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Nyle DiMarco Foundation – Parent’s Corner

By ASL, Cultural & Medical Perspectives, Deaf Ecosystem, Deaf Role Models, Early ASL Acquisition, Early Language Development, Information, Language Deprivation, Organizations, Research

Banner for The Nyle DiMarco Foundation website - background image of Nyle DiMarco standing in front of a blue background with a circle pattern

The Nyle DiMarco Foundation is a non-profit organization that exists as a national philanthropic resource for all organizations, institutions and individuals working to improve the lives of every Deaf person in the world.

Current Priority Area: Deaf Children and their Families

The Foundation aims to improve access to accurate, research-based information about early language acquisition–specifically, the bilingual education approach. Through the early intervention process, the child’s language and literacy development should be the focal point.

Nyle and the Foundation are guided by the principle that every child deserves love and language.

Because the reality is that Deaf children can grow to be anything they want: firefighter or police officer, defense attorney or brain surgeon, elementary teacher or college professor, software developer or the creator of the next major social media outlet–or even an internationally recognized supermodel, actor, and dancing phenom. The key to unlocking a Deaf child’s future is acquiring language at an early age.

Nyle’s story provides validation: he was born into a multigenerational Deaf family and was taught American Sign Language and English from birth.

Through the Foundation, Nyle wants to work with parents and families to ensure Deaf children receive the same opportunities he did.

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Definitions & Identities

By Deaf Community, Deaf Culture, Identity, Information

The words "Deaf and Hard of Hearing" in rainbow-coloured text. The "i" in "Hearing" is dotted with a ladybug.

The following is an excerpt from the National Association of the Deaf :

The Deaf and hard of hearing community is diverse. There are variations in how a person becomes Deaf or hard of hearing, level of hearing, age of onset, educational background, communication methods, and cultural identity. How people “label” or identify themselves is personal and may reflect identification with the Deaf and hard of hearing community, the degree to which they can hear, or the relative age of onset.

For example, some people identify themselves as “late-deafened,” indicating that they became deaf later in life. Other people identify themselves as “deaf-blind,” which usually indicates that they are Deaf or hard of hearing and also have some degree of vision loss. Some people believe that the term “people with hearing loss” is inclusive and efficient. However, some people who were born Deaf or hard of hearing do not think of themselves as having lost their hearing. Over the years, the most commonly accepted terms have come to be “Deaf,” and “hard of hearing.”

According to Carol Padden and Tom Humphries, in Deaf in America: Voices from a Culture (1988): we use the lowercase deaf when referring to the audiological condition of not hearing, and the uppercase Deaf when referring to a particular group of Deaf people who share a language – American Sign Language (ASL) – a culture, [and community]. The members of this group have inherited their sign language, use it as a primary means of communication among themselves, and hold a set of beliefs about themselves and their connection to the larger society. We distinguish them from, for example, those who find themselves losing their hearing because of illness, trauma or age; although these people share the condition of not hearing, they do not have access to the knowledge, beliefs, and practices that make up the culture of Deaf people.

“Hard-of-hearing” can denote a person with a mild-to-moderate hearing loss. Or it can denote a deaf person who doesn’t have/want any cultural affiliation with the Deaf community. Or both. The HOH dilemma: in some ways hearing, in some ways deaf, in others, neither. Can one be hard-of-hearing and ASL-Deaf? That’s possible, too. Can one be hard-of-hearing and function as hearing? Of course. What about being hard-of-hearing and functioning as a member of both the hearing and Deaf communities? That’s a delicate tightrope-balancing act, but it too is possible. As for the political dimension: HOH people can be allies of the Deaf community. They can choose to join or to ignore it. They can participate in the social, cultural, political, and legal life of the community along with culturally-Deaf or live their lives completely within the parameters of the “Hearing world.” But they may have a more difficult time establishing a  satisfying cultural/social identity. Deaf Life, “For Hearing People Only” (October 1997).

The term “hearing-impaired” is no longer accepted by most in the community and is not a politically correct term. The term “hearing-impaired” is viewed as negative as it focuses on what people can’t do. It establishes the standard as “hearing” and anything different as “impaired,” or substandard, hindered, or damaged. It implies that something is not as it should be and ought to be fixed if possible. Every individual is unique.

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Myths About Your Deaf Child

By ASL, Bilingual, Bilingual Education, Early ASL Acquisition, Early Intervention, Early Language Development, Information

A LEAD-K and Nyle DiMarco production created by Convo.

There are many misconceptions about how a Deaf child acquires language. We’ve seen many of them: sign language hinders your child’s ability to learn English; parents must be fluent in sign language in order to teach their Deaf child. What’s the truth? Five common myths about your Deaf child, resolved.

Visit The Nyle DiMarco Foundation's YouTube Channel

How Early Intervention Can Make a Difference: Research and Trends

By ASL, Bilingual, Bilingual Education, Cultural & Medical Perspectives, Early ASL Acquisition, Early Intervention, Early Language Development, Information, Research No Comments

Can early intervention really make a difference? Join Dr. Beth Benedict for a webinar on what research is telling us about the importance of early intervention. She will share ways in which the field is evolving and explain what professionals in the field can do to make a difference in areas related to:

  • Visual language and learning
  • English language performance
  • Social-emotional, cognition, and communication development
  • Family involvement and deaf role models
  • Setting high expectations

About the Presenter:

Benedict is a professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Gallaudet University. She is also the coordinator of Gallaudet’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Infants, Toddlers, and Families: Collaboration and Leadership Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate Program. She has published numerous articles and is a widely sought-after lecturer on diverse topics, including early intervention, early language acquisition, and family involvement.

Benedict is currently the chair of the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing and a representative on the Council on Education of the Deaf. She is currently serving as president of the American Society for Deaf Children, the oldest organization of, by, and for parents of deaf and hard of hearing children (www.deafchildren.org). In 2010, she received the prestigious Antonia Brancia Maxon Award for EHDI Excellence at the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Conference in Chicago, along with numerous awards. Benedict holds a doctorate in education from Gallaudet, a master’s degree in educational counseling from New York University, and a bachelor’s degree from Gallaudet in psychology. She is also the proud mother of two deaf daughters.

Visit Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center's Website