After teaching for 30 years in deaf education Sandra Heflin became convinced that in order to really impact the lives of the students she was teaching, she had to convince parents that communicating with their children was not just an idea, it wasn’t even an option, it was ESSENTIAL. Early intervention and parental involvement are two of the most important factors of academic success.
Students Ms. Heflin had taught would graduate and return to say “hello” – pregnant, on drugs, unemployed and living on SSI. Their potential all but wasted.
This caused Ms. Heflin to begin to question herself, “Was I such a bad teacher? Was I not doing everything I knew how to give them an adequate education?” She agonized over the fact that so many of her students graduated high school with only a first to third grade reading level- functionally illiterate.
Then Ms. Heflin discovered that this was true for 90% of Deaf High School graduates all over the US! She realized that number was really not surprising when 90% of parents do not learn to communicate fluently with their Deaf children. With no language input at home, of course, children can not learn to use, read or write a language they had not been exposed to. She began trying to convince parents to become involved.
Ms. Heflin’s last five years of teaching led her to begin using a color-coded language system and saw students jump one to three years in language proficiency. The results were astounding! It was amazing to see her students connect the dots. Once they had the ASL proficiency, learning English became an easier task by comparing ASL to English and giving them English structure in visual patterns they could see and remember.
After 30 years, Sandra Heflin left teaching and directing Deaf Ed programs to concentrate on two things: convincing parents to become active participants in their child’s education and giving them the tools to do it.
This was why and when she founded Color of Language…a non-profit business, with the goal to hopefully change the lives and educational experience for thousands of Deaf and hard of hearing children.
Mission and Goals
Color of Language began creating ASL resources for families and teachers of Deaf children in 2001. Since that time we have expanded our product line from annual Sign Language calendars, to curriculum, DVDs, and teaching aids in three languages: ASL, English and Spanish.
Color of Language is a 501(c)(3) non-profit company which develops educational materials for Deaf children and their families. By doing so, we hope to promote early intervention, development of language and cognitive skills for infants to adults, by providing Sign Language instruction for family members to encourage communication.
In creating educational materials we seek to introduce families to a fun, effective, clear and complete language system that will:
1. Reduce frustration
2. Establish effective discipline
3. Enable meaningful bonding relationships
4. Promote healthy self-esteem
5. Develop cognitive skills
6. Result in age appropriate written skills
We believe the grief process can be shortened through early intervention which will move parents from denial, anger, and grief to acceptance and action!