Time is of the Essence! Market ASL Now!

First published on January 21, 2008 – and I am reviving it again with some edits. This is in response to New York Times’ Op-Ed piece on Deaf Schools, and the timing for the community to take an action. There is the Facebook group led by Sheri Farinha asking for the community input. It is called, “Deaf Community Action: Open Poll for Ideas to Create A Powerful Message.”

The idiom, “time is of the essence”, means it is important to work as quickly as possible!

We NEED to market American Sign Language immediately! We need to market the dual-language approach for deaf babies! No more infighting now! Let’s put our energies to promote and market American Sign Language NOW!

You may wonder what is the point of this blog?

Read carefully about the survey…

AG Bell and StrategyOne conducted a 15-minute telephone survey (in 2006) of 816 expectant and new mothers nationalwide. Half of those surveyed, 400 were expectant mothers, and 415 were mothers with a child age 1 or younger.

This research findings indicate that new and expectant mothers show a severe lack of awareness about the opportunities for children with hearing loss to learn to listen and talk. This is a concern, given that most babies learn language by hearing it long before they can talk. Nearly 70 percent of mothers and expectant mothers in a recent survey said they were not sufficiently informed about spoken language as an option for children with hearing loss. (It may depend on how this survey was created, and I am sure that 70 percent of mothers were not sufficiently informed about ASL too.) Yet 98 percent of the women surveyed said they would be inclined to explore this option if their child were diagnosed with hearing loss. (Of course, parents would want to help their own baby to hear again… that is their natural response.)

AG Bell Association is using this research to spearhead a very aggressive marketing strategy. They launched the “Hear from the Start, Talk for a Lifetime” campaign. They agreed that this campaign will use a community-based approach to engage parents and other stakeholders with AG Bell chapters (2010’s 990 tax form filed by AG Bell said that they don’t have chapters… hmmm.. Check www.guidestar.org for more information.) and supporters making personal connections that are so critical to truly raising awareness. The campaign includes:

* Developing parent and professional education resources
* Driving advocacy efforts at national and grassroots levels
* Broadly disseminating the latest hearing-loss research
* Engaging media through a public service announcement and other efforts
* Offering continuing education programs and training to hearing-health and education professionals
* Developing standards of excellence and certifying hearing-health and education professionals through the AG Bell Academy for Listening and Spoken Language®. (That means certifying AVT therapists.)


Now, time is of the essence, and we must market American Sign Language right now! AG Bell has a very clear mission, and indeed, their campaign is definitely making waves.

We can do the same, and we are making waves. Bigger waves than AG Bell than you think. Look at ABC Family’s Switched At Birth TV show making young viewers fascinated with ASL. (Thanks to Sean Berdy, our Deaf James Dean!) We need to expand more by making sure ASL is available to deaf infants/babies.

Obviously – we need to do a community-based approach through vlogs/blogs/social media tools to engage hearing parents of deaf babies and other stakeholders, such as state associations of the Deaf, ASL chapters, and ASL supporters making personal connections that are so critical to truly raising awareness.

That includes:

1. Develop a strong educational resource (via website) for parents and professionals to learn about American Sign Language, as a bona fide language for deaf children whose are visual learners. Kudos to Gallaudet University’s website, Why Sign? Link here.

2. Driving advocacy efforts at national and grassroots levels – start with making more and more ASL-centric vlogs and blogs about dual language learning processes, literacy, storytelling, ASL mentorship, etc… Kudos to several individuals and organizations who made this happen, and we need to build a strong infrastructure by training ASL mentors, and a centralized place where literacy, storytelling and teaching about dual language learning process available for the wider audience. Clerc’s Children is one example. Link here.

3. Broadly disseminating the latest American Sign Language or Sign Language research, especially visual learning and visual language approaches in education. We desperately need the most recent research, preferably ones that are published after 2008. Gallaudet University’s VL2 website is the place to go.

4. Engaging media through a public service announcement and other efforts. We need to raise funds to produce advertisements in Parents/Baby magazines, pamphlets, newspaper advertisement, PSA commercials, more professionally-done videos, pushing positive role models in media. We need to be aggressive with that. DeafRead.com does make a big difference in some hearing parents, and in fact, two bloggers using cochlear implants are seriously considering to learn American Sign Language! WOW! As of 2010, we need to spend our monies and energies for this because of real economic threat to close Deaf Schools.

5. Offering continuing education programs and training to Deaf community to learn more about American Sign Language, and recruit ASL mentors. Establish ASL mentorship program.

6. Develop standards of excellence and certifying ASL mentors through an organization that NEEDS to be established IMMEDIATELY! Should we set up a professional non-profit organization certifying ASL Mentors? We already have RID as an organization giving out certifications for interpreters. ASLTA?

Then, time is of the essence!

Amy Cohen Efron

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33 comments on “Time is of the Essence! Market ASL Now!

Good! This is precisely what the Deaf community should do, as I’ve pointed out before on my website, in promoting ASL.

I really think this need to start at the hospitals where parents find out for the very first time that their child is deaf. Equal information that also includes ASL/Bi Bi philosophy. One other way to get message across is use Ad campaign – these tend to air on TV commercials, bill boards, etc. Raise awareness. MONEY is also a must. Obviously AGB has LOTS. Other ideas would be to go to legislators and make it an requirement that hospitals provide all information to parents, not just a few…but all. The final decision, rests with the parents. Who’s going to spearhead this? DBC?


AGBell and General Volt – Yes, yes, y e s

Amy, you got it – let me paste one of your sentences –

“We need to study AG Bell very closely.”

Very closely I did over the past years – I once stood before these words inscribed onto stone wall – “for the increase and diffusion of the promotion of the teaching of speech to the deaf” – in Washington D.C. few miles away from Kendall Green, on the yellow walls, exterior, of Volta Bureau in Georgetown. I always thought this very topic is worthy of an article, an treatise, a book, a something the deaf people need to do on, to improve the lot of deaf children.

What you posted here is important – the essence of the push forward the deaf community will need to confront AGBell (part and near the brain-soul of Octopus Volt) and, slowly, over the years make them our collaborators in deaf education in America and finally make deaf children bilingual and bimodal, then we see increase in their literacies and become participatory well-adjusted citizens in communities everywhere.

Make the, the AGB+ people, learn sign in order to increase their effectiveness in teaching speech to the deaf child, our deaf children . . .

Aye, Amy, way to go . . .

Your citizen journalism is top-notch! Thank you for your efforts!

It reminded me of my comment I left in Jay Krieger’s post, “Are Blind Better at Politics?”:


Here’s my comment:


It’s very true in another countries like Italy and Japan. The blind organization in Japan is very powerful, even more effective than the Deaf political groups (it’s subjective – but even Deaf drivers get free GAS coupons from the government!). In Japan, everywhere you will see yellow strips serving as the guide for blind to navigate, meaning they don’t have to memorize locations, just following the yellow strips.

In Italy, the blind receive “SSI” twice as much as Deaf receive from government.

Why? They are damn effective at applying political pressures at various political levels.

That’s why I strongly believe we should invest in “Deaf” lobby office in Washington, D.C. to push for the laws to be passed in Congress.

We can afford a building in Washington, D.C. (GUAA members already spent 1 million on renovating Ole Jim building.)

Let’s put all the organizations in one place like: GUAA, NAD, and Deaf “lobby” in one building on East Captiol so it’ll serve us better in the long run. Why? We can network with other lobbyists which will help us better for our gains. With their support, we’ll become stronger.

Deaf lobby organization will push for better captioning laws for HDTV media. Deaf lobby would be effective in pushing increased captioning for online web clips. How many times do you hear that NAD is working with FCC? Go to the top level and get the ‘damn’ laws passed so FCC will enforce the laws, so we’ll not waste our time dealing with FCC.

The truth is that we need to invest more time and energy to get ourselves more skilled at politics, activism and of course, leadership.

The other thing about Deaf lobby is that it will relieve burdens from NAD so it will not consume their time focusing on political issues, so they will have more time focusing on important issues: rebuilding the youth base, reaching out to the local organizations, finding ways to use technology to their advantage, etc.

I would suggest Marvin Miller to head the Deaf “lobby” group and I think he’s a damn good candidate (I never meet him)!

I so want to be able to advocate for sign and speech but I need to see some real studies that the sign does not hinder language performance in Deaf children – not hearing children as was evidenced in Jamie Berke’s blog a while back. And that children in total communication programs are not at a disadvantage with respect to those in a maintream environment in regard to acquiring language. I know many stories where sign has served as a bridge for language development and I am learning even more from these blogs. I would like to be an advocate for both, but I need some help to get there – it’s difficult to speak about something passionately that is not your experience…As far as information, it would be so easy to create a brochure of different communication methods in deafness to be distributed just as we have done regarding the ci. Who could organize such a thing? A hearing parent needs access to all information and for that hearing parent to accept your ideas, you need to be willing to accept hers. That “you” is a collective despite everyone’s individual opinions. The accepting voices need to outweigh the condemning ones in general, obviously everyone can think what they want, but for the overall well-being of the community, a policy needs to be created to truly move forward. Jodi


I agree with you 100% as well as with the commenters especially Rene Visco and cnkatz. It is all about marketing, and do note how AGBell uses positive marketing, even though many of us do not agree with their philosophy and tactics.

Deaf people, and some parents who learned the hard way like my folks, know the truth about AG Bell, but the new hearing parents with deaf children want the illusion of “hope”, not the truth.

I have always emphasized how important it is for the hearing parents to embrace the deaf community, ASL & their stories so their own deaf children can feel accepted by both worlds.

At the same time as the deaf community need to show warm, loving, safe avenues for the new parents to find and visit the deaf world. Marketing ASL is effective if it comes genuinely from our heart. Passion for compassion built into marketing cannot be defeated.

It seems to me that the majority of the deaf community agree ASL is the answer for deaf babies, with or without CIs, but we are not yet on the cutting edge with marketing. I am with you Amy– now is the time!

Julie Rems-Smario

Thank you! it is about deaf consumerism at its best. We need to do something about it. We have been infighting over 128 years and it is high time that we re-evaluate our energies and allocate all energies toward the betterment of our deaf community.

AG Bell will not achieve and we will make sure of that! Theirs reek of fraud and audism!


Hello Amy, yes it is time matter now. I had been opened my two business before. What did I learn about marketing market research and strategic communications could be free? Go thru your local university to provide the students to develop the marketing materials.(it called Outreach Marketing and Research) In my mind, why not ask Gallaudet if they can provide and help you to have their students to develop the market research and strategic communications about ASL and English and develop the brochures if possible. I am sure that Gally can ask a grant to develop like that.

Response to Jodi –

Where do I start? First, I say, “thank you.” I really enjoy your direct, but open, style of communication. Judging from your comments, people who advocate for inclusion of ASL, along with a family’s choices about technologies and habilitation therapies to develop listening and speech skills, have their work cut out for them. Their experience, it seems, has never been enough. People want “proof” and “scientific research” that validates their experience. They are outnumbered. They are a minority. They have never been as well-financed as their medical-scientific-professional counterparts. However, they are persistent, persevering, and passionate people . . . generation after generation.

Some research and information resources:



Some organizations that support inclusion of ASL:

http://deafbilingual.blogspot.com/ and http://deafbilingualcoalition.com/

Every state has an early hearing detection and intervention (EHDI) program that is supposed to provide information about early intervention – including information about language acquisition, communication, and education – to families with newly-identified deaf or hard of hearing babies and link those families to early intervention resources and services in their state. See http://www.cdc.gov/NCBDDD/ehdi/ and http://www.infanthearing.org/. In my humble opinion, these EHDI and state early intervention programs need to do a better job with respect to ASL information, resources, and services. They need more involvement with and including members of the ASL deaf community.

Funds must to be identified and generated (i.e., grants, foundations, sponsors, etc.) to conduct research on ASL in early intervention, to promote ASL as a partner in early intervention programs, and to provide the ASL resources and services families need. Good intentions and volunteer efforts are not enough. Money is needed to turn good ideas into positive actions and professional resources.

I don’t have the answers, expertise, education, or resources to make this happen. I do what I can with what I have . . . my own experience. This is just my two cents.

Mother of Bilingual Deaf and Hearing Children

ASL is also relaxing for all deaf/Deaf people. It is enjoyable.

To #12: Not every state has an EHDI program in place. Last year, there were five states that still didn’t have that….this year, there are four, I believe.

I think one of the many keys is with the hospitals, definitely – they’re the ones who set the tone for parents’ response to their children’s hearing losses.


this is awesome and i thank u big time for providing this info

jodi – it seems when u are using the word “language” you automatically mean a written / spoken language (in your son’s case Italian). for many of us when we see the word “language” we automatically think (if speaking of US Deaf folks) ASL and English both

if u dont mind – in the future could u specify you are talking about a spoken/written language and not a signed language

i know it NO WAY is it your intention to convey “language = spoken/written form only” but by using language as you and other CI non-signing moms have been doing – you are unintentionally communication a superiority / preference / high prestige for the one type of language over the other

whereas others have been advocating for bilingualism (spoken/written language AND natural sign language)

furthermore – why is the burden of proof put upon Deaf folks to “prove” learning a sign language does not HARM a child’s spoken/written language development?

why are not the parents’ asking for the CI AVI programs that advocate a binary approach (spoken language only) to prove that using a visual language also with one’s child is harmful?

overall i do TOTALLY agree with all the parents and the Deaf Community folks that say we need to:
1. have more assertive, positive, and effective early bilingual language intervention programs

a common complaint of parents is – ‘HEY WHERE ARE THESE PROGRAMS???” and another common concern are “HOW GOOD ARE THESE PROGRAMS?” that is a really important and legitimate concern

2. while i have not studied CI and AVI programs indepth – i suspect one of the KEY elements of their “success” are:
a. how aggressive the training sessions are and how critical parent involvement is

b. my guess is if someone designed SOUND bilingual program and could implement it with the same amount of training sessions and best use of videotaping, computer feedback etc (used technology to accentuate and promote visual acuity and language acquisition, etc) and got the parents to be heavy involved also – we would see a huge jump in Deaf children’s SL and written/spoken language



it is a HUGE outrage to not have developed more effective bilingual programs for infants

part of the problem i believe has been that parents have not been demanding such (i know why they havent been due to what they have been trained and told and hostility met when trying to access Deaf / ASL services etc)

i have also seen that when parents (Deaf and hearing) have tried to advocate for sound bilingual services for their infants and young children the EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM – within Deaf schools and mainstream schools have been very oppositional and not supportive of this

bilingualism in the US has not been given a proper chance at all

we will need a lot more than glossy brochures and videotapes – we will need systematic changes and for Deaf education to consider a few pilot programs here and there that do study the model of AGBell Assoc and AVI

i do think they have some very effective practices

another problem for bilingual programs is that ASL is often seen as the “last resort” option by parents or the “oral failures” dumping ground and children often enter a bilingual program long AFTER the critical language acquisition period

and here by language i mean they have passed the critical period for both a natural sl and a spoken/written language. once they have passed it – doesnt mean its IMPOSSIBLE to acquire language skills in either or both but it does mean it is MUCH MUCH MUCH harder and few can reach fluency in either after such a period has passed

thus we have a high number of d/Deaf folks who are semi-lingual – due to hodge podge methods being tried out on them in various places, in various ways, by various people

its a SHAME

yes – time to do something now

also i think it is time to start demanding that the FDA conduct an unbiased longitudinal study on CI and their impact on the physical, linguistic, social, and emotional development of infants and up

who ever conducts the research much offer full disclosure

i wonder if it could be considered to have a big company (i.e. relay service??) buy the work and then allow it to be provided for free with the company’s logo and stamp on it that it is providing the work for free as a community service etc (sponsor like race car smile)

just a suggestion – i do understand completely that folks need to start “putting their money where their mouth is” – the Deaf Community really needs to start stepping up to the plate and INVESTING money in its own community instead of expecting hand outs

however, i really dont want folks to be in the BUSINESS of selling information that should be public

if we think about the OLD NAD films – the motion picture project that Roy Stewart coordinated at George Veditz’s request – they raised $5,000 from the Deaf community to produce those films (1910 to 1920) – that is really impressive

right now its hard to get Deaf folks to donate to a cause cuz so many come and go – we need a trust worthy place that we know is gonna do high quality work and stay true to its mission

again amy – biggest biggest thanks

im all for setting up an early bilingual (natural sign language and written/spoke language) intervention program for Deaf babies and their parents


patti durr

Can you please advise and more feedbacks for me, other Deaf and Hearing parents who have Bipolar Disorder disease? Will that be safe for us to get our Deaf children to get the cochlear implant with the only Deaf Oral Education alone or get bilinqual education? I am not sure to get my Deaf child to get the cochlear implant yet because I am not sure if I could be able to take care of the risk.


There are many talented filmmakers such as Rene Visco who can work with you, Amy, with your brilliant insight for marketing. Rene’s film about audism is a great example of his marketing effort to add the word “audism” to our vocabulary. He created social change. Just imagine what he can do with ASL marketing along with your insights.

Keep on vloggin’!

Julie Rems-Smario

keep up with your great work i support market asl
asl is beautiful

Two heads of Amy and Rene Visco working together for marketing ASL would be terrific. Carpe diem!

For those wanting to see some research, data, or applications of a bilingual/bicultural education and language approach, I recommend researching the success of such programs in Europe (e.g., Sweden). A keyword search should bring up plenty if links.

As “the mother of deaf and hearing bilingual children” suggested above, the information at the Laurent Clerc Center (Gallaudet) website is excellent.

I also recommend reading Mary Koch’s work. She has an excellent Power Point and information online about “choices in deafness.” She has a very balanced view which is pro-communication…not pro-speech and not pro-sign language.

Do a keyword search also for National Deaf Education Project. It describes the state of affairs of communication in deaf education in America.

Personally, I have been involved with Deaf people and deaf education for 25 years. I have not documented my experiences or written a book, but I sure have seen what works and doesn’t work…I’ve seen some very frustrated deaf children whose potential was all gambled on speech and hearing technology. By the time it was determined that this was not an optimum avenue, it was too late and the damage had been done (language delay, cognitive delay, academic stagnation).

Sign language is a true language and the longer one waits to learn or acquire it, the more the critical window for language acquisition closes and fluency is more difficult or impossible to achieve. I hear so many parents say, “Oh, when he is older or he is 18 years old, if he wants to learn to sign, that is fine.” It is rare to become fluent in a language after age 18. This is not psycholinguistically sound. The younger one learns a language, the better.

If a deaf child has a propensity for speech, it will become evident as most deaf children spend most of their time in hearing environments surrounded by speech (home, school). However, as a linguist and a parent, I would never want to take the gamble that my deaf child will be able to function with speech only.

I would not wait until my deaf child is 4, or 6, or 10, 15, or 18 years old before introducing him to full access to a natural human language. As a parent, I expect no less than completely normal language acquisition with appropriate linguistic milestones for my child. If this means playing to his strengths (his vision – visual language) before his speech kicks in fluently (if ever), then so be it.

I’d much prefer to see a deaf child fluent in ASL and able to carry on a normal, intelligent conversation through sign language than see a deaf child struggling to speak and “listen”, and who is language delayed and lacking world knowledge. I have seen the latter entirely too much in my lifetime. With all of the linguistic and psycholinguistic data on signed languages we have now, I had such high hopes for the progression of deaf education. It seems in some areas, we are taking steps backwards for many deaf children.

If a child is progressing normally with hearing technology and speech (that means on par with other hearing children at age 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc…), then that is fine. But for those who do not progress normally, we are playing a dangerous game that has been around, in America at least, for 128 years. The game is Oralism. I have nothing against speech and hearing if a deaf child has that capacity, but to exclude sign language and cross one’s fingers that their child will be that “speech only” success story, is one that I have seen fail too many times. The notion of AVT blows me away. Communication is not suppose to be difficult…it isn’t supposed to be work…it isn’t supposed to be a guessing game for years. Yet, this is what we make it for many deaf children.

The bilingual/bicultural program in Sweden is mandated by law. It is government policy. It is not the parents who are allowed to choose…it is truly the deaf child who chooses as by law they must be exposed to the spoken language of the country as well as exposed to the signed language of that country. Many deaf children choose both. Because they have a full language (sign language, with which to have 100 percent access to information and normal cognitive development), these students have been shown to take a great positive interest in speech as a second language. Also, literacy in the country’s written language is not an option…it is a requirement.

I hope you find some good information in the links above. Thanks for listening 🙂

I agree with you, Amy, that marketing of ASL and its benefits for deaf babies is a crucial strategy.

However, fundraising needs to come in first to finance the marketing. What about a fund appeal to alumni of Gallaudet, RID, and private schools for the deaf? What about obtaining funding from businesses with whom the deaf have been a large customer base, such as the relay services, Sprint, etc., the coffeehouse industry such as Starbucks, and large deaf-run corporations? What about funding from the various education organizations that support sign language as part of the deaf child’s education?

The deaf community needs to find an expert fundraiser who knows this issue well and who can implement a fundraising program to finance the ASL marketing.

Do you actually think you can “force” parents of deaf children to sign? Do you believe it is your responsibility to have our government require this? Is that your mission, or is it to offer bilingualism as an option? Educate parents on all options?

we wont force it on parents but we should try to level the playing field..

if insurance and/or medicare would pay for avt, then why not asl tutoring or mentorship ????

I think it is quite clear that we cannot force parents of deaf children to sign. Most never do, never try, unfortunately. I don’t anticipate this changing anytime soon. What I would like to see is the end to the monopoly that the medical community has on parents and their deaf children, pushing everything except sign language. I would like to see interventions for families of deaf children which give them real choices and truly balanced information. Interventions which involve deaf professionals as well. I’d like to see balanced information which presents the bilingual successes and information that presents positive information about the benefits of sign language and the importance of normal language development and the consequences of language delay.

Bilingual education should be the norm for deaf children. Much fewer deaf children would fall through the academic and literacy cracks if we had more bilingual education and educators of the deaf truly fluent in the child’s language. I think of deaf children not as children who don’t hear, but children who have a strength in the sense of sight. A sense which can be exploited at an early age so as to avoid any delays in development.

If a deaf child demonstrates the ability to function normally without sign language and is on par with normal language development and on par with regard to literacy and academic performance with regard to hearing peers, then certainly mainstreaming is a valid option for such a child.

I am in no way suggesting the elimination of speech, lipreading, hearing aids, etc. My husband is Deaf. He wears one hearing aid which does assist him in his interactions at work. But, he also has the ability to sign which has given him easy and complete access to his education and at times, participation at work. He is literate and speaks quite well. I’m sure he would say that speech is an asset, however, given a choice, he would prefer to use sign language. There are no guessing games there. His sign language did not hinder his speech ability nor his desire to be able to speak. I’m so sick of that myth I could just barf.

I work with a deaf teacher who works for a public school system. She is intelligent and literate. Her speech is not so great, so she chooses not to use it. Her husband is deaf and he is an aerospace engineer at NASA…let me say that again…yes, an aerospace engineer at NASA. He uses sign language and doesn’t speak well, so he chooses most times not to use his voice. This has not prevented them from being successful, professional adults. The key was, they had language (sign language)…the key is also that they are literate.

With all of the text technology today, deaf people have MANY opportunities and options if they are literate. Computer technology is a wonderful avenue for them in many many respects. Video technology is improving too.

All I am saying is, if a child is not progressing normally with speech and trying to “listen,” for gosh sakes get them language that they can ACCESS as soon as possible. If a child is 9 years old and intelligible mainly to you, but not so much to others…if that child cannot carry on a normal conversation that any 9 year old would, if he/she is struggling in school, delayed in literacy, if they are missing information because they cannot hear it well…then please do not listen to a speech therapist who insists that “you have to keep plugging away”…”don’t let the child be lazy”…”just keeping working and you will see results soon”…”don’t sign because he/she will want to take the “easy” way out.”

As long as parents buy this propaganda, then I and my colleagues will continue to work with language delayed, cognitively delayed, illiterate deaf children who do not graduate with a high school diploma, who do not go to college, who do not get a good job, who do not reach their full human potential.

I can’t force anyone to do anything and I sure as heck would not force my child to communicate in a way that is no less than 100 percent effective.

For parents of CI children or oral children functioning normally, I am in no way addressing you. For those who have a 2 year old, 4 year old, 7 year old, 9 year old, etc. child who is not communicating at a normal level with speech only and listening only, I hope your research guides you to what will be effective for your child to have normal language and cognitive development before it is too late. Yes, this option would be visual language.

Also…the basic sentence structure of ASL is
SUBJECT VERB OBJECT …just like English. Other structures in ASL are more complex and are marked by additional linguistic markers (non manual signals) when they do not follow this structure. Much of ASL can have a positive transfer or effect as a deaf child learns English as a second language.

If it lends me any credibility here, I have a master’s degree in ASL Linguistics from Gallaudet University, I’ve known deaf adults for over 25 years, and I have worked with deaf children in public school systems for about 20 years. I’ve just about heard it all and seen it all.

I appreciate the opportunity to express my views and experience 🙂

How do I find the direct link to AGBell’s marketing firm- StrategyOne? I tried several different names in the search engine, and none of them came out stating that AGB is with StrategyOne.

Hi Moon,

Here’s the direct link which will take you to the information where AG Bell worked with StrategyOne.


Look at the bottom of this page (blog), you’ll see the paragraph explaining about the reliability and validity of the research.

Amy Cohen Efron

Got ASL? As in Got Milk? advertisements ; )

Wow, very good pointers! Amy, thank you once again for bringing us to light in seeing Deaf child’s human rights to use ASL. It is a HUGE stepping-stone to deliver a consistent message dedicated to preparing for child-centered human rights fundamentals for language access and education.

I want to endorse the concerns you all shared. Is writing to your legislator a waste of time? No, I find writing a letter (similar to voting) leaves more influence. Many people vote; few write letters to the legislators. Have you “heard” about the Congress that awarded 175k to National Cued Speech Association (NCSA)? More than THIRTY House Representatives supported NCSA’s request and over a DOZEN Senators, including Sen. Edward Kennedy whose office has worked with the NCSA since 2005, in pursuing appropriations project approval. NCSA received a $325,000 grant from the US Department of Education Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation in 2005 to conduct a national training program.

Geez, it is our job to make collaborative relationships with the Congress AND all other excellent suggestions you listed on this blog. They include health care providers, hospitals, childcare programs, and speech/language pathologists and audiologists, social service agencies, and organizations, not to mention individuals like us all. A good strategy might be to use a grant writer to prepare a boilerplate case statement that describes the cause for recognition of language access and Deaf education that need funding.

We need to find grant writers who have the skills in building a compelling case such as this, but it costs! No matter how carefully and strategically one prepares a proposal, grant writers will ask for upfront compensation for their time. Very few professional grant writers donate their services beyond a few cherished projects that are dear to their hearts.

Can we find grant writers who are willing to volunteer? Another option is to collaborate with an established nonprofit organization that would be interested in co-sponsoring such project. Most foundations are hesitant to support new charities because of concerns about fiscal accountability. How tempting it is to have DawnSignPress jump in to reach out as much as the public deserves. Every charity that contacts us, they request donations, and we have donated that they equally deserve. Moreover, it is so hard to do for every request. As we come up with new ASL products that are pressing, it costs to do such before we can extend donations for a great cause as this.

We would want to look into American Society for Deaf Children (ASDC) that represents interests politically, and provides information on parenting a Deaf child. ASDC in existence since 1967 has a national office with a toll-free hotline. Professionals working with the family can refer parents of newly identified children to ASDC. Among the many services, ASDC offers are a Parent-to-Parent Network to aid new parents, the Parent Deaf-HH discussion list, and a Parent’s Connected Network for keeping up with legislative issues. ASDC also has a speaker’s bureau of people who make presentations on a variety of topics…this may be a great place to get help (perhaps with grant writing?).

I want to add that the California Dept. of Education (CDE) ensures Deaf infants and toddlers are promptly referred to the appropriate program. CDE formed “Best Practices for Early Start for Infants and Toddlers” funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Grant. This was the impetus behind the establishment of newborn hearing screening programs nationwide. I read that since the start-up of the California Newborn Hearing Screening program, the enrollment of infants and toddlers who are Deaf (or hard of hearing) in California’s Early Start programs has more than tripled! Imagine how the parents felt…. at a loss for ASL! We need to do this more locally statewide, nationwide, and worldwide?!

How about having the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) involved? UNESCO is a specialized agency of the United Nations established in 1945. Its purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting collaboration through education, science, and culture in order to further respect for justice (for people with disabilities), the rule of law, and the human rights and fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the UN Charter.

As the saying goes, “a small step, but a giant LEAP” to have such task to create awareness of ASL through marketing techniques; we demand to see that it prospers for generations who GOT A S L…
instead of GOT MILK! (Sorry for the lengthy e-note!) ~Tina Jo

[…] my previous blog, “Time is of the Essence! Market ASL Now!” emphasizing the importance about marketing American Sign Language to the mass audience? I am […]

Jodi, here is a good link: http://www.rit.edu/ntid/educatingdeafchildren/ If you look up Marc Marschark, he mentioned many times that sign language does not hinder speech. And it never stopped many Child of deaf Adults whose first language is ASL from learning speech.

But ASL is a culture language (and the one of the language that deaf people CAN use no matter what level hearing they have. Nothing can stop a deaf from accessing a language), like Spanish or French so it will take some time to learn English – rather spoken or signed. But it is worth learning both language!

oops, I mean “Rather spoken or WRITTEN” not signed.

but anyway, ASL empowered deaf for many reasons. And those who are unable to or chose not to benefit from Cochlear implants, hearing aids, auditory brainstem implant, or whatever, They deserve the freedom to make many friends as possible and not just a few people who know ASL because some people are afraid of ASL.

Good luck organizing an ASL promotion rally using the deaf community. Seen the results from AFA’s protest? Youll only find a small handful of folks to help you. Med-el is coming back to USA. You got a double threat ahead of you and you got basically nobody to fight for your language. Medel has plenty of people to fight for them.

Who’s been screwing you all over? Ridor! He’s on the take and AFA just tried to bite the hand thats been feeding him.

Now you know the size of your crisis.

My regret to mention this as I mention before…too late. We were too late to promote ASL as we should have done it in the earliest as possible after DPN. There are opportunities to promote it but this is 2011. Demographic has changed. Digital hearing aids was the biggest change which helped them to hear like hearing peers when they had them on before the age of 5 beginning of 1998. Profound deaf birth rate is only under 2000 per year annually. Cochlear Implant compensates more than 50% of profound birth rate per year basis. What will 2020 demographic result be like? You be the judge.
It’s impossible to make half a million dollars from deaf community but only VRS can. This is the only business demand that you will ever make in six figures.


I don’t know if you realize it, but the comments above you are all from 2008.

This came from the site you linked:

“Which approach will best support literacy? Spencer and Marschark (2010) found that we don’t really know – literacy is not quite that simple. As with most education, there will be individual answers for individual children.”

You support ASL? By all means advocate it, however be careful how you market it as not to turn parents away. Respect choices parents make. Advocating for ASL rather than advocating for ASL FIRST because we have to remember, not all deaf/hh are created equal. And, most of all, do not belittle parents.

Noelle Bell’s article points out to typical reaction parents get from the deaf community:

“My mother saw insularism, ignorance, and anger in the ASL Deaf community when she reached out for help”.

This is not the first time we are seeing this, I’ve seen similar reactions parents have when they reached out to the deaf community over the past four years online.

Bad move. Too late? I don’t know. I believe Sign Language will always be around…but, as I’ve said elsewhere, time’s a wastin people! Chop! Chop!


I should ask why you did not write
“I so want to be able to advocate for sign and speech but I need to see some real studies that the speech and lipreading do not hinder language performance in Deaf children – not hearing children as was evidenced in Jamie Berke’s blog a while back. And that children in total communication programs are not at a disadvantage with respect to those in a signing environment in regard to acquiring language.”

Your bias is showing. I’ll grant that it is likely not conscious. I will also say again that, based on personal observations of a fairly large number of deaf children, teens and adults, that not signing with a deaf infant is language deprivation, and leads to language delays. Remediation of language delays (“overcoming delays”) does not mean language delays have not occurred. The time and effort to remediate language delays takes time and energy away from other developmental tasks and may have a cascade effect.

You have stated in your blog the reasons for the choices you have made. I appreciate the difficult situation in which you found yourself. I also stand be my observations.


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