Saturday, March 31, 2007

Part II: Through Deaf Family's Eyes on PBS Through Deaf Eyes

Barb DiGi and her deaf children, A.V. and Brianna, share their perspectives on PBS Through Deaf Eyes (Part II of II).

Part I: Through Deaf Family's Eyes on PBS Through Deaf Eyes

Barb DiGi and her deaf children, A.V. and Brianna, share their perspectives on PBS Through Deaf Eyes (Part I of II).

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Why I will never go anywhere without my pager ever again!

Why this experience had taught me not to leave anywhere without my pager device ever again!


After reading your comments, here is my response:

Hello folks!

Thank you for wishing me well. I wore a neck brace for a week and an half and been feeling stiff ever since. Trying to get some massage therapy..ahhh!!

It is just something to think about how we are able to have access to communication when you encounter an incident that puts you in an emergency situation.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


In this vlog, Barb DiGi wanted to make a tribute to Mary Williamson Erd, an unforgotten "Sign" hero, who was the only female signer shown in "The Preservation of Sign Language" video. Mary W. Erd performed from a famous poem by Longfellow titled, "The Death of Minnehaha" and see how she produced a sign that looked like EAR-CHEEK for deaf. You would be surprised what Barb DiGi had found out. Enjoy!


Vital Records

Mary Williamson Erd's article about Michigan School for the Deaf

Picture of Mary Williamson Erd

Two Deaf Teachers Honored (bottom right)

Death of Minnehaha poem

Many thanks to Sign Media for granting permission to copy the video. You can purchase "The Preservation of Sign Language" videotape from

Saturday, March 17, 2007

My response to Jay on "The mind is a terrible thing to waste"


Thank you for delivering your valid points in your vlog. I truly enjoyed how you presented your perspectives that made a lot of sense but it surely stirred up a lot of emotions inside of me.

We will always cherish and value our Deaf heritage where we can preserve and pass it on to the next deaf generation by educating them. We cannot live without history since it provides us a blueprint of who we are today. A rapid changing society along with innovative technology surely affects how we live and interact making us different than our deaf ancestors.

To make our goals more successful, as you said, we should be including hearing people who advocate ASL and bilingual education just the same way Martin Luther King included white people. Without white people, I doubt that the civil rights movement will be as successful. So we need to look at this way, we do need them to be on our side where this powerful message can make more impact. I have a dream for us to march and make a speech at the Capitol Hill where we can push for Bi-BI NOW! This is very possible for us to get to this point. I would like us to talk about this plan :-) so let's brainstorm. I get the feeling we will get to somewhere with our messages but we need a solid and organized plan. Do you think this is possible?

As far as deaf education goes, we do have a long way to go battling the concept to fit bilingual instruction in deaf education. It is much more challenging since today's hearing devices (digital hearing aids, cochlear implants) hinder the value of bilingual since parents and educators don't feel it is necessary to include ASL that these deaf children can manage English alone. We need to prove that bilingual will benefit these deaf children anyway but that is the challenging part.

I felt honored when you used me as an example and I surely hope the others will follow by providing their examples to make it more visual and heard. The use of is a mechanism for us that we can take a great deal of advantage to use the system. I think we are in an awakening period where we realize that we have found this precious gem that unlocked our cages allowing us to interact by sharing our comments, thoughts and knowledge that facilitate the others to broaden their horizons.

I found that it is more powerful using youtube (I know you are an advocate of videoegg!) because it is more commonly used by international deaf people where you may make more impact by delivering your future messages. This is what I've experienced when getting e-mails from deaf foreigners since they discovered my video through youtube not only from deafread. There are many, many deafies here in USA not paying attention to There are several friends of mine who are involved in deaf education field and they are not that familiar with deafread yet. I urged them to take the time to view and engage. So this is only a beginning but we can move forward as we continue to spread the word about deafread.

The more deaf advocates (and hearing) get involved, the more powerful and unified we will be. I was inspired seeing a lot of deafies involved for the Unity for Gallaudet cause that lured me to this v/blogosphere but what happened afterwards? I noticed people respond less to issues such as deaf education but more to "personalized" issues. I was comparing the number of people viewing my vlogs about an incident in the aiport and about deaf educational issues. Guess the difference on how many people saw between those types of vlogs? The airport story is now viewed by 16,000 people while deaf educational issues, the highest I could get, is 3,000 (the airport story was posted 2 weeks after the Future of Gallaudet: Deaf Education vlog).

But I am not giving up since I realize that people are slowly discovering this kind of information and day-by-day. I keep on receiving e-mails asking me to use my vlogs about bilingual education in their research and universities. You never know how any vlogs can make an impact that will be picked up as a resource by educators/administrators. We always are thirsty for visual examples of bilingual education especially that there are plenty of bs red tape getting permission to have deaf children shown in the public video. I am fortunate to have young deaf children that I, as a parent, can go ahead and decide to tape them as long as the experience is positive for them. My kids gave me the green light and I give them plenty of rewards. They got to hear from others who told them how proud they are about them reading and participating in the process. These words inspired them so much that they said they would do it again.

There is so much more I want to say but I realize I will just talk about this from time to time. Thanks again for the inspiration!

Your old "neighborhood" friend,

Barb DiGi

Friday, March 16, 2007

Me hold my gun? Let me show you my bullets.

Barb DiGi is going to show you some brief clips of the film, "Preservation of Sign Language" from 1913 showing how ALL speakers who used the sign for DEAF. She did watch a series of two videotapes twice! Did she actually see DEAF-CLOSE sign even once in that film? You see for yourself. She is not interested about labeling whatsoever but she is more fascinated about the origin of deaf sign and why it has evolved. She believes the EAR-MOUTH sign came first then it changed to EAR-CLOSE sign during the years of oral practice in most schools for the deaf then it went back to EAR-MOUTH sign.

Also she provides her analysis whether DEAF-CLOSE sign is supposed to be used in a formal setting based on the Linguistics of ASL book, 1st edition. On page 315, it said that "it is true of the two-handed form of DEAF, which is used in formal settings, and the form of DEAF produced at the ear location is used in informal settings." It also said that "the sign used in informal settings would be totally unacceptable in formal settings." (Valli and Lucas). There is even a sketch distinguishing both signs. Now when the book said that DEAF-CLOSE was considered a formal sign, then tell me why all of these speakers in the film used the EAR-MOUTH sign, not even EAR-CLOSE sign, in a formal setting (very formal since filming was rare and that the speakers were talking to the audience)? Perhaps that formal rule applied later on in the midst of the century when DEAF-CLOSE sign was created around the time that the infamous Milan decision had more ripple effect.

If you are able to find a clip of DEAF-CLOSE sign from 1913 -1920, please do share. Barb is just developing her theory based on the documents she has seen so far. It is healthy for us to discuss about this issue of deaf history as long as we open our minds and respect each other :-)

So hypothetically "signing" (instead of speaking), if EAR-CLOSE sign actually existed in early 1900's, I find it interesting that the speakers in the videotape did not even use that sign when presenting to an audience. If they were to use EAR-CLOSE sign to get a job as teachers or administrators, obviously it was for political reasons and that they were oppressed.

Special thanks to Sign Media for granting permission to tape some of the clips! Please visit if you want to order these videotapes.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Which is first? EAR-CLOSE sign or EAR-MOUTH sign for DEAF?

It is like asking which comes out first, the chicken or the egg? Barb DiGi provides her analysis of the deaf sign origin in her short and sweet vlog. You can click on Jared's blog to see the clip of George Veditz's production of the sign, DEAF, that occured in 1913. So which DEAF sign do you think is the oldest? Is it right to call those who use the sign CLOSE-DEAF a racist? Or an audist for that matter?

Monday, March 12, 2007

Bilingual Instruction in Action with Deaf Children: NALB

Barb DiGi demonstrates several applications to No ASL Left Behind (NALB), Chapter 1 series by having her elementary-aged deaf children reading the text using ASL. This simple reading activity is an example how to make a leap forward in reading comprehension among Deaf children. Had to edit from 20 minutes of taping to under 6 so the whole process cannot not be shown but you will see how it works to give you the picture.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

How can ASL help English development? Chapter 1 (NALB)

Barb DiGi shares her created flowchart of a true bilingual model in her series on "No ASL Left Behind" (NALB) based on the interactions of both languages that lead to a higher cognitive thinking level. Deaf students can learn direclty from written English with the support of ASL which is considered the most effective method. It is evident that there is a strong relationship between ASL and reading.

Reference: Rethinking Education of Deaf Students by Sue Livingston.