Breaking New Ground
in Software Design
The SignWriter Computer Program is a "sign language processor",
similar to a word processor for typing signs in SignWriting.
Literature can be typed and printed in signs, fingerspelling
and words. SignWriter also offers a wonderful dictionary feature,
giving teachers, parents and students immediate access to multiple
dictionaries in multiple languages.
Above: Classroom teacher Lorraine
Crespin assists Deaf student Monica Zuniga, at Chaparral Elementary
School in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Monica is learning to type
with the SignWriter Computer Program. Notice the SignWriting
chart on the wall.
SignWriter is an unusual program. Most computer programs do
not work the way SignWriter does. SignWriter is international
in scope, giving users access to many spoken languages and many
signed languages within ONE user interface. The program provides
linguists with a tool to study languages. It provides teachers
and parents dictionaries, vocabulary lists and grammar lessons,
but most importantly, it inspires deaf children to read, write
and type languages. Nothing could be more evident than in Albuquerque,
New Mexico, where deaf children as young as 6 years old were
typing so well that their teachers told me they felt insecure
because the kids could use the computer so much better than they
could!! These same children had problems reading before, but
suddenly they were reading from the computer screen and inspired
to do so.