Title: 'The Deaf Family Literacy Academy- Promoting Family Involvement in Early Intervention'
Track: 3-Early Intervention and Beyond
Audience: Primary Audience: Non-Profit Agency
Secondary Audience: State Education Agency
Tertiary Audeince: Part C Agency/Program
Keyword(s): deaf mentors, early communication, shared reading, family literacy
Learning Objectives: At the end of the session, participants will be able to discuss why deaf mentors and home visits are important to early intervention programs. At the end of the session, participants will be able to identify the four components of Family Literacy and how these are applied to families with deaf and hard of hearing babies.


This presentation describes a unique early intervention program for families with deaf or hard of hearing children 0-3 that combines weekly home visits by Deaf Mentors with the 4 components of Family Literacy programs: 1) Adult education for parents in American Sign Language (ASL) and book sharing strategies using speech, sign language, and print, 2) Child education in language development through ASL, 3) Parent and child activities 4) support for family transitions through parent support groups, family socials, and informational programs (e.g. “understanding the Family Support Plan,” “preparing for your child’s Individual Family Service Plan,” “meet successful Deaf adults”). The Deaf Family Literacy Academy, A Volunteer USA Program has been serving families in a densely populated region of the Southeast for over five years and will be illustrated with the use of video clips, parent commentary, and program outcome data showing increased language and social skills for deaf and hard of hearing children and improved communication between parents and their children. The presenter will share the successes as well as challenges of providing early intervention services as a not-for-profit community agency partnering with state and local agencies to support an array of choices and combinations of services for families.
Presentation(s): Not Available
Handouts: Not Available
Jennifer Jones - Volunteer USA Foundation
     Credentials: B.A. in Deaf Education and Elementary Education, M.A. in Curriculum Design with a focus on families with deaf and hard of hearing children.
     Other Affiliations: Florida Association of the Deaf, American Society of Deaf Children.
      Jennifer Jones received a Bachelor’s degree in Deaf Education and Elementary Education from Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida. She received her Master’s degree from University of California at San Diego in Curriculum Design. She co-founded the non-profit agency, Alliance for Families with Deaf Children in 2001. She has over 15 years of experience working with deaf and hard of hearing children and their families. She joined the Volunteer USA Foundation team in August of 2009 as the director of the Deaf Family Literacy Academy. She oversees the program in three counties in Florida.
Rebecca Burns - University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee
     Credentials: Ph.D. Linguistics, Colorado University
      Dr. Burns is an Assistant Professor of ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) in the College of Education. Her primary research interest is the role of Knowledge About Language (linguistics and its applications) in pre-service and in-service teacher education and its impact on student achievement in the classroom. Dr. Burns received her Ph.D. from Colorado University in Linguistics with an emphasis on child language development. She has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in Education and Linguistics at several universities in southern Florida: Florida International University, University of Miami, Florida Gulf Coast University, and USF Tampa Campus. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Alliance for Families with Deaf Children (AFDC).