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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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Early Language & Long-Term Outcomes

By ASL, Deaf Community, Early ASL Acquisition, Early Intervention, Information, Research

The goal of the presentation is to consider how well Deaf Education systems are supporting deaf students’ language and academic growth. The webinar will review current research addressing three questions: 1) How likely are deaf children to become fully proficient in a spoken language like English? 2) How likely are deaf children to become fully proficient in a sign language like ASL? and 3) How likely are deaf children to have age-level academic outcomes? The presentation includes analyses of data specific to CSD Fremont looking at the long-term effects of early language experience on academic outcomes. One of the key findings is that with early intervention, hearing parents can reliably support age-expected language skills and academic achievement in their deaf children.

Visual Language and Visual Learning (VL2)

By ASL, Bilingual, Bilingual Education, Cultural & Medical Perspectives, Early ASL Acquisition, Early Intervention, Early Language Development, Information, Research

The purpose of the Science of Learning Center at Gallaudet University on “Visual Language and Visual Learning (VL2)” is to advance the Science of Learning specifically involving how aspects of human higher cognition are realized through one of our most central senses, vision. We seek to determine the effects of visual processes, visual language, and social experience on the development of cognition, language, reading, and literacy for the benefit of all humans. We especially pursue new perspectives on these learning processes through the widened vantage point of studying deaf individuals and sign language as a window into the flexibility and structure of the human mind. We study these learning processes in monolinguals and bilinguals across the lifespan in order to promote optimal practices in education in both formal and informal settings.

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Semilingualism and Monolingualism

By ASL, Bilingual, Early ASL Acquisition, Early Language Development, Information, Language Deprivation, Research

colourful bubbles with different languages

What does monolingualism mean?

Being monolingual means knowing one language. Many people who grow up in Canada may be monolingual and know only English or French. In contrast, many Deaf Canadians may be bilingual because they use two or more languages, for instance, they might use ASL and the written form of English.

What does semilingualism mean?

In order to become fluently bilingual, with strong language skills in two languages, a child must have early access to a first language or “mother tongue”, preferably from birth. When children are given late, infrequent or inadequate exposure to two or more languages, they may become semilingual rather than bilingual. When a child is semilingual they seem to not have a full grasp of any language, and tend to mix the vocabulary, grammar and structure of the two languages together so that the child may not be fully able to express themselves in any language. In order to reap the benefits of being bilingual, a child must be given the opportunity to develop a strong first language.

What does semilingualism mean for Deaf children?

Since more than 90% of Deaf children are born into hearing families who may not know ASL, it is crucial for parents to make the extra effort so that Deaf children are exposed to a signed language (ASL) as early as possible in order to have a strong first language that is visual and 100% accessible. By being given frequent and consistent exposure to ASL through communication with family members, videos, and socializing with other Deaf children, a first language can develop which is the first step to developing strong language and critical thinking skills. By having ASL as a first language, it will be easier to acquire English because the child already has knowledge of language structure and has the ability to connect ideas. Without frequent exposure to ASL and with only limited access to English (since the child does not have full access to spoken English), the child is in danger of never fully acquiring either ASL or English and becoming semilingual. By making the effort to expose your child to ASL as frequently and as early as possible, your child can thrive and learn how to communicate in two languages- ASL and English.

References:

  1. Cummins, J. (1979). Linguistic Interdependence and the Educational Development of Bilingual Children. Review of Educational Research, 49(2), 222-251.
  2. Grosjean, F. (1992). The Bilingual & the Bicultural Person In the Hearing & in the Deaf World. Sign Language Studies 77, 307-320.

Assessing ASL use in “Mouse Trap” Video

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

This video clip was submitted to IHP ASL Services who assessed two Deaf children’s use of ASL in a conversation about trapped mice. IHP ASL Consultants use a battery of ASL assessment tools while monitoring Deaf and Hard of Hearing children’s ASL language development.

Qualified IHP ASL consultants facilitate, motivate, and empower families to provide a language-rich environment for their child to acquire ASL. IHP ASL consultants also monitor the child and family’s ASL language learning progress using standardized outcome-based metrics. The language learning goals of the family are to be developed, revised, and updated regularly to meet the outcomes of the family’s Communication Development Plan. The provision of IHP ASL services is family-centered and coordinated with the rest of the Ontario Infant Hearing Program team.

Common Errors by Young Children Acquiring a Signed Language

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

Adam Stone explains that no matter what language a child is learning, be it spoken or signed, they will make mistakes. Here, Adam goes into detail about three common mistakes children make while learning a signed language, and rest assured, these are all part of the normal language acquisition process.

 

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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