Saturday, June 23, 2007

Never Underestimate the Power of Vlogging

I would like to share a letter from a deaf mother, Rachele, who used my vlog on No ASL Left Behind (NALB): Chapter One that was produced last winter talking about bilingual concept on how ASL plays a role in enhancing literacy. Little had I known that it would be used in a mediation hearing to convince the school district to keep her deaf son at a school for the deaf. I can't help but burst in tears (of joy) that it helped changed their minds about the value of ASL in deaf education. It has been an emotional moment for me. I am still eyeing on developing more chapters on NALB in the coming fall.

Thank you, Rachele, for granting your permission to publish your letter. I am so happy to learn that my vlog saved your son from transferring to a mainstreaming program that is against your will and his. Good luck to you all! (5:10) quicktime To view Youtube, click here

Here is the letter:

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Hello Barb,

My name is Rachele Buckendahl I am deaf myself and I watched your video about NALB and realized I need this video to show my Mediation meeting today. I showed your video to the school district board and their attorney they learned something about this. Why? I have been struggle with them for about three month the district want to place my son back to his old mainstream school the district decided with their statement said my son don't fit deaf school. Because his hearing test show he have some hearing and can hear if using hearing aid and they felt MSD isn't properly placement for him because he missed a lot of speech. I told them my son sometime want to learn speech depending on his interest and his mood feel like to talk but he don't speak like hard of hearing he is profound deaf.

District also said want my son to be in hearing culture and ASL not important they feel ASL is wasting time learning that is not true! They said speech and English sign is not enough for my son and expect him in hearing class with interpreter full time. I told them no I prefer my son stay MSD because he have peers there and he learned so much there. MSD also provide speech so my son can learn both way ASL and learn speech too. I don't allow district remove his ASL! So when I showed them I wish you add the voice speaker with the video but interpreter watch your video and talk at the same time so they heard everything what you explained in the video.

District understand clear now they never knew and never understand why I disagree with them in past few month. Your video did helped my case today and I won the mediation my son will go back to MSD this fall I am very grateful to have your video to show proof!

And I have a question do you have cd copy to sent me one? I know I am not allowed to copy the video because it is copyright. I would like to have the chart you explained in the video because hard to read the chart also need your explain NALB in the video cd. Because I feel I need this in case in the future to help deaf parents who might struggle with their district and I willing to advocate them.


Hi Rachele,

I am inspired to learn that my video clip has made an impact in helping hearing individuals gain a better perspective on the benefits of ASL instruction to enhance English literacy and even speech in the school district team. I have to admit that when I read your e-mail, my tears came out rolling.

This fall I will focus more on developing bilingual theory models and applications. I have already made several clips on bilingual application videos to help people understand the concept. I definitely will consider adding voice over in a series of video clips on NALB. I am not even past Chapter 1 as this is only the beginning. For now you have my permission to share my vLogs as long as credit is given. I strongly believe in community sharing where we all can help each other to achieve common goals.

Now I would like to ask for your permission to publish your letter (it is up to you to use your full name or just first name or none at all) on my vlog to explain to the deafies that this is an example of impact of vlogging especially about deaf educational issues. This will encourage the others to consider about advocating ASL in deaf children's education. There are a lot of myths and misconceptions coming from hearing people toward deaf people and I feel that it is our job to eradicate these false perceptions and replace it to factual information based on activities and research.

Thank you for letting me know about your son. May he continue to thrive in MSD.

Best regards,



Oscar the Observer said...

May I be first to congratulate you, rachelle for your victory. I also congratulate you, Barb, for your marvelous plugging on!

Long live DeafRead!!!

drmzz said...

Thumbs up!

mishkazena said...

Way to go, Barb

Now that you are aware of the significance of that vlog, can you get a friend to add the voicing to the vlog? Many hearing parents are clueless on the value of ASL in promoting English literacy. Some may use that tape for their IDEA meetings and get better services for their deaf children.

Jaymie said...

Hello again. :)

You surfaced a great idea! If you decide to make a professional DVD on NALB, I would love to purchase one from you and use it in my school (and other sites that are affiliated with my program). I think it would open a lot of eyes and minds about utilizing ASL in Deaf Education. Just imagine could actually make this into a small business. You could travel and speak to different schools/educational sponsored groups about NALB and promote its idea and perhaps educators would begin to utilize your ideas.

Hats off to you, Barb. :)

Deaf Farmer said...

I agree with Jaymie's comment.

Thumbs Up!!!

Anne Marie said...

I am already using vlogs and blogs as qualitative data for Deaf Ed reform here in Colorado. I also use vlogs for presentation on ASL linguisitics for training here. Many responded in awe. Indeed they are quite transparent and powerful.

Jean Boutcher said...

I particularly like your brilliant idea of producing bilingual (ASL-voice) applications in DVD. Vlogging is the best means of paving the way for both the quality education and equal communciation access between children and educators. I must truly and greatly appreciate your endless and tireless progressiveness

LaRonda said...

Barb, Kudos to you for making the kind of vlogs that can educate others. Kudos to this mom for choosing to use this vlog to fight for the rights of her child.

I have used vlogs from DeafRead in my Parenting Skills class that I teach. there are some really great resources out there.

PS: Liked the border on your videoclip. :)

~ LaRonda

DeafMom3 said...

Awesome!! Thanks for sharing with us! It's exciting and right time for us the Deaf educators to do the Vlogs... knowing that it will make differences in our future Deaf children's education. Good luck in producing the DVD! Again, thanks for your marvelous job!

Aslpride said...

Video presentation in ASL + Ideology = Powerful Message!

I am speaking toward Barb and other vloggers to keep up with good work! :)

Dianrez said...

Information was the key. Rachelle used your vlog as supporting of her argument and what a deaf teacher has to say about issues is more believable than a parent.

Never underestimate the power of information put in the hands of people who need it. So many of us in the deaf community don't have access to information that is in print, especially about legislation.

Wonderful job, Barb! And great job, Rachelle, for finding it and using it effectively!

Susan said...

wow, that's amazing. Wonderful news! :)

I got a bit of tears coming out of my eyes too! :)

I agree with Jaymie too - would love to buy your DVD's on NALB.

Karen Mayes said...

That is great to hear this inspiring story! I had a similar experience to Rachele with my child David (I was pregnant with my daughter at the time.) After learning he had prgressive hearing loss at the age of 3, my husband and I decided to place him at Rochester School for the Deaf. At the time, we lived in Greece, NY. We had an IEP meeting and boy, we fought, fought... for 4 hours. People had different ideas of how my son's meets should be met and the audiologist from RSD and I wanted to see him at RSD. At the end, they agreed to place him at RSD only IF I provided the note from his doctor stating he had progressive hearing loss and I agreed to it. And they said IF one slot in the universal pre-K class opened up, they wanted to withdraw him from RSD and place him in the pre-K class. At the end, I was exhausted, angry, etc., I said yes just to get the hell out of the meeting. Anyway a few months later, my family moved out of Greece, NY into East Rochester where the school district was more flexible and more respectful of parents' wishes.

If we had this vlogging set up a decade ago, what a big difference it would have made in many deaf children's lives and that many parents would not have to face the ignorance of the IEP people... ugh!

WAD said...

Reading the title, "Never Underestimate the Power of Vlogging" -- How true!

IamMine said...

:) I know who that woman is. :D

We mainstreamed together in elementary school before she transferred to MSD at some point.

Yes, I remember at one event, she was telling me how she was really struggling to have her deaf son transferred to MSD - it was unbelievable.

But I didn't know how the system worked in order to give my inputs at all.

That deaf/hoh program her son was enrolled in is H-O-R-R-B-L-E!!! *shudders*

DeafRead didn't exist back then either. ;)

Congratulations, Rachele! :)

Karen Mayes said...

Hats off to the DeafRead's human editors who set up DeafRead for making a big difference in the deaf children's lives. May we continue working together in making the world a bit easier for our future deaf generations...

Now we know that we have a big job in educating the medical staff, the public school systems (especially IEP people... that is why we need parent advisors with knowledge of deaf culture and deaf education on IEP boards, etc.)

Good job Barb.

Karen Mayes said...

Huh, your posting brought me back my memories of my first IEP meeting with my son... It was awful. I remember thinking and feeling angry at the hearing people for blowing me off, making me feel like I did not know what I was doing and that I was a child abuser if I sent my son to RSD. It was like as soon as my son was "officially" labeled hearing impaired child, the state NYS owned him and I was not his real parent at all. It was an awful feeling. Later on I learned that the goal of Greece's school district was not to allow any deaf children to attend RSD, citing that Greece had all the resources that RSD had and more.

Everytime I went to IEP meetings in Rochester, in the back of my mind I always marveled at the irony of it since none of the IEP people met my children except only through listening to their teachers and from reading the IEP paperwork.

Thanks for allowing me to rant about my first experience with my son's IEP meeting...

Jac said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
IamMine said...

You know what... I forgot to say good job!!!

I was cutting the grass and went, "Oh didn't even pat her on the back!" :P


This is a BIG thing!! :))))

Cynthia said...


You are one of the best assests to discuss about ASL, communication skills and deaf education to national public parents.

Don't let this stop you and share this wonderful tool with professors in the deaf education dept. of unversities.

I can't bear to see more mainstreamed students coming to Schools for the Deaf later in years when I work there. Because their education in mainstreamed schools are delayed when their reading and math skills are low due to the communication barrier.

Keep on your powerful and magic words to share with others.

Stephen J. Hardy said...


You made a difference and keep doing what you do best. You seem to find your niche and that will take you a long way to success. A lot of people will benefit from your talents.

Blessed to be you.

James said...

Keep it up good work! I m proud of this