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I'm developing a chapter book series and would like answers to the following questions. Please include your state or at least your general region or country when answering questions 1-3.




1. Do your hearing elementary age children have the opportunity to study ASL (American Sign Language) in their school as either a regular class or an extra-curricular activity?


2. Same as #1, but for hearing students in middle or high school?


3. Do your hearing children take ASL classes outside of a school setting or have they shown any interest in learning ASL?


4. If you are deaf or if you have/closely know a deaf child, and you and/or the child would like to volunteer as a beta reader please let me know below or PM. Child doesn't have to be in target range of the book (ages 7-9), just need to check for authenticity, etc.  Beta reader won't be needed immediately, probably in about 8-12 weeks.


I'm already consulting with a DeafBlind friend and my son, an ASL major, on this project, but am interested in finding other readers.


Thank you. The other questions are just to figure out how common it is for hearing children to learn ASL. It's common where I live, but I'm hearing that isn't true everywhere. There are a handful of public schools on all grade levels in my city that teach ASL to hearing students. Some high schools offer it as a foreign language. It's also a popular course in home-school co-ops in our area.


Thank you for your answers.  :thanks







#1 - April 12, 2014, 04:52 PM
Making metaphors out of molehills for over thirty years.

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Hi, Lill,


The school where I work happens to have a special program for deaf/hard of hearing students. There are about 30 of them in the program in a school with almost 1,000 students, so they program is fairly small. Our principal signs, as well as many staff members who work in the program. Our school's morning news is broadcast by students and an interpreter signs everything. Most of our students know basic signs--good morning, happy birthday, etc. but I don't know that they communicate with our deaf/hoh students on a regular basis.
#2 - April 12, 2014, 05:21 PM
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Thanks, Natalie. I must live in an unusual area. I'm finding few people who have ASL taught in the schools. I believe they start in elementary here. I know that hearing students can study ASL in middle school. My son is majoring in ASL (he's currently dual enrolled, finishing his senior year of high school), and he ran into a kid from middle school at an Easter party at our local deaf center. They were both getting "contact" hours for school. The other boy is hearing as well. The high schools here offer ASL as a foreign language.

I guess I'm surprised that it isn't commonplace in other areas.
#3 - April 12, 2014, 07:48 PM
Making metaphors out of molehills for over thirty years.

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In Virginia, high school students can take ASL classes to count for foreign language BUT many/most schools don't have it.  They have to take it at a community college.
#4 - April 13, 2014, 04:55 AM
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Thanks.  We have the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Center here, and ASL interpretation degrees are offered at the community college. For advanced degrees you have to go to Houston, I believe.  Hmm, I wonder why it's more common here. This is a military town, and we have a high number of retirees, especially veterans.
#5 - April 13, 2014, 05:40 AM
Making metaphors out of molehills for over thirty years.

My school district (Pittsburgh area) does not have ASL as a course.  I don't know of any school in the area that does.
My daughter (age 9) is in girl scouts, and for one meeting, the troop leader hosted three girls from a nearby school for the deaf, as well as a couple of their teachers who interpreted for them.  (Everyone in the troop can hear.)  The deaf girls taught the scouts some sign language.  The scouts loved making up signs for their names!  It was a really nice experience for them, and for weeks after my daughter was teaching herself signs.  It was great to see the scouts warm up to the deaf students instead of standing apart not knowing what to say or do, like they were at first.  They asked all kinds of questions and discovered that they had a lot in common.  One of the deaf girls had a horse and the conversation then really turned quickly from "What's it like being deaf?" to "Wow you have a horse that is so cool!" :)
#6 - April 14, 2014, 09:34 AM

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Numbers 1-3: no, no, and no.

Then again, we don't have National Honor Society because a school board member's kid didn't make it in, and we have no AP classes, no honors program, and no electives in English or social sciences. Also, our (HS senior) daughter's English teacher just told me that she doesn't grade on content--in fact, she doesn't read the papers--she just measures the margins and the number of sentences in the paragraphs, and bases her grade on that. So we don't really teach any language.

We're in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
#7 - April 14, 2014, 10:41 AM
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ASIDE: WHOA, just figured out that dewsanddamps is the same person as @KatieWritesBks on Twitter.  I feel so deductive.
#8 - April 14, 2014, 11:45 AM
VAMPIRINA IN THE SNOW (Disney-Hyperion, 2018)
BUSY-EYED DAY (Beach Lane Books, 2018)
GROUNDHUG DAY (Disney-Hyperion, 2017)
among others

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Oh dear, dews. That sounds dreadful -- the school situation.
All this info is helpful and saves me from writing something in a query such as "Since a large number of elementary age children are introduced to ASL in school ..."
And it's also helping me set up the story because I can see a couple different directions I can go -- I'm trying to avoid it being labeled an "issue" series. I have every intention of it being mainstream.
I don't have any direct experience with deaf children. The character came to me, and she won't leave. I talked to my friend who is DeafBlind before deciding to move forward. She's already pointed out a few errors in my "hearie" thinking and reminded me to NOT say hearing impaired. It's considered an insult. I'm also learning more about deaf culture from my son who is majoring in ASL interpretation.
#9 - April 14, 2014, 01:33 PM
Making metaphors out of molehills for over thirty years.

Where near Pittsburgh, PA  the kids were introduced to sign language in kindergarten.
#10 - April 14, 2014, 06:52 PM

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ASIDE: WHOA, just figured out that dewsanddamps is the same person as @KatieWritesBks on Twitter.  I feel so deductive.
Er, sorry Anne Marie--guess I was a little ranty today.  :old Promise I'll be all  :bunnyjump tomorrow. (You make a great detective.  :trench )
#11 - April 14, 2014, 07:18 PM
Learning to Swear in America (Bloomsbury, July 2016)
What Goes Up (Bloomsbury, 2017)
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Heck, I'd be ranty, too!  But yes, that was the clue. :)  (That, and your picture!)
#12 - April 15, 2014, 04:23 AM
VAMPIRINA IN THE SNOW (Disney-Hyperion, 2018)
BUSY-EYED DAY (Beach Lane Books, 2018)
GROUNDHUG DAY (Disney-Hyperion, 2017)
among others

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1. Do your hearing elementary age children have the opportunity to study ASL (American Sign Language) in their school as either a regular class or an extra-curricular activity?

Nothing in Elementary where we are in the Northern VA area.

2. Same as #1, but for hearing students in middle or high school?

My 12 year old is in a "talking hands club".  There are 3 deaf and a few hard of hearing kids at her school and she likes being able to communicate with her friends. There are no classes offered.  There used to be a "foreign language" option at one of the high schools but currently there isn't one and you have to go to the local college.

3. Do your hearing children take ASL classes outside of a school setting or have they shown any interest in learning ASL?

We are thinking of taking a family class that is offered at our parks and rec over the summer. This way I can better communicate with the parent's as well.  There is a great deaf community here and even a large dinner once a month for everyone who is available (where I admit I embarass myself with mixing up signs but they are patient with adults who learn slower than the kids.)


4. If you are deaf or if you have/closely know a deaf child, and you and/or the child would like to volunteer as a beta reader please let me know below or PM. Child doesn't have to be in target range of the book (ages 7-9), just need to check for authenticity, etc.  Beta reader won't be needed immediately, probably in about 8-12 weeks.
 
I would love to be a beta reader.  Feel free to PM me when you are ready. I'm working on two Picture Books on the subject as well. The deaf community needs more things that are theirs.

On a side note.  I have two close friends that are deaf (one partially) adults and neither signs.  When they were kids they were pretty much forced to talk because there weren't any school options back then other than "put them at the front of the class so they can read the teachers lips".  One dealt with it beautifully, the other, a cute boy up the street (I was like 7 when I met him) grew up with a chip on his shoulders and only grew up over the last few years from what my brothers tell me.  He is in his mid 30's now.

#13 - April 15, 2014, 10:11 AM
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I'm on Long Island in New York. ASL is offered in our High School, but I don't think it's in every high school. ASL students sign a picture book to the elementary school kids each year as part of a disabilities awareness program.  So, the younger kids are exposed to it. My two have also been exposed to ASL at summer concerts by the musicians who may sign one or two songs, but the kids don't retain those words.

I hope this helps you.
#14 - April 15, 2014, 11:13 AM
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