To inspire, encourage, and advocate for deaf and hard of hearing children — these were the motivations that sparked Stacy Abrams’ #whyIsign campaign, and inspire she has! The NAD recognizes Stacy Abrams for April’s #NADhandwave for this creative and unique campaign. From her website www.whyisign.com to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, the #whyIsign campaign has gone viral and inspired many members within our community.
The campaign’s initiative was to encourage families to post videos sharing why they use American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate with their deaf and hard of hearing children. Originally the campaign was set to commence for just two days, March 13-15, 2016. However, with the power of social media, the campaign received and continues to receive strong support from our community.
Stacy has a contagious passion for advocacy and works with hearing families to ensure all deaf and hard of hearing children have equal access to language. She is the Family Mentor Program Coordinator in the state of Arizona, and she oversees and guides deaf mentors. Not only is she nationally certified to train deaf mentors in programs for the Deaf Mentor Curriculum nationwide, she is also a national trainer in SKI-HI Curriculum.
Stacy’s main goal is to provide opportunities for a solid foundation empowering families with deaf and hard of hearing children to maximize their potential. She strives to provide a support system for parents in having whatever it is they may need in believing with confidence that their children will have a successful future. Deaf and hard of hearing children who have early exposure and access to their natural language, ASL, are proven to have greater academic success. Stacy knows communication is key to establishing a strong bond between parents and their deaf and hard of hearing children. If given the appropriate support, parents and families are able to see the full potential of their children and are more likely to choose what they feel are the best options for their children.
On her website, Stacy shares her passionate reason for the #whyIsign campaign by stating she believes that “to sign is human” and emphasizes that ASL exposure is fundamental for deaf and hard of hearing children’s successes. Help spread awareness of her campaign and join the fun — Stacy encourages anyone to share their stories, write letters and articles for the media, and post blogs/videos online. Thank you, Stacy, for opening the doors for hearing families to find a home in our community. Stacy’s campaign has led to delighted parents and teachers sharing their gratitude, as follows:
“I can’t imagine how it would be if we didn’t have this full, unfiltered access to ASL, and subsequently, the world. We *never* have frustrations in communication with each other — not even for the most complex of topics.” – hearing mom with deaf daughters
“I want my students to have access to everything: stories, poems, science, social studies. Information, everything without limits.” — Washington School for the Deaf, 6th Grade Teacher
The NAD gives monthly #NADhandwaves to people in our community. This is a great opportunity for the NAD to recognize exemplary people or the work they do. With such great people, the world continues to progress. If you know someone who deserves a #NADHandwave, submit your suggestions online!
The NAD was established in 1880 by deaf leaders who believed in the right of the American deaf community to use sign language, to congregate on issues important to them, and to have its interests represented at the national level. As a nonprofit federation, the mission of the NAD is to preserve, protect, and promote the civil, human, and linguistic rights of deaf and hard of hearing people in the United States. The advocacy scope of the NAD is broad, covering the breadth of a lifetime and impacting future generations in the areas of early intervention, education, employment, health care, technology, telecommunications, youth leadership, and more.