March 13-15, 2016 • San Diego, CA


3/15/2016  |   3:45 PM - 4:15 PM   |  Topical Session 8   |  Pacific Salon 2   |  10 - Policy, Advocacy and Legislative Issues

Language Equality and Acquisition for Deaf Kids!

This workshop will highlight key components of policy changes for early learning language development and acquisition for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children using California’s legislation, SB 210 as a roadmap. What works and what does not, and the importance of working with the Deaf Community, Educators, Parents, and children to create necessary policy changes.

  • Discuss early learning language development and acquisition strategies
  • Identify how to develop parent resource and educator tools to measure progress
  • Discuss various ways the community and educators can partner to end language deprivation of Deaf and hard of hearing children.

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Julie Rems-Smario (Co-Presenter), DawnSignPress, JulieSmario@gmail.com;
Julie Rems-Smario, M.A., M.S.: After graduating from California State University, Northridge, Julie joined California School for the Deaf (CSD) as early childhood educator. After receiving her MS in Counseling, Julie joined the first national training held by Abused Deaf Women Advocacy Services and founded DeafHope as the executive director. In 2010, she returned to CSD as an Educational Consultant working with families and school's media. Her work has been recognized with several awards such as CNN Heroes and E-Women Network International Humanitarian Award.


Financial -

Nonfinancial -

Sheri Farinha (Primary Presenter), NorCal Services for Deaf & HH, SFarinha@norcalcenter.org;
Sheri A. Farinha serves as CEO, NorCal Service for Deaf & Hard of Hearing, since 1993. Ms. Farinha is a nationally known as a strong civil rights advocate for deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the areas of education, employment, services for Survivors of Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence. Sheri is the campaign director for LEAD-K to promote language equality and acquisition nationwide. Ms. Farinha’ s expertise also includes leadership development, legislative and system advocacy, and management in the nonprofit sector.


Financial - No relevant financial relationship exist.

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.

Esperanza Ross (Co-Presenter), Esperanza Ross, esperanza@lstreet.com;
After completing her Juris Doctor degree and earning a Master's degree in Public Policy at Georgetown University, Esperanza Ross served as an organizer for the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union in Los Angeles. She was responsible for coordinating the campaign to change U.S. immigration laws. Esperanza opened her own advocacy firm in 2002 and continues to represent a broad base of clients including farm worker rights and special education. In addition, Esperanza helped to secure over $500 million in school facility funding in the past couple of years. Esperanza is the daughter of a farm worker and political consultant and was born in Salinas, California. Her personal references include current Members of the State Legislature as well as former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, former Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante, former Senate President Pro-Tem and Chair of Democratic Party John Burton, and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo among others.


Financial - Receives Consulting fee for Consulting,Independent contractor from California Coalition of Option Schools (CCOS) and Center for Early Intervention on Deafness (CEID).  

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.