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Why Sign?

Language acquisition at a very early age is critical for every child who is deaf or hard of hearing. It leads to the development of literacy skills needed throughout the child’s life.

Caretakers should introduce deaf and hard hearing children to language as early as possible. The earlier any child is exposed to and begins to acquire language, the better that child’s communication skills will become.

Eligibility

The Gallaudet University Regional Center can provide weekly Sign Language instruction for families who:

  • Live in Rhode Island
  • Have a child who is deaf or hard of hearing aged 0-3
  • And are currently receiving services through an Early Intervention Program

Goals

The goal of the RI Sign Language Initiatives is to introduce family members to Sign Language, enabling them to communicate with their child at the earliest age possible. Extended family members and caregivers are encouraged to participate. All of our tutors are Deaf or hard of hearing, have had a criminal background check, are specially trained in the provision of Sign Language instruction and follow a specially devised curriculum that is perfect for families.

Curriculum

The curriculum will address not only the learning of sign vocabulary, but the application of the signs to everyday family life. As part of the classes, our tutors will also share their knowledge about Deaf culture and will teach the family ways of making their family communications more visual and accessible for their child.

How It Works

Rhode Island classes are organized and run by the Gallaudet University Regional Center at Northern Essex Community College and paid for by the family’s Early Intervention provider.

Gallaudet Regional Center East will send a deaf or hard of hearing tutor into the family’s home once a week to work with the family. The goal of this program is to introduce family members to Sign Language, enabling them to communicate with their child at the earliest age possible.

Families will receive instruction tailored specifically to them. Classes will be provided in the family home and scheduled at a time convenient for the family. Classes continue until the deaf or hard of hearing turns 3 or no longer receives early intervention services.

For more information please contact:

Adrianna Neefus
Gallaudet University Regional Center Administrative Assistant

978-556-3701 voice/tty
978-556-3703 fax
978-241-7417 VP/VRS
aneefus@necc.mass.edu

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