was unmatched and I know I learned as much as, if not more, from the talented ASL teachers in attendance.

Fortunately, when I think back, my graduate school experience was similar to a college for the Deaf but on a much smaller scale. My classmates were all Deaf, only 4 of us were hearing. In between academic years, I worked at the Austine School for the Deaf summer camp in Vermont, where I was one of two hearing teachers among the entire staff.

At Western Maryland College, my roommate was Deaf, my friends were Deaf, my boyfriend was Deaf and most of my teachers were Deaf so I was signing more than I was talking. I remember waking up one night signing in my sleep - hands in the air in the middle of a dream.

I did my practicum at the Maryland School for the Deaf and then my internship and first teaching job was at The Learning Center in Framingham, MA. I started working there in 1996 right after the school launched the Bilingual/Bicultural initiative and it was an ideal environment for students and teachers. My experiences in graduate school and at The Learning Center are stories I refer to all the time with my students.

One story I always tell is about the summer when there were 6 of us sharing an apartment, 4 Deaf and 2 hearing, so we were a bilingual/bicultural apartment. We had two TV's side by side in our living room - both with the sound off and captions on. The boys could watch football or basketball and the girls watched soap operas, Day of Our Lives I think it was - which all sounds very stereotypical, but the point is because 3 of my roommates had Deaf families, this was a natural part of their own living environment and I was able to experience it, and then 20 years later share it with 150 hearing ASL students every year.

4. Being an ASL teacher, what did it mean to you to win Teacher of the Year for the state of New Jersey?

Becoming the 2018 NJ Teacher of the Year gave me the opportunity to talk to people all over the state about the value of ASL as a second language and also as a first language for deaf babies. Throughout my time as a teacher of the Deaf and teacher of American Sign Language, advocating has been as important to me as teaching. I know that the idea of fighting alongside Deaf mentors for every child’s right to language, culture and the right to be themselves is what initially drew me to teaching and what has fueled my passion for the past 22 years.

Becoming the NJ Teacher of the Year magnified my ability to successfully advocate for these rights and for that - I am most proud and grateful.

Winning Teacher of the Year as an ASL teacher has been about the right that every child has to their voice - no matter how different – spoken or signed. At every speaking event I was invited to, I told the story about a deaf baby named Cole, who was spending 10 hours a day in a daycare classroom where he could not access the language. At 18 months old, he was lost, disconnected and unable to communicate. The one hour a week I spent with his family, as his teacher of the deaf, was not having an impact – how could it? So, I started to use my teacher of the year voice to advocate for Cole. I asked that he have American Sign Language in his daily environment, a language he could acquire naturally because he could see it. The answer was No, that has never been done. So, in collaboration with Cole's mother and immense support from the local Deaf community, I used that "Teacher of the Year" voice for 3 months until NJ Early Intervention finally heard me and agreed to try something new. Cole became the first deaf baby in NJ, in the country, to have a Deaf para-professional in a daycare setting, five hours a day, five days a week.

In a little over a year, Cole went from being a child who could not communicate at all, to a 3 year-old who knows his colors, numbers and animals; a little boy who can fingerspell M-A-X, the name of his favorite toy dog.   

A little boy who can tell his mother when he isn’t feeling well or that he’s excited that Daddy gave him candy, which sometimes gets Daddy in trouble. He is a little boy who can communicate with his hearing twin, Ryan who now signs.

Advocating, knocking down barriers, ensuring that every child receives the education they deserve - that is what this year has meant for me. And the real gift is that my journey will not end simply because a year has passed.

At the end of June, I joined 12 adults and children, both hearing and Deaf, at the NJ State House to advocate for deaf children throughout the state. That day, the NJ Senate Education Committee voted unanimously, 5 – 0, in support of legislation that will provide language equality for deaf children, LEAD-K and the Deaf Child's Bill of Rights. On October 18th, we testified in front of the NJ Assembly Education Committee who also voted unanimously 14-0 in support of both bills.

On July 5th, I received a call from the NJ Budget and Appropriations office – the proposal I submitted with my colleagues Chris Sullivan and Michelle Cline to enhance NJ early intervention services for deaf babies was accepted. In coordination with the Department of Health, we now have $550,000 to establish the “Cole Model of Early Intervention” for deaf babies all over the state. If we are successful, NJ could potentially become a model for other states across the country. For me, being able to influence policy in this way is a lifetime dream, but I know it did not happen simply because I am the NJ Teacher of the Year.

It happened because THAT honor empowered me to use my voice to advocate for the right that every child has to succeed, not as a version of anyone else, but as themselves.

5. You went on to be one of FOUR nominees for our National Teacher of the Year. Has that experience changed you as an ASL teacher?

The experiences and opportunities I have had over the past year have most certainly had a significant impact on who I am as an ASL teacher, a fellow educator, a mother and simply as Amy Andersen.

As a National Finalist this year, I had the opportunity to visit Google headquarters, tour the White House and the West Wing, meet with federal legislators and spend a week at Space Camp, where I piloted a mission to Mars and survived a minute and 45 seconds on one of those 3G astronaut simulator spinning contraptions.

I have learned so much and forged lasting friendships with a truly exceptional cohort of state teachers all over the country – but most importantly, I learned that I am happiest when I am teaching. After my year as NJ Teacher of the Year, I chose to continue to lead from within my classroom - in fact I couldn't wait to get back!

My district and community are going through some exciting transformations as a result of my year as a State teacher and national finalist. With the encouragement and support of my superintendent, principal and Board of Education, Ocean City High School will be expanding our ASL program into what will be called an "ASL Academy".

Students are able to choose pathways like engineering, performing arts, and Teachers of Tomorrow to guide their course selections throughout high school. Starting Fall, 2019 students will be able to choose the "ASL Academy", which will include 4 levels of ASL, collaboration with our Teachers of Tomorrow program and theater department.

Our district has also begun preparing to offer a program for Deaf and hard of hearing students beginning in our primary school and eventually extending all the way through high school.

6. You've just been recognized as the receipient of the California Casualty Award for Teaching Excellence for New Jersey along with 45 other teachers in the U.S. and you'll be going to the NEA Foundation's Awards gala in Washington next year. What message will you bring to the other teachers and attendees about teaching ASL?

I begin with two goals for my ASL students each year: to understand that every individual has the indisputable right to communicate; and every voice has value, whether spoken or signed. As we learn about the interconnectivity of language and culture, I want students to understand we are stronger because of our differences, not in spite of them. I could say this all year, but for students to truly internalize the concept, I need to transcend the four walls of the classroom and help them experience language and culture in various authentic situations.

Collaboration with our Deaf Community creates dynamic, authentic learning opportunities. Once a month, our Deaf Community, students, and parents of Deaf children, sign and get to know each other at Starbucks ASL Chats. Students become immersed in our Deaf Community naturally, gaining lifelong mentors. I have developed even more opportunities for students to interact with the Deaf Community by inviting world-renowned Deaf artists to present painting parties, coordinating silent dinners with parents, welcoming diverse panelists to demonstrate the range in deafness, and coordinating videophone connections. Using our videophone, students have interacted with a Deaf survivor of the 9/11 attack, the Deaf Studies Director at Boston University, and a cyclist from the 2013 Deaflympics.

Deaf mentors provide practice sessions to prepare students for conversations with a variety of signers. Every year, Deaf chaperones join our Gallaudet University field trips where students, now the minority, are immersed on a campus rich with ASL and Deaf culture.

Teaching is an opportunity to inspire, and ignite students’ passion for ASL, although my responsibility doesn’t end there. I encourage every child to build a future they will love living.

I truly am proud of students like Megan, who interpreted for Michelle Obama, and Ashlyn, among the 5% of hearing applicants accepted to Gallaudet University. I succeed when students feel safe to be themselves, appreciate diversity in the classroom, and develop life-long empathy.

Recently, some of my students volunteered at the "ASL Connect " event at the NJ School for the Deaf, where they organized t-shirt sales, games, and ASL songs. After school, students sign with a local deaf toddler, witnessing the impact of the gift of visual language. Annually, current students, alumni, the Deaf Community and I collaborate on an original show to promote deaf awareness. Funds raised support student scholarships and national deaf charities that promote language equality. ASL students perform with deaf coaches and deaf children and learn, not because I teach them, but because they experience it. More than 100 deaf audience members from surrounding states attend this show year-after-year, helping students realize the value they bring.

Nearly 150 students learn ASL every year, (this year I have 176) transforming Ocean City into a “deaf-friendly town”, where people in restaurants, shops, and on the boardwalk, sign with deaf visitors, making an accessible environment. Because nothing thrives in isolation, I facilitate meaningful connections between students and the world around them. In collaboration with students, parents, colleagues and the community, we empower leaders, expand perspectives, and maximize learning for all.

7. What would you say to a student, Deaf or hearing, who wants to follow in your footsteps?

When I stand before my ASL students, I know some will do incredible things in and with the Deaf community.  For students who want to become teachers, I emphasize the privilege of being part of the journey of every child you teach. What an honor. But with this honor comes great responsibility because every day we, as teachers, are showing our students what we believe is a priority. We can choose to focus only on our content area, or to commit to the whole child. I urge them to decide their students will feel equity within a classroom free of judgment; to show students their humanity, and make relationships with students a priority. Above all else, to ANY student planning on becoming a teacher, I want them to realize they will have the power, the choice, to make kindness a priority. As teachers, we plan, we assess, we inform our instruction… and we advocate. We change lives one child at a time, removing obstacles and creating educational environments that allow students to succeed not as a version of everyone else, but as themselves. My students are learning and excelling in American Sign Language, and for that I am exceedingly proud. But, I am even more proud - grateful - that these students are evolving into exceptional human beings.

8. We're wondering if you have a favorite DawnSignPress product?

I love the Signing Naturally curriculum Units 1-6 and 7-12 and most of all I LOVE that DawnSignPress has made the videos available on-line. Students don’t use DVD’s anymore and most of their computers don’t even have DVD drives so the fact that I can offer a curriculum with an online video option is essential. I just started teaching at our local university, Stockton University and I am using the Signing Naturally curriculum with my beginning students there as well.

In an effort to expand the reach of ASL in our district, my superintendent recently hired a teacher who is Deaf to run a class for teachers in the district who want to learn ASL. Kathy Reese was hired and recommended the book “Signs For Me”. This is another fantastic product from DawnSignPress that we are loving!

Simply Real Moms Holiday Gift Guide for Kids 2018

We are featured on the 2018 Holiday Gift Guide for Kids with Simply Real Moms!

Visit here to read all about it!

The FINAL piece of the puzzle is now here!

The Effective Intepreting Series: Simultaneous Interpreting from ASL is now here!

Combine a workbook filled with research-based exercises, and almost 3 hours of ASL video material, and you have a WINNING combination!

Developing linguistic flexibility in both English AND ASL is the key to effective interpreting! EIS gives you the tools to ensure student success!

BONUS FOR TEACHERS!

New online resources

  • Sample syllabus for each volume
  • EIS Quick Start Guide

In addition, all teachers receive FREE ACCESS to the digital student library!

Click HERE to visit the EIS series page!

FREE Father's Day Cards

It's not too late to get your cards ready for Father's Day! We got 3 different designs so you can pick your favorite or choose them all! Download, print and let your creativity run wild! Available in either JPG or PDF format!

*We highly suggest you download on a computer with access to printer*

 

Choose your format: JPG in first row, PDF in second row

     

 

Father's Day #1 Father's Day #2 Father's Day #3

 

Father's Day #1 Father's Day #2 Father's Day #3

 

(Click on the image you would like then right click to save to your computer)

Learning American Sign Language

American Sign Language (ASL) is one of the fastest growing languages of study in the United States for a variety of reasons. What could be some of the reasons why people want and decide to learn ASL?

The reasons vary widely from personal to professional. Most of the ASL students give their reason as “wanting to be able to communicate” with their Deaf relative, neighbor, or co-worker.

High schools offer ASL as a foreign language study along with Spanish, Japanese, and other languages. Taking ASL meets the high school graduation requirements for a foreign language. Some of the students take ASL because they think it improves their acting abilities or enhances their visual acuity. There have been reports that students take ASL because they wanted to date someone who was Deaf. Sometimes students who have been recognized as mainly visual learners think studying ASL will benefit them. Some of those students always wanted to learn more ASL since learning fingerspelling as a child.

College students are required to take a foreign language and many consider ASL an interesting choice. Serious students of ASL may even choose their college to major in Deaf Studies, or Deaf Education. Those who continue to study ASL and Deaf Culture may eventually decide on careers that involve the ability to speak ASL such as teachers of deaf students or community/educational interpreters.

Sometimes professionals like EMTs, police, firemen, or emergency responders decide to learn ASL because it will enhance their ability to communicate with Deaf people they come across in their dealings with the public.
Parents with newly-identified Deaf babies and Deaf children could decide to study ASL as the language of choice for their family. Parents believe that speaking ASL is a sure way for their Deaf child to acquire language, and fluent ASL is a wonderful path to eventually acquire English as a second language. Teaching ASL signs to hearing babies has also become a proven way to increase early communication between parents and babies and is more widespread and popular than ever.

Clearly, there is more than one reason why students take ASL. People take ASL for fun or necessity, and get a glimpse into a fascinating culture with the prospect of meeting people they might not meet in their daily lives.

History of American Sign Language

Although the first record of a signed language was in the early 17th century, signed languages probably existed as long as there were civilizations. Sign languages had existed whenever there were deaf people.

Even though American Sign Language (ASL) has strong roots in French Sign Language, it is deeply influenced by many events preceding the more formalized sign languages that flourished since the 1700’s. The most prominent event was the publication of Sign Language Structure in 1965 by William Stokoe, a linguist, showing that ASL was a bona-fide language.

The first known book on sign language was published in 1620 by Juan Pablo de Bonet. While a treaty for teaching “mute people to speak,” Bonet’s book also published a manual alphabet to improve communication with deaf students.

In 1755, Abbe Charles-Michel de l’Epee of Paris founded the first public (free) school in Paris for deaf students. Many of l’Epee’s disciples founded schools for deaf students in their respective countries throughout Europe using the Langue des Signes Francaise (LSF).

In 1815, Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet travelled to Europe to study methods for teaching Deaf students. At a public demonstration in England, Gallaudet met Abbe Roch-Ambroise Sicard and Jean Massieu who then invited him to visit their school in Paris.

While in Paris learning the teaching methods using LSF, Gallaudet asked Laurent Clerc – a deaf teacher who was also a graduate of the school -- to come to America and help him set up a school for deaf students. Laurent Clerc accepted Gallaudet’s invitation to travel to America. During the 60 days of sailing to America, Gallaudet taught Clerc English while Clerc taught Gallaudet LSF. (Laurent Clerc, A Profile)

In 1817, Gallaudet and Clerc opened the first of their schools in Connecticut. It was called the Connecticut Asylum for the Education and Instruction of Deaf and Dumb Persons (now called the American School for the Deaf) in Hartford. By the end of the first year, there were 31 students from various New England cities which included students from Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts and Henniker, New Hampshire.

Martha’s Vineyard and Henniker were two full-fledged communities where deaf and hearing residents of the island were communicating in a form of signed language. “Among the possible sources of the present American Sign Language would be Clerc’s LSF, the homesigns students brought from home and from some small scattered Deaf communities, pantomime, and new signs generated in the setting of the school.” (Journey to the Deaf World).

Today’s ASL was thus strongly influenced by the American School for the Deaf (ASD). Deaf students who graduated from ASD would go to different states to set up new schools for deaf students and would thus pass down to the next generation of deaf students the “contact language” that has become today’s ASL.

By 1900s, the nationwide network of residential state schools was completed. Deaf people were now given the opportunity to be with other Deaf children and Deaf adults. They could share their sign language and cultural experiences without any communication barriers.  The relationships they would form in these residential schools would last a lifetime.

First ten state-supported residential schools in America
Name of School Location Date Founded
The American School for the Deaf Hartford, Conn 1817
New York Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb New York City 1818
Pennsylvania Institution of the Deaf and Dumb Philadelphia 1820
Kentucky School for the Deaf Danville 1822
Ohio Institution for the Deaf Columbus 1827
Virginia Institution for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb Staunton 1839
State of Indiana Institution for the Education of the Deaf Indianapolis 1844
The Tennessee Deaf and Dumb School Knoxville 1844
North Carolina Institution for the Deaf and the Blind Raleigh 1845
Georgia School for the Deaf Cave Springs 1846

 

By the time of Clerc’s death in 1869, over 1500 students had graduated from the Hartford school, and there were 30 state-supported residential schools. In 1864, Gallaudet University -- the first college for the Deaf in the world – was founded. The establishment of residential schools and the college ensured that ASL flourished.

Deaf adults were first hired as teachers as well as sign language models for Deaf children at school.  This was changed later, in the early 20th century, when the oralist movement had taken hold in the educational system. Alexander Graham Bell led the movement in opposing the use of sign language in the education of deaf children.  As a result, many Deaf adults were forced out of the teaching profession or demoted to being teachers of vocational classes.

Today, the trend toward dedicated, residential education for deaf children has been replaced by a trend to integrate deaf children into local public schools. This movement became predominant after the passage of the All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 (today called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act [IDEA]).

Even though the long tradition of residential schools as the main centers of cultural transmission has been altered, ASL has still boomed.

As a result of Stokoe’s 1965 linguistic study of ASL, within a short time, the perception of ASL changed from that of a broken or simplified version of English to that of a complex and thriving natural language as functional and powerful as any found in the oral languages of the world. The instruction of ASL as a “foreign language” became popular and ASL’s appeal has only grown. Currently, students can take ASL to meet their high school or college requirement of two years of foreign language study.

The ASL in use today is a result of 195 years of deaf families and students passing down from one generation to next the language that has become one of the most used languages in the United States of America.

Thoughts from Tina Jo #2

How surprising that board books are relatively new invention. Yes, only from early 1980s when this kind of book became available. Publishers noticed their success in bookstores that they expanded their offerings by converting popular picture books into this new format. As it is SO important to read books with children, even to babies, you may think they are too young to understand, but babies that see more words in their infancy have a better vocabulary as a toddler (or preschooler?). It is a great way to cuddle and bond, and by adding books into your routine your baby will learn reading is special and something to look forward to! Reading to babies can be tricky sometimes. You might find they are too wiggly and don’t want to sit for a book, or they just want to grab the book out of your hands and eat it. I have found it has been easier to read to my babies right after they have a full tummy, before naptime or bedtime. The more you read and sign to them, the more they will love it —and I promise you that they will start bringing you books any time of the day to read to them. Board books are nice because they are usually condensed and just the right length for their short attention span. Pages are thick and easier for them to flip. They also double as a nice chew toy (just kidding about this part!). Board books aren’t just for babies either. Indeed, when you think about it, board books are remarkable and magical thing like a “multimedia” device, all at once so colorful, pictorial, inexpensive, mobile, durable (and chewable!). It beats the iPhone hands down!

Building baby's first library is one of the most important AND fun ways to prepare for their arrival. Though there are plenty of awesome and iconic classic books that should be stacked on bookshelf from the get-go, your baby won’t be ready to handle their delicate pages at first. This is where board books come in! When it comes to reading and signing to the littles, this is it.

Need tips for reading to your deaf child? This is a great link, http://www3.gallaudet.edu/clerc-center/our-resources/shared-reading-project.html

Happy reading and signing!

Thoughts from Tina Jo Breindel

As children get settled back into the classroom, we are spending more time getting prepared, inspired, and motivated for the school year! This brings me to: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I may remember. Involve me and I learn,” as quoted by Xun Kuang.

My parents had no knowledge of Deaf people when they first learned I was Deaf. They invested time to research what my life could be, as they sought information about how to raise me, a Deaf child. They got involved in my life and learned what it is to be Deaf. Wish they were around to share their story. I view parents and teachers as partners in education. When both are inspired to facilitate learning, children are the winners! My parents treated me like any other child. I was different only because I was Deaf…and still am. My signing ASL at school wasn’t just about communication, my parents also saw I was acquiring a complete language. It was wonderful when I had access to classroom content and never had to worry about missing anything. I had the pleasure of learning. This is the best “secret” about ASL, shared here so more people will be aware of what it takes to raise a Deaf child.

I hope parents are inspired to learn ASL with their signing Deaf children. For people new to ASL, know that learning a language takes time. It’s different for everyone as it may take one a year or others five years to get the basics. All I know is now is the time to learn. Just remember how long it took you to learn to ride on your bicycle. Just keep at it.  Keep learning. It takes time. One sign at a time. You're making progress, one by one. Make time to attend an ASL event, take an ASL class. When you see Deaf people gather, just watch the conversations. It isn’t rude to observe. Learning ASL is fun! You learn, and you become involved.