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Adults with Hearing Loss Learn Sign Language with D’yann Elaine’s New Book Series-Seniors Sign, Too!

D’yann Elaine is a leading American Sign Language (ASL) educator, interpreter, consultant, author, producer, and the founder of Sign with Me, Inc. She is an expert in connecting the hearing and Deaf communities—her work has blazed new trails in this field. D’yann holds a doctorate in divinity, two bachelor’s degrees, and two master’s degrees. With her passion for social equity and inclusion, D’yann’s goal is to help people expand their perspectives and focus on their abilities instead of their limitations.



D’yann has dedicated over two decades of her life to teaching others. She is the executive producer of the ASL Emergency Preparedness DVD series and the Unheard Voices talk show and the author of the Seniors Sign, Too! book series. Her vision is to inspire a new generation of signers and make a positive impact by unifying communities through language.


In March of 2022, I received an email from D’yann. She said she had seen my book online and loved it!

That was music to my ears. D’yann shared her plan to write a series of ASL books for older adults with hearing loss. As she described her ideas, I got that warm feeling stirring in my soul—D’yann shared my passion for using ASL to help people from all walks of life.


To my delight, she asked me if I would be the project manager for her new book! I had never been a project manager for a book before, and I had just recently self-published my own book—but after much prayer and debate, I said yes.


D’yann’s vision for this book series is to empower older adults with alternative voices, which can promote healthy aging after hearing loss. She researched and learned that one-third of seniors face hearing impairment (Institute of Medicine [US] Food Forum 2010), which creates communication breakdowns for both their loved ones and their caretakers. It can be a disorienting experience to go through. D’yann’s books aim to provide these individuals with a bridge to communication. It may look different than how they’ve communicated before, but using ASL can be a way to regain some of the joy of connecting with others. This interview shows D’yann explaining the benefits of Seniors Sign, Too! in her own words.


A year later, the first book was ready for publishing. Seniors Sign, Too! was born. The first book focuses on the ASL alphabet. Also available is a set of companion

flash cards and linked instructional videos. Truly, these books are a great way to jump into learning ASL!



Part of our process included finding an illustrator. It was important to us to find someone who was both artistically skilled and familiar with Deaf culture. We found the perfect match—I connected with Belgium-based artist Filip Heyninck through social media. He and his wife, who are both Deaf, worked together to help us create the art for Seniors Sign, Too! Check out the video below from Filip and his wife, Katrien Van Laere:


Video by Filip Heyninck and his wife, Katrien Van Laere (Caption: of a man in a dark-colored shirt next to a blond woman wearing an olive green shirt. In the background is a colorful picture framed in a light blue frame.)


I am honored to have been a part of the Seniors Sign, Too production! D’yann was a pleasure to work with. Our conversation began in the spring of 2022, and the first book launched in March of 2023.


I spoke with her about her vision and experience. Read on to learn more about the mission of Seniors Sign, Too!


Kathleen: An idea generally comes out of a need. The inspiration for My Monster Truck Goes Everywhere with Me came from my three-year-old grandson and his love of monster trucks. The need came before that when I discovered that Deaf children and ASL were not represented in children's books. D’yann, what was the need you saw that inspired the idea for Seniors Sign, Too!?


D'yann: During the pandemic, like many, Sign with Me, Inc. needed to pivot to providing online classes to accommodate its summer ASL music sessions. We had the distinct pleasure of hosting a course with a group of aging adults for one of the premier leading senior facilities. My original thoughts during one of the online teaching sessions were, “What can we do to continue their engagement and learning beyond this platform and one-time enrichment course?” The answer to this question sparked the conception of the Seniors Sign, Too! book series, an illustrated ASL self-help book series written with the senior perspective in mind. It’s fun, colorful, has relatable characters, nostalgic memories, and it’s simple to read.


Kathleen: D’yann, when you called me and shared your vision, I knew it was good. I got that warm feeling stirring in my soul. While learning ASL, I thought of how sign language could benefit seniors, but few people saw the vision like you did. How did you find me?


D'yann: I remember it so clearly. It was the weekend of July 17th. I drove down to San Diego to visit a dear friend to celebrate her fiftieth birthday. I decided to stay overnight because I stayed to help with cleaning up. That morning, around four a.m., I was awakened from my sleep with a burst of inspiration to write. I knew this was going to be a major download. As I scurried for a pencil and anything I could write on, the vision and clear outline for Seniors Sign, Too! came pouring into me. In five hours, I had all twelve books outlined!


On the drive home, I was prompted in my spirit to find partners. I called Debbie [Green], who had joined our team on our Unheard Voices production project. I shared the vision. She was in! I was then prompted in my spirit to search Instagram for partners. I came across My Monster Truck and you! I directly messaged you, and you responded immediately with interest in meeting. Two contact calls and both God-ordained, and here we are and continue today with bringing this amazing solution to the world.


Kathleen Marcath (that’s me!)

Debbie Green, a great team member, contributed her attention to detail and research along with her personal magical touch to this project.



Kathleen: Tell us more about finding the illustrator. What was it about Filip that won you over?


D'yann: Finding Filip and Katrien… They live in Belgium and use Flemish Sign Language, which is nothing like ASL. Their daughter, Kim, and son, Dalvin, are interpreters. Dalvin saved the day as he heard and spoke English (he’s a CODA). He is fluent in Flemish, English, and Flemish Sign Language.



We asked for twelve characters. Fillip is a dynamic artist who created over forty characters with unique personalities, including two pets. You will want all twelve books in the Seniors Sign, Too! series when you learn more about this. The relationships and the storyline connect the characters in the series. Seniors Sign, Too! introduces Bob, Sahily, Amanda, and nine other friends to teach older adults, families, and friends their ABCs in ASL.


Renowned Deaf Illustrator Filip and his wife Katrien Van Laere.



Filip is an extraordinary cartoonist and illustrator. For more information about this amazingly gifted artist, follow him on Facebook and Instagram, or visit: www.filipheyninck.com


I love how the book turned out—it has so much to offer seniors, caregivers, and families. Seniors Sign, Too! (ASL Alphabet) (book #1) is packed full of language and tools to keep communication open. It’s so much more than simple ABCs. For each letter, there is a word, like U, for UPSET. In the accompanying illustrated story, look for the characters using other signs. It’s a fun book for every age. What are the plans for the next books in the series?


If our viewers want to contact you, what is the best way to do that? Where is the first book of Seniors Sign, Too! (ASL Alphabet) available?


Here are a few other interviews with D’yann:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qpa4H7bNde0


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYui1glt-dI




We would love your feedback on this and all our blogs. Leave a comment or question to help us serve you better.


filipheyninck.com. “Home | Filipheyninck.com,” n.d. https://www.filipheyninck.com/.


IdeateTV. “Seniors Sign, Too! - Dr. D’Yann Elaine - DeafNation Expo 2023,” May 9, 2023. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYui1glt-dI.


Institute of Medicine (US) Food Forum. Providing Healthy and Safe Foods As We Age: Workshop Summary. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2010. 2, Size and Demographics of Aging Populations. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK51841/


“Seniors Sign Too! – Empowering Older Adults with an Alternative Voice Promoting Healthy Aging After Hearing Loss,” n.d. https://seniors.signtoo.net/.


Sign With Me Inc. “Sign With Me, Inc.,” July 26, 2023. https://signwithme.org/.


Sign with Me, Org. “Seniors Sign, Too! KKLA Interview ‘A Passion for Christ’ Pt 2- 04 22 23,” May 11, 2023. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qpa4H7bNde0.


Sign with Me, Org. “HearZero Seniors Sign, Too! 60 Sec. No Voiceover,” February 10, 2023. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCLrL7P3cqE.





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