SignWriting List
December 30, 2013

Hello James!
Thank you for your report below about your work with Nicaraguan Sign Language, SignWriting, and establishing Deaf schools in Nicaragua...

I have been reading your messages and enjoying the passion and wealth of information you are providing all of us.

When I look back at your work in Bluefields and Condega, Nicaragua, years ago, I am filled with admiration for all you accomplished. Teaching SignWriting to Nicaraguan Deaf children in 1996 and thereabouts was a very brave thing to do, and you established schools for the Deaf in Nicaragua that did not exist before, and are still in existence, thanks to you, which means everyday, Deaf children are getting educations because of the groundwork you laid a long time ago. And the fact that SignWriting was used extensively for around a decade in those schools, and is still used, even though to a lesser degree today, is also remarkable. Thank you for your ongoing work keeping Deaf education alive there, no matter how difficult.

Thank you for this web site:

Nicaraguan Sign Language Projects

And this is our old web site, which needs to be updated:

SignWriting in Nicaragua

And here, for example, is a Masters Degree thesis about your work in Deaf education and SignWriting in Nicaraguan Sign Language:

Literacy in Nicaraguan Sign Language
A Masters Thesis by Janice Gangel-Vasquez

and an example of literature...

If You Give A Mouse A Cookie in Nicaraguan Sign Language

and there are so many more - I need to find all the links and make a message about all the links to your posted literature -

Val ;-)

On Dec 22, 2013, at 2:29 PM, James Shepard-Kegl <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Valerie,
> To answer your question about Nicaragua and for others not familiar with our work there ---
> Nicaraguan Sign Language Projects has not operated a school in Nicaragua for many years.  Historically, we operated a school in Bluefields and we were instrumental in bringing Nicaraguan Sign Language to Condega.
> More recently, NSLP has operated outreach projects in Ometepe (not currently) and this year in Condega.  We also pay the salaries of the Deaf teachers working at two schools in Condega.  These teachers received their training with us in part in Bluefields and in part in Maine.  We also supplement the salary of the Deaf teacher in Bilwi.  She also was our former student.
> While all NSLP teachers read SignWriting and use materials written in SignWriting, they do not have administrative control over the curricula used in the classrooms in Condega.  As a result, SignWriting is not today used to the extent it was used a decade ago in Bluefields.  
> The Nicaraguan Sign Language Manual, published this year by NSLP, uses SignWriting extensively.  However, at the present time, we have no funding for the purpose of reproducing and distributing this manual (beyond Condega, with one copy to Bilwi and one to Bluefields) nor to conduct workshops nor proper instruction, even to our own employees, of the grammar of their first language.
> This month, we terminated our fourth Deaf teacher for lack of funding.  For those of you who look at our ISN Handbook (downloadable at, this teacher is one of the young women featured throughout the text.
> As for the schools themselves, there are two schools in Condega: a government run primary special education school with a class for Deaf and a private (somewhat evangelical) secondary school where Deaf children are mainstreamed in classes with a hearing teacher who is aided by a government funded sign language interpreter and an NSLP Deaf teacher.  We would describe this as a team approach to teaching.  Both schools are doing quite well.  These are not schools with a great many Deaf students, but Deaf children in Condega do receive an education.  Similarly, the St. Ines convent provides a class for Deaf children in Bilwi, and has done so for many years now.  This class also is co-taught by a hearing teacher and NSLP Deaf teacher.
> -- James



Valerie Sutton
SignWriting List moderator
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