Friday 24. May 2024

Deaf Adults in Early Intervention

How can we build family-centered early intervention systems that include sustainable mechanisms to connect families to Deaf adults?

Based in research, the Three C’s of Deaf Adults in EI will explore this crucial aspect of FCEI Principles in real-world settings.

Richard Doku from Ghana will share his collaboration experiences as a professional teacher and sign language officer of Ghana National Association of the Deaf to support the Early Care and Education of Deaf Children (ECE). Karen Hopkins from the United States will share her connection experiences as an Early Intervention Detection and Intervention (EHDI) coordinator and director for an early intervention program. Cheryl Spykerman from New Zealand will share her communication experiences as a Deaf Aotearoa First Signs facilitator and team leader. These exemplars of collaboration between deaf and hearing researchers, practitioners, and parents provide replicable models to inform and inspire the development of FCEI systems worldwide.




Elaine Gale 

is an associate professor and program leader for the deaf and hard of hearing teacher preparation programs at Hunter College in NYC. She is currently the chair of the Deaf Leadership International Alliance (DLIA). Gale is also the Lead Investigator for the Hunter College consortium on a research project titled Family ASL: Bimodal Bilingual Acquisition by Deaf Children of Hearing Parents supported by the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).


Richard Doku

is the Sign Language Project officer supporting the Ghana National Association of the Deaf (GNAD) promotion of Ghanaian Sign Language (GhSL) in Ghana through production of GhSL videos for Deaf children and their families, and developing GhSL Teaching and Learning Materials, and a GhSL curriculum for Deaf schools. With his rich experience as a Deaf adult including many years of teaching in Deaf schools, Richard also plays other roles such as training and facilitating GhSL workshops for Ghanaian Sign Language Interpreters, and supporting parents of Deaf children with special counseling service and as Research Assistant for many organizations and institutions including a recent British Academy Global Challenges Research Funded research on Early education for young deaf children and their caregivers in Ghana which is a collaboration between the University of Leeds, UK and UEW.


Karen Hopkins

is the Executive Director of The Children’s Center for Communication at the Beverly School for the Deaf in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. She brings over 32 years of experience as a collaborative teacher of the deaf, special educator, early interventionist, grant writer, and educational administrator to her work with Deaf and hard of hearing children. Her work with families, coupled with her own personal experience as a Deaf adult and parent of a daughter who is hard of hearing have inspired her to create systems that empower families. Hopkins is active in many organization including DLIA. She is the current president of the Hands & Voices HQ board of directors. Karen's current research is focused on perspectives of family empowerment in early intervention systems for Deaf and hard of hearing children.


Cheryl Spykerman

a Child and Youth Team Leader and Facilitator with Deaf Aotearoa, is passionate about her work supporting families with Deaf or hard of hearing children to develop and acquire language using New Zealand Sign Language and to connect with Deaf role models and the Deaf community. She uses her wealth of experience on the job to inform her practice as a team leader, offering mentorship to other facilitators to further develop themselves and the delivery of child and youth services. The Deaf Aotearoa program model infuses Deaf adults in Early Invention families through home visits, online connections, and playgroups emphasizing a rich and natural NZSL model.