Tag Archives: asl

Total Failure of the ASL-Only “Switched at Birth” Episode on ABC Family

Last night was supposed to be the premier of the penultimate “American Sign Language Only” episode of ABC Family Channel’s teenage soap opera, “Switched at Birth.”  Janna and I urged our ASL students to watch the episode because we believed the hype and the PR that this would be an episode to remember.  It was not.  The show was a tremendous disappointment and I’ll tell you why.

The one bright spot in the show was this “Deaf Power” banner that struck a long-ago memory in Janna when one of her teachers at the Iowa School for the Deaf said that action was forbidden on campus because it was was rude and disrespectful.  For Janna to see one hand covering an ear and the other hand raised in a fist filled her with both terrible regret at believing a repressive Hearing teacher, and terrific pride that, in the end, the Deaf will own their own place in the world.

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How Baby Signs Infantilized American Sign Language

Five years or so ago, the Baby Signs movement was in full bowel, with mommies everywhere clamoring to get their babies “signing” their first words instead of verbalizing sounds.  “Baby Signs,” the theory still goes today, “is a prime key to early intellectualization and language acquisition for babies.”  The problem with that notion is that Baby Signs do not teach a language — Baby Signs only destroys an established language by infantilization and misuse and ego projection — and I’ve never seen any convincing, quantifiable, evidence that Baby Signs actually does a baby any good.  Oh, Baby Signing is great for mommy because it makes her feel fulfilled and that she’s given birth to a genius-child-by-inference using imagined visual glossing, but Baby Signs does nothing significant at all for the baby because the intention is to never actually teach the baby American Sign Language.  The intention of Baby Signs is to improperly use ASL HandShapes out of context to bridge the baby into spoken English.

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What's in a Deaf Sign Name? Hunter and his Gun!

The last week of August caught a firestorm in the Grand Island, Nebraska Public Schools system as administrators scrambled to recover from banning a three-year-old Deaf child named Hunter Spanjer from using his sign name because his fingers “looked too much like a gun” — and any sort of suggestion of a gun, even as a sign name, is verboten.

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Steve Jobs Replies from the Grave: From iBoles to iPad to iAuthor

When the iPad was originally introduced, I was already an Apple fanboi with iBoles and iJanna and a couple of Apple books in the pipeline — and I was especially interested in the iPad as a book publication vehicle.  At that time, Steve Jobs was still alive and randomly replying to email inquiries, and on March 23, 2010 at 8:29pm, I decided to take my shot with Jobs and I emailed him my iPad Book Publishing Query:

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