Awareness of ASL Grows at 2011 EHDI Conference
The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) participated in the 10th annual Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Conference, February 20-22, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. NAD representatives had productive conversations with various stakeholders of early intervention programs from all over the country, including local and federal EHDI professionals, educators, advocates, audiologists and parents about the benefits of American Sign Language (ASL). Debra Patkin, staff attorney at the NAD, and Roberta Mather Brown, volunteer advocate and parent of deaf children, took part in workshops and provided their insights to attendees on behalf of the NAD.
Howard Rosenblum, the next NAD Chief Executive Officer starting on April 1, 2011, was the conference’s second plenary speaker. His presentation, “It’s All About Expectations!”, shared success stories of deaf and hard of hearing individuals and the formula behind their achievements. “We need to raise expectations, and instill expectations in deaf and hard of hearing children to dream of becoming of something,” said Rosenblum. His remarks garnered countless chuckles and rounds of applause from the audience.
Patkin provided two workshop presentations and led one workshop panel discussion. The first presentation outlined the importance of deaf mentor programs to introduce parents to the deaf experience, and to cultivate the bond between parents and their deaf children which is necessary for successful language acquisition. The second presentation underscored the importance of American Sign Language (ASL) as a foundation for acquisition of English by exploring emotional, cognitive and social development studies. The third workshop featured a panel where parents of deaf and hard of hearing children addressed the importance of parental involvement wit