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Professionals for DHH Families: Get & Maintain Attention Transcript

[Title slide appears with the following text: “For Professionals Working with Families with DHH Children: Language and Literacy Strategies Get & Maintain Attention (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: A child’s ability to maintain attention is critically important for language acquisition. There are different ways of getting a child’s attention. You can wave towards them, you can tap them on the shoulder,  or you can knock on a table or floor. If a child looks at you, sign to them. When they look at the things such as print, then wait, don’t keep signing when they are looking away. Wait. Give the child a chance to observe the object and then look back at you again. If the child doesn’t look at you again, go ahead and wave, tap their shoulder, or knock on a table or floor to get their attention again.  When you have their attention again, resume signing. Now we will show you different examples of these strategies. 

[Leala is replaced by a video of a parent and child sitting at a kitchen table with a bowl, two mugs, milk and orange juice. The child has a strawberry. The parent waves and then taps lightly on the table until the child looks up.]

[Video changes to the same child and parent sitting together on the floor in front of a gray couch. The child has a stuffed horse. The parent waves until the child looks at her.]

>> Parent:  You’re playing with the horse. (Parent and child smile.) What animal is that? (Child looks down at the animal.)

[Video returns to Leala.]

>> Leala: I will model how you as a professional can help families practice these strategies. I will take on the role as a professional interacting with a family member, a hearing parent. Watch how I do this while thinking about how you will interact with your families.  

[Video switches to Leala and a different parent sitting next to each other in front of a laptop. Leala points out what is on the laptop to the parent.]

>> Leala: Did you see how the mother got the child’s attention? (parent nods) The mother waved in the air, tapped the child’s shoulder, and knocked on the table. You can do the same thing when you are getting your child’s attention. Shall we practice? (Parent nods. Leala looks away. The parent reaches over and taps Leala’s shoulder.)

[Leala and parent are replaced by a screen with the following text, “Pause video. Practice what you would say to families.” After a few seconds, Leala reappears onscreen.]

>> Leala: You can practice different activities with families on how to use these strategies all 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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