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Professionals for DHH Families: Chaining Transcript

[Title slide appears with the following text: “For Professionals Working with Families with DHH Children: Language and Literacy Strategies Chaining (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: Chaining is when an object has the same concept, but multiple ways of expressing it. For example, a cat. C-A-T. The fingerspelling of C-A-T is linked to the sign for ‘cat’, which in turn is connected to the printed word for ‘cat’, and the spoken word by voicing ‘cat’. It can then link to the action of pretending to be a cat, or connecting it to a picture or a video of a cat. All of those mean the same thing - the concept of a cat, but expressed through different mediums and ways. The strategy of chaining is a wonderful way to connect language and literacy together, in both ASL and English. I will now share different examples of how to use chaining. 

[Leala is replaced by a video clip. A parent and a child are sitting together on a couch with an open picture book in front of them.]

>> Parent: It’s called a L-L-A-M-A. Do it with me. 

>> Parent and Child together: L-L-A-M-A.

>> Parent: Llama. 

(Child copies the sign)

>> Child: Llama.

[Video clip is replaced by another video clip with the same parent and child. They are now sitting at a kitchen table with two cups and two bottles of milk and orange juice off to the side.]

>> Parent: What drink is it? 

>> Child: Cow’s milk.

[Video clip is replaced by another video clip with the same parent and child. They are sitting on the floor playing with a toy horse.]

>> Parent: What is this called? 

>> Parent and Child: (fingerspelling together) H-O-R-S-E. 

>> Parent: Yeah! Horse. 

[Video clips ends, and Leala reappears onscreen and continues to sign.]

>> Leala: I will be modeling how you as a professional can help the families practice this strategy. I will take on the role of a professional and interact with a hearing family. You can watch and think on how you would interact with families out there. 

[Leala is replaced by a video clip. Leala as a professional is sitting with a different parent at a table with an iPad standing in front of them.]

>> Leala: See how the mother uses chaining? They point to the horse, and connect it with the sign for horse. Then they connect the sign to the fingerspelling, H-O-R-S-E. You can point, fingerspell it, show the sign, point at it again, spell it again, sign it again, and so on. Want to give it a try? 

>> Parent: (nodding) Yes. (Points at imaginary object). Horse… 

[Video pauses and switches to screen with text: “Pause video: Practice what you would say to families.”]

[Leala reappears onscreen and continues to sign.]

>> Leala (continued): You can practice with the families by trying out this strategy in different settings all through the day. 

[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


Haruna Matsumoto


Oceana Matsumoto


Special thanks to Peters Pictures and Hands Land for permission to incorporate their material in this series and to Stanley Matsumoto and Aaron Waheed for additional filming.”]

[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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