American Society for Deaf Children Biennial Conference
At the American Society for Deaf Children's (ASDC) 21st biennial conference, Clerc Center dean Edward Bosso described how a partnership between the Clerc Center and ASDC allows us to enhance outreach to families, share resources, and work together toward common goals. The core message of his keynote address fit in well with the conference theme "Blazing New Trails." The Oklahoma School for the Deaf hosted over 250 ASDC family members from June 24-28 on their campus in Sulphur.
In his speech, Bosso shared his beliefs that "the family is the cornerstone for educational planning and student success. Family and students need to be informed, respected, and supported as full educational team members." He compared the need for a deaf child to have access to language to keeping the right amount of water on a plant to make it thrive. Students need full language and communication access at home and at school; without it, the brain-like a plant-withers.
Speaking in his capacity both as dean of the Clerc Center and as current president of the Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf, Bosso encouraged the parents in the audience to recognize their power. "Scream, shout, and tell us what you need from us," he said. "We need to establish partnerships with parents and organizations like ASDC. As leaders we need to involve parents...We must make a commitment to serving ALL students."
As part of its commitment to information sharing with families, the Clerc Center participated in the conference in a number of ways. On two separate evenings, the Clerc Center hosted a Shared Reading Project Arthur PJ Party, a fun gathering with a live reading of Arthur's First Sleepover in American Sign Language. After the read-aloud, children enjoyed a variety of activities in the dance studio, or Arthur's "Back Yard" with a full-sized tent and tumbling mats, with games like ‘Find the Alien' in the Arthur story pictures, making character masks, and many more. These activities showed parents how they could extend the ideas of the stories for further learning. Volunteer staff members from ASDC supervised the children while Clerc Center staff members Timothy Worthylake and Susan Flanigan explained how the Shared Reading Project home tutorial program works and reviewed 12 tips that deaf adults use to make book sharing successful.
In addition to the SRP Arthur PJ Party, the Clerc Center representatives shared information at their exhibit table on products, magazines, and free on-line resources for families with deaf and hard of hearing children from birth to 21 years of age. Susanne Scott, a cochlear implant/bilingual specialist at the Clerc Center, gave a presentation on "The Role of Sign Language for Children with Cochlear Implants." Scott focused on the philosophical, family, and practical considerations for use of sign language with deaf children who have or will be obtaining a cochlear implant.
The next ASDC conference in 2011 will be hosted by the Maryland School for the Deaf. More information about ASDC.