Author: Kennesha Baldwin
From left: Kailyn Aaron-Lozano, Rachel Sortino, Petitto, Cohen-Efron, Crystal Padilla, ’14 & G-’17, and Grady Gallagher, ’11. Photo courtesy of Kennesha Baldwin.
Dr. Laura-Ann Petitto was presented with an award by Amy Cohen-Efron, ’89, G-’90, & G-’92, a prominent deaf advocate and artist within the deaf community. Cohen-Efron expressed warm gratitude for Petitto's significant research pertaining to the benefits of bilingualism, particularly in the young deaf learner. Cohen-Efron noted that Petitto's scientific findings are an invaluable source of evidence that enabled the psychologist to launch her own bilingual programs around the nation. Cohen-Efron also shares Petitto's research with viewers of her vlogs in an effort to help spread the word about the benefits of bilingualism, especially the powerful brain-based benefits of early exposure to ASL and English.
As part of her warm recognition, Cohen-Efron presented Petitto with a photographic art piece as an expression of gratitude. The photographic art, itself containing a visual metaphor for bilingualism, shows her brilliant artistic creation in which three types of medical equipment are contained that are associated with the medical model of deafness: a medical pincher, a hearing aid, and an otoscope. However, the three objects cast a shadow, and the shadows form the following three letters: A, S, L. At Gallaudet University, only President Roberta J. Cordano possesses this beautiful artwork presented to her on the day of her inauguration.
About Amy Cohen-Efron
Cohen-Efron is a well-known artist and creator of the website, Deaf World As Eye See It. She became one of the most well-respected v/bloggers with her famous vlog called ‘The Greatest Irony' in which she explained how the hearing community would use American Sign Language (ASL) with hearing babies, encouraging the early healthy development of language and cognition growth - all while ASL was not encouraged to be used with deaf babies. This video was a catalyst for Deaf Bilingual Coalition, to name a few, to become more visible. She made people more aware of the benefits of ASL. Today, Cohen-Efron uses her website to express her thoughts both in English and ASL. She has published more than 10 written posts and 140 ASL videos.