Tuesday, October 29, 2019 from 3:00 PM to 3:45 PM EDT
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This is an online event. The webinar will last 30 minutes and will be followed by a 15-minute question and answer period.



Kim Spencer 
Maine Educational Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing 

The Role of Signs for Visual Communication and Language

In this webinar:

Melinda Meyers and Amy Spencer, one of MECDHH's Deaf and hearing teacher teams, present this webinar to address the role that signs can take in a young child's communication development. In this webinar, they will describe the continuum of ways that families choose to use signs with their children from a foundational approach to a full language approach. The difference between visual communication with signs and American Sign Language (ASL) development is addressed to ensure families and providers understand the variety of ways to support their Deaf or hard of hearing child's communication needs using signs and/or ASL. Melinda will share an overview of ASL development from birth to age three to deepen understanding of appropriate expectations for young children acquiring ASL and/or visual communication using signs. A variety of resources for learning signs and/or ASL are shared at the end of the session to support further exploration of the topic.  

About the presenters:

Melinda Smith Meyers is currently serving at MECDHH as an educational technician III, a part C American Sign Language family trainer, and a Deaf mentor in the parent infant toddler playgroup. She has been working with MECDHH's Early Childhood and Family Services Department embedded with Maine Child Development Services for 9 years. Melinda was involved in early intervention, children case management, and family support in other communities for 15 years prior to her current employment. Melinda is an alumna of Governor Baxter School for the Deaf (1976) and of Gallaudet University, Washington, D.C., where she majored in social work (1982). She also holds a certificate of graduate study in early intervention with special needs from the University of Maine, Orono (2003). 

Amy Hunt Spencer is a speech language pathologist and teacher of the Deaf (TOD). She has been working at MECDHH with children from birth to age five and their families in collaboration with Maine Child Development Services for the past 8 years. Amy received her masters degree in communication sciences and disorders from the University of New Hampshire (2004) and continued her studies at Gallaudet University, completing the Infant, Toddler, & Families Leadership and Collaboration Certification program and TOD coursework.

Who should attend?

Early intervention professionals, special educators, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and families of Deaf and hard of hearing hhildren.

Participants in this webinar will:

  • Learn the different roles for visual communication use.
  • Understand the difference between other visual sign communication systems and American Sign Language (ASL).
  • Learn the stages of ASL Development, ages 0-3
  • Understand strategies to improve visual communication & language use.
  • Acquire resources to learn Sign Language.