DEAF - L:  First National Symposium on Childhood Deafness
Key words:  Deaf Education Information, deaf related issues, deaf culture and history

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From: "Philip N. Moos" <pmoos@PLUTO.NJCC.COM>
Subject:      USA-L News, 09/12/99 No. 1

From the newsroom of the South Dakota Association of the Deaf, Summer 1999,
Vol. 14, Issue 2 .....

First National Symposium on Childhood Deafness Held in S.D.

     "It takes a whole village to educate a successful deaf youth today."
                   - Dr. Frank Turk, NSCD Chair

Nearly 500 participants from 39 states, the District of Columbia and two
foreign countries took part in the National Symposium on Childhood Deafness
(NSCD), which was held May 20-22 in Sioux Falls, S.D.  Co-sponsored by
Communication Services for the Deaf (CSD) and the National Association of
the Deaf (NAD), the inspiration for this symposium rose from concern about
the welfare of deaf children in the educational system.  The Symposium
sought to promote greater collaboration among parents, educators,
administrators and service providers, among others.

Maureen Yates, director of NAD Youth Leadership Camp, presided over the
symposium's kickoff luncheon.  Several local and national dignitaries were
on hand for welcoming remarks, including Dr. Frank Turk, NSCD chair; NAD
President Elizabeth Pollard; Sioux Falls Mayor Gary Hanson; Jack
Rentschler, secretary of the South Dakota Board of Regents; and Ben Soukup,
CSD chief executive officer.  I. King Jordan, president of Gallaudet
University (GU), gave an inspiring speech, entitled "Working Together for
Everybody's Deaf America."

Symposium workshops covered a wide variety of topics, including "Combating
Shrinking Center School Enrollments" by James Tucker, superintendent at
Maryland School for the Deaf, Reginald Redding, dean of Continuing
Education at GU, talked on "Mentorship: Leading the Youth of Today Beyond
Year 2000."

Several panel programs were also on the conference's agenda.
"Considerations for Children with Cochlear Implants" was moderated by Oscar
P. Cohen, chief executive officer at Lexington School/Center for the Deaf.
Harvey Goodstein, GU mathematics professor and Deaf Way 2000 chair, led
"Role of State Associations in Deaf Education."  Moderator Betty Lee
Bounds, interim assistant superintendent of Texas School for the Deaf,
discussed "Raising Your child to be a Literate Person" in her panel.
"Surefire Ways to Foster Development of Language and Cognitive Skills" was
the topic of the panel led by Nancy B. Rarus, NAD associate director.

In addition to Jordan's opening speech, five other keynote presentations
were given throughout the symposium.  In "Yes, We Can ... When We Know We
Can," Phil Bravin, president of Yes You Can, Inc., talked about attitudes
and perspectives within the deaf community and gave many interesting insights.

Another keynote presentation, "The Well Adjusted Deaf Adolescent:  A
Wellness Model," was presented by Allen E. Sussman, "G"U Professor and
clinical psychologist.  Sussman focused on deaf adolescents and what the
deaf community can do for them.

During the Saturday breakfast, Nancy J. Bloch, NAD executive director; Tim
Jaech, Wisconsin's director of special education; and Nancy Rarus, NAD
associate executive director, collaborated in presenting "Successful
Statewide Education Coalition-Building."  They stressed the importance of
promoting awareness, in terms of deaf education within society at large.

Laurene S. Gallimore, assistant professor at Western Oregon University,
gave a presentation on "Linking ASL and English in the Classroom," based on
her most recent research.

Last but not least, Jane K. Fernandes, vice president of GU Pre-College
National Mission Programs, spoke on "Nothing But the Best of All Students
...  Anytime, Anywhere."  Questions from the audience were stimulating and

In addition to the workshops and panels, those where attended the symposium
also had the opportunity to tour the CSD administrative office and South
Dakota School for the Deaf Campus.

The symposium wrapped up with some final words about "The Road to be Taken
into the New Millennium" and "A Crash Course in ASL & Deaf Culture," an
evening of special entertainment, hosted by Mel Carter & Company.

"It takes a whole village to educate a successful deaf youth today," said
Turk.  "They need to realize that an appropriate education, based on
child's unique needs, is not being provided to many deaf and hard of
hearing children."

Turk remarked that often policy and convenient placement undermine the
independent needs of the child.

"This is wrong," Turk concluded.  "The symposium was a nationwide effort to
do something about it, before another generation of deaf and hard of
hearing children is lost."

"Our schools cannot do it alone.  We need all available strengths - the
strengths of lawmakers, friends, the private sector, community leaders and
anyone with a vested interest in deaf education.  This symposium aimed to
set a mutually accepted national educational agenda for the new millennium
and to ensure that the agenda is on target."

"We felt compelled to organize this event to increase awareness about the
current policies existing in the education of the deaf," Soukup stated.
"We have a moral responsibility and obligation to do all that we can to
ensure that our deaf children have the best possible opportunities for a
bright and optimistic future.  The work that we achieve now will ultimately
results in a generation of deaf individuals that can and will have a
positive impact on our world."

They symposium was successful due to a variety of professionals, along with
parents, working together to discover resolutions to the problems in the
deaf educational system.  Plans are already underway for the next NCSD to
be held in 2001.  CSD will again host the event in Sioux Falls, in
association with the NAD and other deaf organizations.

     Turk strongly believes that these long-standing
     goals will help a child to achieve success:

     1) Education:  Set up the best education environment possible
        for all children.  It takes a "whole village" to work on that,
        not schools alone.  A "best education environment" is where an
        on-going dialogue is happening between the students, with the
        teacher leading from behind, not up front.

     2) National Model:  Turk feels there is a dire need to establish a
        national model for collaboration and partnership geared toward
        quality deaf education.  NSCD is a great way to start it off.

     3) Continuity:  Turk stresses the importance of ensuring the
        continuity of togetherness among organizations and institutions
        for and with deaf children.

Symposium Sponsors:  American Sign Language Teachers Association, American
Society for Deaf Children, Communications Service for the Deaf, Conference
of American Instructors for the Deaf, Conference of Educational
Administrators for Schools and Programs for the Deaf, Gallaudet University,
Gallaudet University Regional Center at Johnson County Community College,
National Association of the Deaf, National Black Deaf Advocates, National
Fraternal Society of the Deaf, Norwest Bank, Pre-College National Mission
Programs, Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, South Dakota School for
the Deaf, State Associations of the Deaf, Telecommunications for the Deaf,
Inc. and USA Deaf Sports Federation.

Copyrighted, South Dakota Association of the Deaf and CSD

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