Updated: Oct 12
It is now September, Deaf Awareness Month. A ASL Picture Books, this is a great time for us to look back on the work we have accomplished and what is yet to come.
ASL Picture Book’s blog began in September 2020. In its first year, our blog shared information about ASL being the perfect second language with often overlooked benefits. We also shared 5 methods to easily get started and great resources on fingerspelling. We also gave shout-outs not only to the team who made My Monster Truck Goes Everywhere With Me possible (including a warm appreciation for Diana Campbell’s amazing work) but also to the fantastic people who connect with our mission to make sure every child is heard (Kimberly Sanzo, Maureen O’Shaughnessy…)
I would like to take this moment to reflect on the avenues we have explored in the past year, since September 2021.
ASL Picture Books is strongly dedicated to education about ASL and how deaf or hard of hearing children acquire language. We trongly believe that every child should have a chance to be heard so they can find their unique gifts and offer them to the world.
We began by looking into Strategic and Interactive Writing Instruction (SIWI), an approach to writing that considers the bilingual nature of DHH students. Thi method fosters the development of language and communication skills in both languages simultaneously. One of the tools used in this method is the language zone, a tool where a teacher and a student work together to establish meaning in many different ways. In ur article on the subject, you can see this process come to life with our examples using lesson plans!
Our blog articles also looked at how the structure of ASL differs from English. This is a great place to start if ou don’t know much about ASL! If ou happen to be a parent or a teacher of a DHH child, you can begin to understand why this child makes certain mistakes in English. Nat rally, this led us to consider the unique challenges that DHH learners have to face in language acquisition. Giv n the fact that 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents, many of those parents don’t speak ASL. The efore, the parents have to learn at the same time as the child.
We also encouraged you to learn sign language and teach it to your preverbal infant! Sig language for babies is really helpful because it allows your child to communicate their wants and needs before they can actually speak!
And finally, we put the spotlight on 10 courses to step up your ASL game this year! Wit September being Deaf Awareness Month, it’s the perfect time to dive into a course to learn (or continue learning) ASL! If ou know of a resource that we haven’t listed, don’t hesitate to reach out!
This year, we’ve also taken an interesting dive into scientific research about the acquisition of sign language and the differences between the brain of a deaf person and a hearing person. We f und out lots of neat stuff!
In an article entitled “Brains Are Better With Sign Language,” we reviewed scientific studies that conclude that sign language enhances cognition for hearing, hearing signers, and deaf native signers, young and old, regardless of biases, socioeconomic status, and stereotypes about sign language. How xciting is that?!
The following month, we reviewed the science around the acquisition of sign language for a child who uses Cochlear implants. The opic is hotly debated, and we wanted to see a bit more clearly! So have a look and let us know if we’ve succeeded!
Finally, we closed off this series with a look at how a deaf person perceives the world differently from a hearing person, a CODA(child of a Deaf adult). Deaf people have a different way of making sense of the world around them. It i commonly thought that Deaf people are more intuitive. We l oked at the science behind this, asking ourselves how the brain of a deaf person perceives external stimuli and how this is different from a hearing person’s experience.
We would love to continue looking at science-based articles on those topics, so if there is a topic you’d like us to look into, or an article you want to share with us, please don’t hesitate to contact us right away!
A big topic for us this year was the representation of DHH folks in literature. We ha e looked into some amazing authors who bravely championed inclusivity by including deaf children in children’s books and/or who shared their own experiences of deafness in a hearing world.
We had the immense honor of interviewing the successful author of Mighty Mila, a wonderful children’s book about Katie Petruzziello’s daughter Mila, a strong girl who wants to be a big kid (and happens to wear Cochlear implants!). We co tinued our exploration of Deaf representation and the subject of sound through an article about Can You Hear a Rainbow? by Jamee Riggio Heelan, a wonderful book about a Deaf boy named Chris who explores the meanings of sound and friendship.
We also explored the beautiful world of Raymond Antrobus, a Deaf poet and author of a children’s book. Durin this exploration, we took a close look at Raymond’s experience of growing up deaf in a hearing world. Final y, we had the immense pleasure of looking at the amazing work of Deaf author Sara Nović. Much like Raymond Antrobus, Sara’s journey of self-acceptance was key to her path forward, leading her to the coveted status of New York Times bestselling author!
It’s simply amazing how these authors managed to capture unique experiences, making the world a little more diverse and a little more understanding. If yo would like us to take a look at other representations of deafness, we would absolutely love to hear your suggestions!
Updates on ASL Picture Books
And finally, we’ve celebrated some amazing milestones for ASL Picture Books and My Monster Truck Goes Everywhere With Me this year! Last N vember, the Mitten put the spotlight on My Monster Truck Goes Everywhere With Me to celebrate the one-year anniversary of its release with a great interview! Learn ll about how I first discovered ASL and how I decided to write children’s books in ASL!
In another Mitten article, I was interviewed alongside two amazing children’s book authors who found their knowledge of ASL boosted their communication skills visually. It is ruly an honor to be a part of this vibrant community of authors who champion diversity and inclusion.
And last but certainly not least, we celebrated the fact that Kirkus Reviews awarded My Monster Truck Goes Everywhere With Me as one of the Best Indie Books of 2021! What a tremendous honor this was! When I first heard the news, I just couldn’t believe it.
All in all, it has been an amazing year for ASL Picture Books, and we cannot wait to see what’s in store for us in the next twelve months. We wan to thank every single contributor to the blog, the amazing community we are a part of, and all of you who tune in for our articles every month. Thank ou for your unwavering support and steadfast dedication to our common belief that Every Child Has A Gift To Give.
American Sign Language is a beautiful and powerful language, an untapped resource with limitless potential.
Every child has a gift to give.
ASL Picture Books is helping them discover it.