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CSD Deaf Students Purchase English/ASL Dictionaries

There’s a particular book that is quite popular with the students studying at the Lehmann Center in Minneapolis, Minn. entitled The Picture Plus Dictionary by Virginia McKinney. It’s no small book, containing 576 pages of words in English, an illustration of each word in American Sign Language (ASL), and words used in sentences. Because CSD of Minnesota teacher Mary Dykstra often reminds students to share the book, the students finally investigated purchasing their own books.


At first, four students were interested and worked for months and saved their earnings to buy their very own copies.


“I’m so excited to get my own book,” commented student Kibru Minuta, one of the original students to purchase the book. “I learn more sign language with this book,” said Maymuna Muse.


And, according to Dajuma Ali, “It’s worth owning because the book explains what is a noun and a verb.”


Eventually, these students influenced their peers to purchase their own books too in order to catch up with them. “It was quite amazing for me,” says Dykstra, “the book is certainly a learning tool, but more importantly it is also a prized possession.”

NLLC: Top Middle School and High School Students to Participate in this Year’s National Leadership and Literacy Camp for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Youth

Camp Lakodia announced the 38 high school students and 52 middle school students selected for participation in this year’s National Leadership and Literacy Camp (NLLC), two separate programs that bring together gifted deaf and hard of hearing students to sharpen their literacy and journalism skills along with their leadership abilities. The NLLC program for 9th-12th graders will be held from June 29–July 18, and the NLLC program for 5th-8th graders will be from July 20-Aug. 1, both at CSD’s Camp Lakodia, in Madison, S.D.
Ninety exceptional deaf and hard of hearing students, as well as 10 hearing peers fluent in sign language (mainly children of deaf adults or CODAs), from all across the nation, some as far away as Alaska, were selected from a competitive application process in which academic achievement, journalism skills and leadership talent are among the strongest considerations.
This year’s NLLC program is being co-directed by none other than Frank Turk, affectionately known as the “Father of Deaf Youth in America,” who, for more than 50 years, has shared his development philosophy and leadership principles with schools and programs for the deaf and hard of hearing people all across America, and Gary Olsen, one of the co-founders of the National Association for the Deaf’s Youth Leadership Camp and a deaf youth advocate of international acclaim. The tag-team of this dynamic duo will mark, among other things, a reunion of Deaf America’s most successful youth leaders in contemporary history.


For more information about the camp, go to

CSD's Ongoing Support of Internet Accessibility Legislation Reaches House of Representatives

The Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology (COAT) announced that Representative Edward Markey (D-MA) introduced The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2008” to the House of Representatives.  The bill would amend the Communications Act to ensure that new Internet-enabled telephone and television services are accessible to and usable by people with disabilities and closes existing gaps in telecommunications laws.


CSD is a supporter of the bill based on its focus on communications access for deaf and hard of hearing people. Some of the thrusts of the act include clarifying the scope of relay services to include calls between and among people with disabilities and requiring Internet-based service providers to contribute to the Interstate Relay Fund; requiring telephone products used with the Internet to be hearing aid compatible; and allocating up to $10 million/year from universal service funds for equipment used by people who are deaf-blind.

“As Internet technology evolves, we’ve seen a recent migration of television programming and movies to on-demand downloads viewed on computer screens,” said Ben Soukup, CSD chief executive officer. “One of our critical missions at CSD is to create accessibility for our deaf and hard of hearing consumers, and the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2008 makes this possible.”

For more information on COAT, go to