Raising and Educating a Deaf Child

International experts answer your questions about the choices, controversies, and decisions faced by the parents and educators of deaf and hard-of-hearing children.

Question from B.D.

My two-year-old daughter is deaf. Where can I find videos like My Baby Can Read to help teach her how to read and use sign language. I have found that Signing Time is geared toward hearing children and does not present the signs well enough. I can’t seem to find FUN videos for my two-year-old to help us learn. There need to be more materials toward children with hearing loss that include motion, don’t you think? Or, am I alone in this thought?

Question from B.D.. Posted March 25, 2011.
Response from Karen Roudybush - Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf

First of all, give yourself a pat on the back for knowing the critical part parents play in the literacy process.  You are your child’s first and best teacher.  Initially it’s all about language and providing your child full access to the world around them.  This entails giving your child a consistent way to communicate, learn and make a link between speech/signs and print.  Through your consistent model of language, your child can identify, comment and think about the things he’ll later read about.(i.e  a rabbit is a furry animal with long ears).  We do know that all deaf or hearing children need to recognize alphabet letters quickly and accurately and if possible link those letters to their sound (Visual Phonics cue) or lip formation.  So always remember to turn on the Closed Captions for television shows and movies.

I’m not sure where your family lives but many schools for the deaf offer a Sharing Reading Program.  Shared Reading ( a program developed at Gallaudet ) provides a deaf mentor along with DVDs to teach parents how to share classic children’s literate in ASL.

One website that might provide some helpful resources Is the Center for Accessible Technology in Sign (CATS).  CATS is dedicated to providing accessibility to learning via sign language. CATS’ goal is to enhance language, literacy and general world knowledge by providing tools that make text, captions, video, web pages, and multimedia accessible to deaf users, particularly children. – http://www.cc.gatech.edu/program/cats/

Also available through CATS

1001Books in ASL – http://www.cc.gatech.edu/program/cats/1001%20books/index.htm

Also, many libraries have available an ASL Access Video Collection (with over 200 ASL videos for loan).  Currently they are housed in 28 locations nationwide, in 14 states and the District of Columbia (Current Locations).- http://www.aslaccess.org/locations.htm

Born to Sign – http://www.signwithme.com/002_browse_signs.asp

There is also a ASL Vlog and Video – http://www.aslvlog.net/index.php?c=28