Updated: Oct 12
Diana Campbell graduated from Florida School for the Deaf and married her Deaf husband, Scott Ashley. They have twins CODA's (Children of Deaf Adult). Diana has worked as an ASL Specialist/Intervenor with Deaf-Blind students at the Bloomfield Hills School for DHH Program for almost 30 years. She always enjoys working with DHH children. She was born profoundly Deaf and had Deaf parents. Diana still works as a mentor with DHH families after school. In addition, she serves in the community teaching ASL classes and mentors at Oakland Community College.
Diana is a caring, passionate, and dedicated professional who always has your back.
We shared some great ASL Storytellers masters of imaginative narratives using space, expressions, and movement in a previous blog. Tanya Wyatt-Dennis, Kathleen Brockway, Adrean Clark, Trix Bruce, Daniel Durant, Linda Bove. Diana is right there with the best of them.
Meet Diana and her students at Bloomfield Hills Schools.
Watch Diana's interpretation of "My Monster Truck Goes Everywhere with Me" and understand how blessed these children are to have her teach them their native language with full expression. Diana is a fantastic storyteller. She is a master storyteller, having her sign our story adds excellent value for our readers.
How it all came to be:
The story of "My Monster Truck Goes Everywhere with Me" was near completion. The final touches being added to the pages by the graphic designer. The final task before releasing the book on Amazon and to a printer. That's where many authors complete their book publishing projects before marketing. However, we had one more essential task. I wanted the story signed in American Sign Language by a native signer.
The book's illustrations show the characters using sign language. It is important to learn the proper production of every sign. For that task, I reached out to Marcy Colton, the executive director of Deaf C.A.N., a non-profit organization in Sylvan Lake, Michigan.
Marcy was an instructor at Madonna University. Her class, "Deafness and Community Resources," was enlightening and inspiring.
Marcy came back with several names of talented signers interested in signing the story. Diana Campbell was one of them. I printed out a copy of the book and sent it to her. We met on a Zoom call. We chatted (signed) a bit, sharing our lives and discussing the project. Yes! Diana would be excited to tell the story in ASL.
It was a beautiful autumn day in late November. A day the team of five, Dustyn Blindert, friend and professional videographer Diana Campbell and Michelle Osterhout, our recommended fantastic storytellers, a certified interpreter, and I, all agreed on the day to film My Monster Truck Goes Everywhere with Me.
Dennis Neubacher had already recorded the narration of the story at Doak Breen's studio. I was astonished by the magnitude of energy and emotion the sound recording produced. Brilliantly exciting and beyond my expectations of fabulous.
In my mind, we were going to have the signers sign the story, and then Dustyn would add the images of the book with the narration of the story with the voiceover of Dennis. I did not know how but that was my vision.
Sometimes, plans do not work out, and that turns out to be a blessing.
We searched for a site to film. Unfortunately, amid the covid pandemic, issues of safely crowded out options. We finally secured a location, but it got canceled just days before the shoot. So I called my sister-in-law to see if we could use her barn. She has a fantastic barn with heated floors in November that was warm and comfy. Thank God!
Dustyn arrived, his SUV loaded with borrowed equipment from the storehouse of the Detroit Lions. Dustyn is a five-time Emmy award-winner working in the sports industry as Senior New Media Producer at Detroit Lions. So we were in very good hands!
Together we transformed the barn into a film set. Complete with green screen, lights, camera, monitors and ready for action. I am so thankful to Alvin and Debbie for generously sharing this space for the magic that was about to happen.
Diana arrived according to plan. However, those plans I imagined for the signing of the story changed in an instant. From Michelle's production of the story in magnificent ASL, Dustyn and I had witnessed something more wonderful than either of us had imagined.
Diana stepped on stage with a self-assured posture, ready to begin.
We were mesmerized by the articulation of detail and emphases of expression. Diana signed the introduction; her authority of language grasped us. Then, page by page, the story appeared on the monitor. She would pause to compose her production of the page, then in three, two, one ACTION began.
I was utterly blown away in awe! I could not have imagined such a brilliant performance. Writing the story envisioning it signed in ASL was exciting. My grandson depicted the truck big like a giant and loud like thunder. Diana made each of those elements come to life. The power of her storytelling brings you inside the pages of the book, eager to turn the next to experience Dylan in action playing with his really BIG, shiny PURPLE, lightning FAST, LOUD as thunder MONSTER TRUCK.
My plans were tossed to the wind, and something more magnificent than I could have imagined showed up that was Diana Campbell radiant, vibrant, and brilliantly illuminating the story to higher heights.
Learning ASL can help with language development, improve listening and verbal communication skills, help to develop thinking and problem-solving skills, stimulate imagination and creativity, lead to relaxation and bonding, and more.
"My Monster Tuck Goes Everywhere with Me" was written with a child in mind. Yet, unexpectedly it has found an audience for all ages and degrees of talent and interest.
The fantastic narration by Dennis is as perfect for the hearing audience as Diana's performance was for a deaf audience. Michelle Osterhout was recorded for the person with little or no ASL knowledge, giving instructions on signing all 32 signs in the book. For the older college student, each video offers education. Finally, the fluent and savvy signer enjoys Diana Campbell's electrifying production of "My Monster Truck Goes Everywhere with Me."
Diana, Thank you for sharing the book with your students with us and being an important part of our success. Love and Blessings!