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If you explain to parents: You want your child to be successful at school, in learning? All parents, of course, want this. With this as a mindset they are coming easier to sign language courses. These SL courses visiting parents have contact with other parents. If you have five parents starting, that’s fine. Parents will always spread the word about SL course so the group will grow. In the Netherlands for example this happens.
How do you keep/connect these five parents and find other parents?
I’m not working via deaf association or deaf clubs. I work with deaf children from various ages in mainstream schools. I support them in their learning trajectory. So I also meet parents. I invite these parents to the SL course. Don’t think you can do it quick. It’s not working for parents. Be gentle, talk with them, take a cup of coffee with them. They will trust you sooner or later.
The deaf community first is not important for parents. There learning deaf child is most important to focus on. Don’t press parents with ‘my sign language is important, my deaf community’ in this stage. Parents will not understand in this stage so they will refuse you.
Give parents this: you want your child learn optimal? They will reply: ‘yes, of course’. You can explain: Sign language can support your child’s learning progress optimal. In sum, keep a dialogue with parents about it. Stay gentle, don’t be hard.
Do parents know about financial possibilities for SL courses? Do they pay themselves or is it paid by others?
SL courses are free to access and funded for parents. In the Netherlands we started with the first group parents. They followed successful the first SL courses. In this group there are three mothers involved. These three mothers started working together and set up a Facebookgroup to share information for parents. This facebookgroup is growing steadily. Parents knows other parents and invite them for the facebookgroup
The facebookgroup now have approx. 500 members. These three mothers still keep other parents informed about the importance of SL for learning opportunities for their mainstream child; they explain other parents about their experiences and so on. Parents are the best people to inform other parents, because they are equal to each other. If parents have questions other parents can’t answer, the three mothers will send these parents to Mathilde de Geus.