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Families of DHH Children: Introduction Transcript

[Title slide appears with the following text: “For Families with Deaf & Hard of Hearing Children Building a Foundation of Language Introduction (State of Minnesota logo) Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota Commission of the Deaf, DeafBlind & Hard of Hearing”]

[Leala Holcomb appears and begins to sign.]

>> Leala: Hello! Today we will discuss your family including your deaf or hard of hearing child, and how you can promote language and literacy at the home. 

[Slide with text appears:

“Foundation of Accessible Language”.]

[Leala reappears and continues to sign.]

>> Leala (continued): It is critical that from the day they are born, babies should be exposed to language. They pick it up through daily exposure, through reception, which leads to a strong foundation in literacy, which will have a significant impact on their lives. Sign language has many benefits to support a child’s development. 

[Slide with text appears: 

“Benefits of a Fully Accessible Language Foundation: 

  • Bonding with your child
  • Develop language on a regular timeline
  • Develop literacy without delays
  • Improve social-emotional development
  • Fosters positive feelings about self
  • Positive behavioral development
  • Learning to sign can help (can’t hurt) spoken language development
  • Exposure to print (early literacy development).”] 

[Leala reappears and continues to sign.]

>> Leala (continued): The Clerc Center is an invaluable resource with a wealth of information in regards to early language access. Go ahead and check out their website. 

[Text briefly appears next to Leala:

“For more detailed information on language development visit: 

  • “Focusing on Early Accessible Language” - Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center.]

>> Leala (continued): For those of you who don’t know sign language, don’t worry about that. We have many different ways that you can communicate with your child. You can show pictures, use gestures and actions, utilize fingerspelling or mouthing words, use baby signs - all of those can build your child’s language. Your child’s language development will reinforce their literacy skills as well. Literacy development starts at infancy - it does not matter if the baby has yet to learn to read, they are still exposed to language through incidental learning - seeing words in their environment. We will share some examples through daily opportunities such as bathtime, mealtime, playtime, going to the store, going outside, bedtime. You can incorporate language and literacy through your daily activities as they grow concurrently. 

[Text briefly appears next to Leala: 

“Strategies to build language & literacy during:

  • Play Time
  • Snack Time
  • Reading Time
  • Mindfulness Time.”]

>> Leala (continued): We will share different examples of how language and literacy can build upon each other through daily activities by using these four examples: through play, during snack time, reading time, and moments of mindfulness. 

[End credits: 

“Created by 

Debbie Golos, PhD 

Associate Professor & Coordinator of the Deaf Education Teacher Preparation Program 

University of Minnesota

Leala Holcomb, PhD 

Early Childhood Education Specialist

Brynn Roemen, MEd 

Instructor in the Department of Educational Psychology 

University of Minnesota

Damon Timm

Video Production


Leala Holcomb


[End credits:

(State of Minnesota logo)

“This webinar series was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $360,725 with zero percentage financed with non-governmental sources. The content are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit

“Produced by the Minnesota Department of Health, and the Minnesota Commission of the Deaf, DeafBlind & Hard of Hearing.”]

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