AG Bell President Sugar, you’re not so sweet

Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

3417 Volta Place Northwest

Washington, District of Columbia 20007


Dear President Meredith K. Sugar, Esq,

This open letter discusses the recent statement you wrote, titled ‘Dispelling Myths About Deafness,’ found on your website (AG Bell, 2016). We aim to correct the points made and to ensure that this kind of conflict does not happen again.

Your statements are not based on sound scientific principles. There is no citation for data whatsoever within your response with the exception of the statistic that 95 percent of deaf babies are born to hearing parents and that 90 percent of these parents choose listening and spoken language. We have issues with the framing of this perspective – how many of these parents would have chosen a bilingual approach if they were provided adequate resources and information from unbiased professionals as well as deaf people themselves? We will follow specific points in your response with scientific evidence as well as quotations from the A.G. Bell Association position statements.

You said, “Recent studies show that children who solely utilize listening and spoken language, rather than a combination of this with ASL, demonstrate better listening and spoken language skills than do children who follow a combination approach, and that these children frequently develop expressive and receptive language test scores similar to their typical hearing peers,” (AG Bell, 2016).

First, what and where are the studies you refer to? By not citing or explaining the various sources that you use, you do not contribute to rational, scientific discourse or discussion. We ask that you share your sources and information, especially research approaches taken such as controls for income and comparisons between bilinguals and monolinguals, instead of focusing solely on monolinguals. Doing so will encourage discourse that leads to ethical and inclusive dialogues.

There are studies available to everyone with accurate, unbiased research using sound scientific principles. First, an article from Dr. Lund of Texas Christian University presents evidence that a majority of deaf children with cochlear implants do not demonstrate “listening and spoken language” on par with their hearing peers (Lund, 2015). In this article, research “indicated that children with cochlear implants demonstrate lower vocabulary knowledge than children with normal hearing,” (Lund, 2015).

Second, an article from the Cambridge University Press “confirms that second-generation deaf children exceed deaf children of hearing parents in terms of cochlear implantation performance. Encouraging deaf children to communicate in sign language from a very early age, before cochlear implantation, appears to improve their ability to learn spoken language after cochlear implantation,” (Hassanzadeh, 2012). In other words, signed language only reinforces your latent goal of listening and spoken language.

This contradicts your statement that “the window for a deaf child to acquire listening and spoken language is much shorter than the window in which ASL can be acquired,” which is not only misleading but also dangerous. This rhetoric has no basis in fact and does more harm than you could ever imagine by depriving children an avenue of potential success.

A variety of studies done, including the study by Mayberry et al in 2011, show the critical acquisition windows for ASL or English or any other language are the same regardless of modality (Mayberry et al, 2011). As this study puts it, the brain does not differentiate between spoken or signed language- the acquisition period is the same.

With evidence to the contrary, it is baffling why you would go against your own organization’s position statements on American Sign Language below, copied directly from your website. “With respect to American Sign Language (ASL), AG Bell acknowledges ASL as a language in and of itself. AG Bell also recognizes ASL’s importance in Deaf culture as a unique feature, and a language that many take pride in learning. AG Bell does not believe that ASL should be prohibited or restricted as a choice, nor does AG Bell advocate against learning ASL as part of a child’s overall development…” (AG Bell, 2016).

Furthermore, your organization also “fully supports the recommendation by the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing, published in 2007 by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which states ‘families should be made aware of all communication options and available hearing technologies in an unbiased manner’,” (AG Bell, 2016). If your organization is committed to this recommendation, you would ensure equal respect of all communication opportunities. However, your emphasis on listening and spoken language implies that this method is somehow inherently better than other opportunities, including sign language. This underscores the fact that we need an open dialogue for appropriate framing and language with the goal of equity for all people who identify as deaf or hard of hearing.

Language in the second paragraph, where you state that AG Bell “recognizes that ASL exists as a communication option for deaf children,” implies that there are options for families where they must pick and choose a single option for their deaf child. The phrase used instead should be opportunity, because there can and should be more than one modality or approach taken towards the betterment of deaf children. Put simply, positive language usage leads to positive outcomes for the families and children involved.

There are a series of studies done by Dr. Petitto of the Visual Language and Visual Learning Laboratory sponsored by the National Science Foundation that provide strong evidence for advantages of bilingualism. For example, a study comparing monolinguals and bilinguals titled “Development of Neural Systems for Reading in the Monolingual and Bilingual Brain” found evidence that “Bilingual readers showed a greater extent and variability of neural activation in bilateral classic language (LIFG, STG, IPL) and higher cognitive (DLPFC, RLPFC) brain areas, suggesting that bilingualism may lead to enhanced linguistic and cognitive processing,” (Jasinska, Petitto, 2014). In other words, bilingualism activates the brain more than one language can, leading to better language understanding and greater functional processing in the brain.

Another example of the impact of bilingualism comes from an article titled “How Age of Bilingual Exposure can Change the Neural Systems for Language in the Developing Brain,” where syntax processing is compared between monolinguals and bilinguals. In the study, “The bilingual language user may provide a powerful new window into the human language processing potential that is not fully recruited (engaged) in monolinguals. The findings from the bilingual brain lead us to a tantalizing view of the fullest biological extent of the neural tissue underlying language, which may be exploited in the bilingual and possibly lost in the monolingual,” (Jasinska, Petitto, 2013). In layman’s terms, this means bilingualism allows the brain to be used to its fullest potential.

With all of this in context, why does your organization continue to share misinformation and disregard the potential for bilingualism to enhance your efforts in listening and spoken language? There are two recent articles published in the New York Times demonstrating that bilinguals have superior social skills as well as improved executive function (Kinzler, 2016); (Bhattacharjee, 2012). It would be prudent to reverse your current course of action and expand opportunities.

The answer to various communication opportunities always should be “yes” simply because it is not about who is right or about who has community support. It’s about bringing people together and providing the most resources possible to set the stage for success later on in life for all deaf children. Another question to consider: ‘How can we make sure that the parents have their needs in terms of diversity, equity and inclusion met?’ Ultimately, this means providing all of the opportunities for children as well as working together to create a stronger and more inclusive community instead of posting responses to articles that you may not agree with. To that end of inclusiveness, we point to the students of Gallaudet University- in the summer of 2015, fifty new signers joined the student body. These fifty students are still here today, because they are an important part of an inclusive, diverse and equitable student body.

An important point to consider is inclusion- the student body at Gallaudet University is diverse in terms of communication modes. From the annual report of achievements, Gallaudet has students from 33 different countries, hearing students represent eight to ten percent of the student body, and roughly seven percent of the student body use cochlear implants on a regular basis (Gallaudet University, 2016). A considerable number of students use hearing aids, meaning nearly half of the student body uses listening and spoken language.

Therefore, we formally request your organization stop its campaign of spreading misinformation and outright denial, because the groups of people that suffer the most are deaf children who deserve every possible avenue for success. We strongly recommend that you follow your organization’s own position statements on American Sign Language and work towards the goal of respecting bilingualism as the superior option to solely listening and spoken language. Lastly, we request that you engage in an open dialogue with the student body of Gallaudet University as well as the community at large. This way, you may work with us instead of against us to ensure a better, unified future for both the signing community and your community instead of further conflict where deaf children are the casualties of a war that is entirely unnecessary.

 

Sincerely,

Sean Maiwald

Opinion Editor for The Buff and Blue

Organizational Endorsers:

  • The California Association for the Deaf
  • Ontario Association for the Deaf
  • ASLized
  • The ASL App
  • Library Deaf Collections and Archives
  • DeafBlind Citizens in Action
  • Hands Land: ASL Rhymes and Rhythms
  • Deaf World As Eye See It
  • Aloha State Association of the Deaf
  • Gallaudet University Graduate Student Association
  • Bison Games Organization
  • The Student Body Government of Gallaudet University
    • The Buff and Blue
    • The Kappa Gamma Fraternity
    • The Alpha Sigma Pi Fraternity
    • The Mu-Iota Chapter of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity
    • The Delta Epsilon Sorority
    • The CODAdet Organization
    • The Phi Kappa Zeta Sorority
    • Kappa Theta Pi Fraternity
    • Bison TV Productions
    • Class of 2019
    • Marie Jean Phillip Organization
    • Black Students Union
    • Asia Pacific Islander Association

Student Endorsers:

  • Gallaudet University
    • Keith Doane, Graduate
    • Levi Traxler, Undergraduate
    • Carey Ballard, Undergraduate
    • Bree Sproule, Undergraduate
    • Brianna Stroud-Williams, Undergraduate
    • Andrew Morrill, Undergraduate
    • William Warner, Undergraduate
    • Kelsy Ramey, Undergraduate
    • Michael Snyder, Undergraduate
    • Trevor Anderson, Undergraduate
    • Ernest Willman, Undergraduate
    • Hayley McLemore, Graduate
    • Jimmy Wilson IV, Undergraduate
    • Dakota Kalis, Undergraduate
    • Johanna Scherling, Undergraduate
    • Jehanne McCullough, Undergraduate
    • Margaret Kopp, Undergraduate
    • Jason Antal, Undergraduate
    • Thadeus Suggs, Undergraduate
    • Andre Simons, Hearing Undergraduate
    • Martha Wolcott, Undergraduate
    • Ethan Sonnenstrahl, Undergraduate
    • Mary Harman, Undergraduate
    • James Beldon, Undergraduate
    • Jeremy Franz, Undergraduate
    • Britton Auman, Undergraduate
    • Lily Esquer-Horta, Undergraduate
    • Gregory Farber, Graduate
    • Paul Kozak, Undergraduate
    • Euna Dennis, Undergraduate
    • Jacob Magallan, Undergraduate
    • Kendell Bisson-Davis, Undergraduate
    • Scott Bradley, Graduate
    • Michaela Hanley, Graduate
    • David “DT” Bruno, Undergraduate
    • Eduardo Madera, Undergraduate, Secretary of DeafBlind Citizens in Action
    • John Weggenmann, Graduate
    • Owais N Sarsur, Undergraduate
    • Arlene Ngalle, Undergraduate
    • Eduardo Madera, Undergraduate
    • Maxim Nemirovsky
    • Dawn Croasmun
    • Tiasha Bera
    • Carl Sorrentino
  • University of Southern California
    • Jinny Jung, Undergraduate
  • Columbian High School
    • Guy Traxler
  • University of California, San Diego
    • Stephanie Johnston, Graduate
    • John O’Loughlin, Graduate
  • University of Tennessee
    • Leala Holcomb, Ph.D.
  • Georgetown University
    • Timothy Y. Loh, Graduate

Professional Endorsers:

  • Medical Professionals:
    • Michelle Corallo, Certified School Psychologist, Pennsylvania School for the Deaf
    • Susanne Scott, ASL/English Bilingual Educational Consultant; Retired Audiologist
    • Rebecca Roa, Mental Health Counselor at Arc of St. Johns
    • Mallorie Evans, Educational Audiologist at Marlton School for the Deaf; Unified School District Part-time Lecturer, California State University, Northridge Special Education/Deaf Education
  • Educators:
    • Beth S. Benedict, PhD, Professor
    • Carolyn McCaskill, PhD.
    • Jackie Valadao-Cruz, Educational Associate
    • Kelsey Cobb, Educator of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
    • Kirk VanGilder, PhD, Professor
    • Jonathan W. McMillan, Faculty, Gallaudet University
    • Lauren Maucere, Teacher, Marlton School
    • Amy Cook, PhD, Lecturer, University of California Berkley
    • Dominic Harrison, M.Ed, Teacher, New Mexico School for the Deaf
    • Christopher Jon Heuer, PhD, Professor
    • Kristin Driggs, Elementary Educator
    • Lenore Williams, Educator; Author
    • Virginia S. Frazier, Parent; Author; Bilingual Educator; Guest Lecturer at San Jose State University; Director of Student Services, Menlo Park City School District
    • Ron Harris, Educator
    • Octavian E. Robinson, Ph.D.
    • Len Roberson, professor, researcher, and father of three Deaf kids (and 5 hearing)
    • MJ Bienvenu, Ph.D., Professor of ASL and Deaf Studies
    • Stevie Naeyaert, Mott Community College ASL Program, Flint MI
    • Sara Stallard, Teacher at Model Secondary School for the Deaf
    • Dr. Laurene Simms
    • Felicia Williams
    • Dr. Linda Risser Lytle
    • Selena Steinmetz, MA Teacher of the Deaf
  • Business Professionals:
    • Michael Stamper, Businessman
    • Glen W. Sutcliffe, Real Estate Agent
    • Julie Rems Smario, President, California Association for the Deaf
    • Mary Ann Dorantes Shock, Parent; Founder and CEO of Shock Management LLC
    • Mark Wood, CEO of Gripbell & ASL Films
    • Donald Prong, Executive Director of the Ontario Association for the Deaf
    • Billy Kekua, President of the Aloha State Association of the Deaf
    • Mark Drolsbaugh, Business owner, Author of “Madness in the Mainstream”
  •  Interpreters:
    • Patrice Bartges, MA, Certified Sign Language Interpreter
    • William White, CODA, Irish Sign Language (ISL) Interpreter
    • Dan Fisher, CODA; Gallaudet alum; certified interpreter; supporter of research-founded writing.
    • Christopher Tester, Deaf Interpreter; educator; researcher; Deaf child of hearing parents
    • Brooke Jensen, B.S., Interpreter
  •  Athletes:
    • Adham Talaat, Professional Athlete
    • Meghan Maiwald, Professional Athlete
    • Thomas Barksdale, Professional Athlete
  • Other:
    • John F Egbert, Author of MindField about AGBell
    • Nancy Rourke, De’VIA Artist

Individual Endorsers:

  • James Perry
  • Heather Withrow, Deaf child of hearing parents and mother of a Deaf child, a KODA, and a DeafBlind child
  • Jean Davis
  • Barbara Kannapell
  • Robert G
  • Rohan Smith
  • Ginger Jee
  • Maryjean Shahen
  • Sarah Strauss, Alumni, Gallaudet University
  • Elaine Sweeney
  • Carlos Sanchez
  • Donna Kallenberger
  • Jill Radford
  • Megan Thomas, MSW, Gallaudet University alumna
  • John Hathaway II
  • Andrew Harris
  • Patti
  • Elena Blue
  • Paola Morales
  • Shane Dundas
  • Mary Ann Richmond
  • Juliet Cain
  • Amy Gordon
  • Colleen Doyle
  • Vadim Milman
  • Lei Ouyang
  • Chris Driscoll
  • Dorothy Griffith
  • Bunmi Aina
  • Michael Olsen
  • Helena Ngalle
  • Naomi Ngalle
  • Abigail Ngalle
  • Amy Lehman
  • Victorica Monroe
  • Jean Boutcher

 


References

(AG Bell, 2016) AG Bell’s Response to Washington Post Article about Nyle DiMarco

(Lund, 2015) Vocabulary Knowledge of Children with Cochlear Implants: A Meta-Analysis

Hassanzadeh, 2012) Outcomes of Cochlear Implantation in Deaf Children of Deaf Parents: Comparative Study

(Mayberry et al, 2011) Age of Acquisition Effects on the Functional Organization of Language in the Adult Brain

(AG Bell, 2016) Position Statement: American Sign Language

(Jasinska, Petitto, 2014) Development of neural systems for reading in the monolingual and bilingual brain: new insights from functional near infrared spectroscopy neuroimaging.

(Jasinska, Petitto, 2013) How age of bilingual exposure can change the neural systems for language in the developing brain: A functional near infrared spectroscopy investigation of syntactic processing in monolingual and bilingual children

(Bhattacharjee, 2012) Why Bilinguals Are Smarter

(Kinzler, 2016) The Superior Social Skills of Bilinguals

(Gallaudet University, 2016) Annual Reports of Achievements 

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84 Responses to “AG Bell President Sugar, you’re not so sweet”

  1. Marie Philip Organization
    April 3, 2016 at 10:14 PM #

    We are with you! Well write..

    • Sarah Strauss
      April 4, 2016 at 10:47 AM #

      Well Written. I endorse this letter and you can add my signature too. BA in Communication Studies at Gallaudet University, May 2005.

    • Mohanad Elsafi
      April 7, 2016 at 8:54 PM #

      Speechless, I endorse this precious letter.

  2. Martha Wolcott
    April 3, 2016 at 10:52 PM #

    Very concise and accurate, I endorse this letter.

  3. Jeremy Franz
    April 3, 2016 at 11:11 PM #

    I endorse this wonderful letter!

  4. Amy Cohen Efron
    April 3, 2016 at 11:38 PM #

    Superb job! Deaf World As Eye See It endorses this letter!

  5. James Beldon
    April 3, 2016 at 11:42 PM #

    An appropriate response to an inappropriate letter! I do endorse this article!

  6. James Perry
    April 3, 2016 at 11:45 PM #

    Very straightforward. I endorse this letter.

  7. Jonathan McMillan
    April 4, 2016 at 12:03 AM #

    I endorse this letter.

  8. Heather "Hex" Withrow
    April 4, 2016 at 12:04 AM #

    As a Deaf child of hearing parents who spoke and signed with me and as mother of three children (Deaf, hearing KODA and DeafBlind), please consider my signature added to this letter!

  9. SBG President Mary Harman
    April 4, 2016 at 12:39 AM #

    Superbly written. I endorse this letter.

  10. Ethan Sonnenstrahl
    April 4, 2016 at 12:44 AM #

    I’ll endorse this letter

  11. Manny Hernandez
    April 4, 2016 at 12:48 AM #

    Love these pinpoints that explain so precisely and accurately.

    Let’s gospel this message around DC!

    MannyASL

  12. Paul Kozak
    April 4, 2016 at 1:13 AM #

    I endorse this letter!

  13. Euna Dennis
    April 4, 2016 at 1:30 AM #

    Beautiful written, I endorse this letter! Undergraduate Gallaudet University

  14. Jacob Magallan
    April 4, 2016 at 2:09 AM #

    My name is Jacob Magallan, an undergraduate student of Gallaudet University, endorses this letter.

    Also, a Secretary of Bison Games Organization endorses this letter as well.

  15. Paul Levenson
    April 4, 2016 at 2:19 AM #

    Your letter to AGB is well said! AGB needs to stop doing this type of thing and has to respect our Deaf rights for anything. We would appreciate if AGB will listen to us and work with us! Thank you for your letter.

  16. Mark Wood
    April 4, 2016 at 2:24 AM #

    I endorsed this letter!

    Mark Wood, CEO of Gripbell and ASL Films

  17. Jean Davis
    April 4, 2016 at 2:42 AM #

    Well said! I endorse this letter!

  18. Barbara Kannapell
    April 4, 2016 at 3:03 AM #

    I endorse this wonderful letter.

  19. Michelle Corallo
    April 4, 2016 at 3:43 AM #

    Graduate of Gallaudet’s school psychology masters program,certified school psychologist working at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf.

  20. Susanne Scott
    April 4, 2016 at 7:50 AM #

    My name is Susanne Scott. I am an ASL and English Bilingual Education Consultant and retired audiologist. I endorse this well written letter. Nice job!

  21. Robert G
    April 4, 2016 at 7:58 AM #

    I endorse this letter!

    • Margaret Kopp
      April 4, 2016 at 11:40 AM #

      May we have your last name and title?

  22. Rohan Smith
    April 4, 2016 at 8:03 AM #

    Excellent letter! I endorse this letter.

    Rohan

  23. Matt Martinez
    April 4, 2016 at 8:37 AM #

    Well done guy! You did an excellent job!

  24. Ginger Jee
    April 4, 2016 at 8:50 AM #

    It is very likely many will ENDORSE this outstanding letter, so do I.

    Will AGB learn & accept our reliable sources? Now, let’s wait & see.

  25. Tom mentkowski
    April 4, 2016 at 10:45 AM #

    I was
    The First DEAF Person to be licensed as a Hearing Aid Dispenser in California and worked in this area for 25 years. I dealt with people in denial, and Sugar, your cognitive abilities are surely messed up. You have NO experience…

  26. Maryjean (Mj) Shahen
    April 4, 2016 at 10:47 AM #

    Deaf people are capable of handling such higher positions and that they should no longer be treated as second-class citizens. It endorses this letter! Thanks for being there for all of us

  27. Christopher Jon Heuer
    April 4, 2016 at 11:23 AM #

    I endorse this letter.

    Christopher Jon Heuer, Ph.D
    Professor

    (Adding this statement here so BnB Admin can officially add my signature to the list in the letter itself.)

  28. Elaine Sweeney
    April 4, 2016 at 11:46 AM #

    Very well written! I endorse this letter.

  29. Dave Eaker
    April 4, 2016 at 11:55 AM #

    Your letter is priceless !
    Thank you

  30. Carlos Sanchez
    April 4, 2016 at 11:59 AM #

    I will endorse this outstanding letter, you have no excuse no experience

  31. Donna Kallenberger
    April 4, 2016 at 12:05 PM #

    Superb written! I endorse this beautiful letter.

  32. Mary Anne Pugin
    April 4, 2016 at 12:39 PM #

    Ms. Sugar’s letter has left me speechless (pun intended). Thank YOU for a most excellent and fact-filled rebutal.

    —MAP, ’71

  33. Billy Bowman
    April 4, 2016 at 12:56 PM #

    What an eloquent letter! You made us feel proud to be deaf and use ASL!

  34. Jill Radford
    April 4, 2016 at 1:01 PM #

    Well written letter!

    I endorse this letter.

  35. Kendell Bisson-Davis
    April 4, 2016 at 1:03 PM #

    There is no hesitation when I say that I endorse this letter.

    Kendell Bisson-Davis, Undergraduate Student, Gallaudet University

  36. Mallorie Evans
    April 4, 2016 at 1:17 PM #

    Very well written. I fully endorse this letter.

    Mallorie Evans
    Educational Audiologist, Marlton School for the Deaf
    Los Angeles Unified School District

    Part-time Lecturer,
    California State University, Northridge
    Special Education/Deaf Education

  37. John Hathaway II
    April 4, 2016 at 2:10 PM #

    I endorse this letter.

  38. Andrew Harris
    April 4, 2016 at 2:33 PM #

    I endorse this letter as deaf person who uses Cochlear Implant since age of 12. I use English spoken language as well as I use ASL. I would like to point out one main thing that AGB seem to incorrect about. Just because we get Cochlear Implant doesn’t mean that we could develop as person who will par with hearing peers. We were deaf before we were provided “enhancement” with help of CI. That being said, we will always feel left out around hearing peers when we don’t feel left out with deaf peers that signs. Deaf people tend to be more supportive than hearing peers would. That is just my experience up to this point. I’m sure there are few people that would disagree and majority of CI user will agree with me on this.

  39. Octavian Robinson
    April 4, 2016 at 2:43 PM #

    I endorse this letter. Well done! Octavian E. Robinson, Ph.D.

  40. Timothy Loh
    April 4, 2016 at 3:18 PM #

    I endorse this letter.

    Timothy Y. Loh, Graduate Student, Georgetown University

  41. Scott
    April 4, 2016 at 4:01 PM #

    Beautifully written and on point! I too endorse this letter!

    Scott Bradley, Comm Studies BA & current Public Admin MA, Gallaudet

  42. patti
    April 4, 2016 at 4:17 PM #

    Ohhhh marvelous to see how brave and good this student is and to see all the sources cited

    Bravo Sean – well done

    And yes the ag bell has to stop its unholy war against ASL

    If the student body doesn’t get a response by the end of the week a visit to the Volta bureau is in order for that heart to heart that Sean suggests

    Amy thanks for sharing this

    We see what courage and knowledge looks like

    Really I am overjoyed to see this

    pls feel free to add my name

    Peace – Patti

    • Margaret Kopp
      April 6, 2016 at 12:03 AM #

      The Volta Bureau is not a far metro ride away from Gallaudet! May we have your last name and your job title to add to the list?

  43. Elena Blue
    April 4, 2016 at 4:31 PM #

    What a shining bright light in our darkest hour. Thank you.

    I endorse this letter.

    Elena Blue

  44. Paola Morales
    April 4, 2016 at 5:15 PM #

    As a Child of Deaf Adults (Coda), my family’s native language is a sign language modality. It was a natural for my parents to impart me with sign language as it is a reflection of our family values, and typical of a parent’s primordial desire to communicate with their child or children. My language acquisition, however, was also reinforced by deaf communities with a strong linguistic heritage. In fact, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) states that access to language is a human right (UN), and if that human is deaf then access to sign language is a human right (UN, WFD, NAD). I endorse this letter, and the U.S. ratification of the CRPD, and the overdue ratification of American Sign Language as a national language.

    http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/convtexte.htm
    http://wfdeaf.org/human-rights/crpd
    http://nad.org/issues/international-advocacy/nad-position-paper-crpd

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/officially-recognize-american-sign-language-community-language-and-language-instruction
    http://www.globi-observatory.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/A-Stronger-Reason-for-the-Right-to-Sign-Languages-Sara-Trovato.pdf

    Paola

  45. Shane Dundas
    April 4, 2016 at 6:43 PM #

    Beautifully written!

    I endorse this letter.

  46. John F Egbert
    April 4, 2016 at 6:45 PM #

    I endorse this excellent letter.
    Arthur of MindField book available at Gallaudet bookstore connected about AGBell

  47. I take my hat off to Sean!

  48. Mary Ann Richmond
    April 4, 2016 at 7:07 PM #

    A beautifully written letter with research backed information! Based on my work experience working with hearing parents and their young deaf or hard of hearing children, those who started exposing their children to ASL at very young age regardless of their hearing levels eventually have their children perform age expected levels in language and cognitive development. I endorse your letter!

  49. Len Roberson
    April 4, 2016 at 7:25 PM #

    An excellent letter that provides excellent evidence-based counter points. As an alum, a professor, a researcher, and father of three Deaf kids (and 5 hearing), I endorse this letter.

  50. Michaela Hanley
    April 4, 2016 at 10:00 PM #

    Extremely well written. Please add my name to the list. Thank you and in solidarity, Michaela

  51. Alfred Sonnenstrahl
    April 4, 2016 at 10:13 PM #

    Is AGBell Association FOR the Deaf trying to prove that one does not need to walk a mile in her/his moccasins to be understood? Isn’t it absurd for AGBAD which is composed of hearing personnel who rely on sound though their ears to communicate are in position to claim that those who rely on eyes to communicate should not use sign language?

  52. Brian Fruits
    April 4, 2016 at 10:55 PM #

    Very nice rebuttal and citing sources of information. Hopefully this will raise some eyebrows in their camp.

  53. David "DT" Bruno (Student)
    April 4, 2016 at 11:48 PM #

    I endorse this beautifully written letter!

  54. Artie Grassman
    April 5, 2016 at 12:00 AM #

    I love this response! Spot on!!!

  55. Tom Stamper
    April 5, 2016 at 3:25 AM #

    Perhaps Meredith Sugar does not realize that she’s just a token to AGB alliance partners such as cochlear implant industries and medical establishments because she has a 6 yrs old son who is now wearing double cochlear implants. These
    Industries know at least 90% of Deaf babies are born to hearing parents and can make excellent profit from millions of confused and misguided hearing parents throughout this world.

  56. Juliet Cain
    April 5, 2016 at 5:45 AM #

    As a graduate of Ky School f/t Deaf class 94, also former Gally student, I endorse this letter!!!

  57. MJ Bienvenu
    April 5, 2016 at 10:00 AM #

    Well written. You have my full support.
    thanks

  58. Dan Fisher
    April 5, 2016 at 2:51 PM #

    A well thought out letter I will proudly endorse as a CODA, Gallaudet alum (BA, ASL 2013), certified interpreter, and supporter of research-founded writing.

  59. Amy Gordon
    April 5, 2016 at 4:04 PM #

    Well said and I shall endorse it.

  60. Christopher Tester
    April 5, 2016 at 4:46 PM #

    As a Deaf Interpreter, educator, researcher and a Deaf child of hearing parents (who also signs), I endorse this letter. This was a well written and straight forward letter filled with facts. We need to see more of these outside of the Deaf world, in the general public. Thank you!

  61. Nancy Rourke, De'VIA artist
    April 5, 2016 at 11:28 PM #

    Beautifully written. I endorse this letter.

  62. vadim milman
    April 6, 2016 at 9:18 AM #

    It was pleasure meeting you in person when I visited Liz. Very well written letter that provided concise facts and data. I endorse this and demand that AGB stops its bullying tactics that hurt our Deaf children.

  63. Donald Prong
    April 6, 2016 at 1:19 PM #

    On behalf of Ontario Association of the Deaf, we, the gang up here in Canada, are sending our waves all the way down to D.C. with our endorsement. Your reply was in “a great ambassador style”… needless to say, it’s truly an excellent explanatory note to Ms. Sugar. \o/ Donald Prong, Executive Director (Class of ’88).

  64. Lei Ouyang
    April 6, 2016 at 2:09 PM #

    Excellent article and nice information!! I endorse this letter

  65. Chris driscoll
    April 6, 2016 at 11:05 PM #

    You have my support!!! ASL Rocks!!!!

  66. Carolyn McCaskill, Ph.D
    April 6, 2016 at 11:28 PM #

    Impressive and well written letter. I wholeheartedly endorse this letter

  67. Jean Boutcher
    April 7, 2016 at 7:40 PM #

    Logically written! I endorse this!

  68. Dorothy Griffith
    April 8, 2016 at 9:15 AM #

    It is very inspirational to see more and more Deaf Community stand up and wrote a fabulous letter.

    I endorse this article.

  69. Sara Stallard
    April 8, 2016 at 3:29 PM #

    I endorse this letter, too!

    Sara Stallard, High School English Teacher, Model Secondary School for the Deaf

  70. Todd ONeal
    April 9, 2016 at 8:16 PM #

    It looks like you’re having a deer in headlights on the red carpet. Your letter got everyone’s attention! Excellent Job! AGBell, your turn to reply! Good Luck…

  71. Steve Weiner
    April 13, 2016 at 9:47 PM #

    I also endorse this letter.

    Stephen Weiner, M.Ed. Teacher, Horace Mann School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Allston, MA

  72. Human Being
    April 18, 2016 at 1:10 PM #

    AGBAD(HH) needs to be renamed! AGBAA(Alexander Graham Bell Association for Audism) is what it TRULLY is!! I was denied my “mother” tongue of ASL though labeled hard-of-hearing, congenital. The ‘people of the eye’ in every nation are denied by the nations they are born in their “mother”/national community language, as seen by Robert P. McGregor (1849-1926), leader, educator, advocate, aptly expressed, quote: “The utmost extreme to which tyranny can go when its mailed hand descends upon a conquered people is the proscription of their national language…What heinous crime have the deaf been guilty of that their language should be proscribed?” Why do native born citizens of any nation need/require an interpreter to communicate with their nation/state/local community or to have access to government officials/rulers??? Bilingual WORLD!!

  73. Bernard Bragg
    April 19, 2016 at 1:49 PM #

    Reasonable, sensible! I endorse this letter wholeheartedly.

  74. Peter Hershon
    April 19, 2016 at 4:55 PM #

    As a Deaf ASL teacher with a M.Ed, for 13 years at colleges, high schools, and workplace and a lawyer pro se, I fiercely endorses the wonderful article. It is well written with a lot of excellent and scientific facts. It is like telling AGBell that the Earth is not flat! The earth is a metaphor for ASL. AGBell, I may request that you reject the myth of the flat Earth and work collaboratively with all the commmunities for the better lives of all Deaf children.

  75. Linda Levitan
    April 19, 2016 at 11:44 PM #

    AGBell cannot possibly refute this, so its response is . . . no response at all. Thanks for a well-argued, well-supported, powerful letter. May the truth prevail!

  76. Uncle Deaf
    May 27, 2016 at 11:08 PM #

    Well said, we really appreciate with your full effort and time to write this letter. Big credit for you!

  77. Patty Weston
    July 17, 2016 at 12:21 PM #

    As an deaf adult from hearing parents who have signed all my life I fully endorse this letter.

    Chicago Chapter of Illinois Association of the Deaf Secretary

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