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.