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13:7 Friday, July 22, 2011

Revolutionary Exchanges Abound

Renowned Researchers Gather at the 21st ICED
to Discuss Vital Themes on Deaf Education

Educators and administrators of programs for deaf children began holding international congresses on the education of the deaf (ICED) in 1878. Since that first meeting in Paris, the congress has grown from a limited number of participants, who held somewhat parochial views, from a few countries in Europe and the United States to a global phenomenon with attendees and participants with truly universal perspectives and experiences from every continent. The contrast between the first congresses and the twenty-first (Partners in Education, held in 2010) illustrates the growing willingness of professionals to embrace diversity of opinions and exchange information and ideas within an atmosphere of mutual respect.

Partners in Education: Issues and Trends from the 21st International Congress on the Education of the Deaf, the second volume in the Deaf Education series, features all of the keynote addresses by renowned researchers at the 21st ICED to explore the many multifaceted challenges facing the world’s deaf students. Part One--Introduction presents a brief discussion of the first 20 congresses and considerations of some of the then topical issues addressed in each congress. It was at the the 21st ICED in Vancouver, British, Columbia, Canada, under the theme of Partners in Education, that seven strands were identified. Part Two--Congress Strands and Keynote Addresses discusses each of the seven strands in the order of keynote presentations: educational environments, language and literacy, early intervention, unique challenges in developing countries, educating learners with diverse needs, technology in education, and sign languages and Deaf culture. Parts Three and Four bring this volume to a close with selected abstracts to be included in the proceedings and implications for the educational future of deaf and hard of hearing individuals.

Read more in “Strand 1. Educational Environments,” and receive a discount of 20% off when you order Partners in Education today. For online orders, type “JUL2011” in the box labeled “use promo code” next to the checkout button, or order by mail.


“The past fifty years have witnessed a flowering of research on sign languages, largely on their phonology and morphology but in more recent years increasingly on their syntax and semantics.” Authors Donna Jo Napoli, Mark Mai, and Nicholas Gaw make this observation in their new book Primary Movement in Sign Languages: A Study of Six Languages. In it the authors describe how they created a new way to categorize sign languages by direction of movement, thereby establishing the relationship between six distinct sign languages without depending on grammar.

Napoli, Mai, and Gaw explain that, “In this book we look for overarching characteristics for typologizing sign languages by studying another component of the grammar: phonetics. We set out to see if we could typologize sign languages by phonetic characteristics, in particular by characteristics of the paths of primary movement. In this work we offer the results of a study of five sign languages. We settled on these five languages both because we read English, French, and Italian and because they offered the possibility of looking for generalizations within and across language families. We then added a sixth language to test some of our resulting hypotheses on. As far as we know, very little has been published in the way of crosslinguistic studies of sign language phonetics until now.”

Read more about this new study in the introduction. Order Primary Movement in Sign Languages now for a 20% savings off the regular price. Place your order by mail or online. When ordering online, type “JUL2011” in the box labeled “use promo code” next to the checkout button.


Madan Vasishta’s Deaf in DC: A Memoir recently received a glowing review in The Washington Post: “Deaf in DC begins where Vasishta left off in his 2006 memoir Deaf in Delhi, which described his childhood in India. In this sequel, he occasionally reminisces about his life in India, where he left his family, including a new wife. Mostly, though, Vasishta thrills at his American experience as he acclimates, if awkwardly, to everything from soda machines (‘The vending machine had a refrigerator built into it. I was amazed’) to the concept of privacy (‘In India, almost everything one does is like an open book’). He also learns to be accepted as part of a deaf minority. Vasishta writes about such obstacles with aplomb, rarely expressing anger. Humility and gratitude suffuse this coming-to-America tale that just happens to be about a man who cannot hear.” Reference and Research Book News also took note, stating: “Vasishta’s memoir continues where Deaf in Delhi left off with his acceptance to Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. in 1967, and the beginning of his adult life in a foreign land. Vasishta begins with a chapter recapping his childhood in India and the circumstance surrounding his becoming deaf, before moving through recollections of the next five decades including his extreme culture shock, first car, first Thanksgiving, the transformations of the Civil Rights movement, and the path to his PhD.” Learn more about Madan Vasishta’s life experiences in this intriguing new memoir by reading chapter two, “Arrival in America,” and order Deaf in DC.


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