Corporation Donates Five Copies of FileMaker Pro 5.5
to our nonprofit Center For Sutton Movement Writing, so
that deaf children at the Hodgin Elementary School in Albuquerque,
New Mexico, can beta test our new program: SignBank
2002: Using FileMaker In Deaf Education
FileMaker is award-winning database software for Windows
and the Macintosh, developed by Apple Computer. As one of
the world's most popular database programs, FileMaker is
used by millions of small businesses to create databases
that manage projects, assets, medical records, inventory,
bookkeeping and payroll. But don't let the friendly visual
user-interface fool you! FileMaker is exceptionally powerful,
equaling, if not surpassing, the capabilities of competing
in 2002, FileMaker will be used in Deaf Education and Sign
Language Linguistic Research, because of an ingenious new
database design called SignBank 2002. The brainchild of
SignWriting inventor Valerie Sutton, SignBank brings literacy
to born-deaf children and adults through SignWriting, a
visual way to write the handshapes, movements and facial
expressions of any Sign Language in the world.
to popular belief, Sign Languages are not international.
They are rich languages with large vocabularies and unique
grammar structures, that differ from culture to culture,
just as spoken languages differ from country to country.
SignWriting is becoming the written form for Sign Languages,
and small pockets of educators and researchers in 27 countries
are beginning to use SignWriting to improve Deaf Education.
born-deaf children with a written form for their native
Sign Language, is believed by some educators, to be the
key to literacy for some deaf children. And SignBank 2002,
in FileMaker Pro 5.0, is a computer program tailored to
test this educational theory, giving researchers study tools,
and deaf people a dictionary that is easy to use.
written signs are stored and sorted by the visual handshapes,
movement arrows and facial expressions of SignWriting. This
sequence of symbols is called Sutton's Sign-Symbol-Sequence
FileMaker to sort dictionaries by SSS was no easy task for
FileMaker programmer Todd Duell, of Formulations Pro in
San Diego. Todd succeeded in stretching FileMaker's capabilities,
working side by side with Valerie Sutton to create a successful
SSS lookup system.
symbols are easy to read for those who use Sign Language.
By providing a way to search for words with visual SignWriting
symbols as the "search method", words can be found
in the dictionary, listed, and printed. Illiteracy levels
are high among the born-deaf. Reading spoken language is
based on sounds the born-deaf have never heard. So for some,
this will be the first time they have ever been able to
look up a word in a dictionary.
has been used in the Albuquerque Public Schools on an experimental
basis since 1999, through the SignWriting Literacy Project.
The teachers who use it feel strongly that literacy levels
are improving in their students. The Albuquerque Public
Schools will be the site for beta testing SignBank, which
hopefully will make its official release to the general
public in Fall, 2002.
from the perspective of FileMaker Corporation, the idea
of deaf children age 6, using their business software, is
a new one! But SignBank developers Valerie Sutton and Todd
Duell feel that the year 2002 will prove that the visual
nature of FileMaker will benefit the visual world of the
born-deaf. A natural partnership!
Thank you, FileMaker
Corporation, for making all this possible!
SignBank-FileMaker News Release
...in pdf format...
The San Diego Foundation Dr. Seuss Fund,
at the recommendation of Mrs. Audrey Geisel, funded the
on-going development of SignBank. SignBank is specially-designed
database software built in FileMaker Pro 5.0, developed
by Valerie Sutton and the nonprofit Center For Sutton Movement
Writing. Assisting classrooms of Deaf children to learn
to read and write, SignBank will bring SignWriting into
the daily lives of thousands of Sign Language families,
students and researchers, who until now, had no way to read
and write their Sign Languages. With an international user
interface in multiple languages, SignBank provides immediate
accessibility to the SignWriting Online Dictionary. Thank
you, Mrs. Geisel, for your continued support!
we publish books that are colorful for Deaf children, we
use A LOT of color ink cartridges for our Epson
Ink Jet Printers. Our printers are working all day,
to bring donated materials to Deaf children. Meanwhile,
color ink is very costly. So it is expensive to print our
books in color.
is why we feel so fortunate to receive our office supplies
regularly from Viking Office Products.
Charlotte Bradley, the Director of Community Relations for
the international Viking
Office Products, was kind enough to offer to donate
color ink to our cause, I literally jumped up and down for
joy! And then I danced around the room - ha!!
why not?It is rare to meet such generous people, and when
one does, it is cause for celebration!
Thank you, Viking
Office Products, for making our Spring, 2000, book series
possible for Deaf chidlren!
Elliott of Ameriphone kindly arranged for a donation of
a TTY/TDD for our SignWriting office. This is important
because the TTY is used to receive text messages from the
Deaf Community. Teachers of the Deaf, and parents, can call
to request donated SignWriting books, videos and software.
The SignWriting Litereacy
Project provides these materials free of charge in return
for feedback. If you are interested, call TTY: 858-456-0010,
and leave a message on our NEW tty!! Many many thanks, Vivian
The Seuss Foundation
Mrs. Audrey Geisel funded one school participating in the
SignWriting Literacy Project, for the year 2000 Spring semester.
The funds help our Deaf Action Committee For SignWriting
(the DAC) donate SignWriting books, videos and software
to 20 deaf children, and assist their teachers with technical
support. The funds will also help with the costs of publishing
and disseminating feedback from the teachers, for the benefit
of future classrooms. Thank you, Mrs. Geisel, for your continued
support of our SignWriting Literacy Project!
& Inez Grant Parker shared a lifetime of devotion to
the betterment of the community. The Parker Foundation is
dedicated to continue their legacy.
can imagine how grateful we feel that the Parker Foundation
lent its support to the programming of our new computer
Our nonprofit organization
is unusual. As innovators, we are breaking
new ground, both in deaf education and software development.
SignWriter 5.0 is a very special and unique program. In
the Summer 99, we embarked on a new design for a user's
interface for SignWriter 5.0. This is the first time in
history that a computer program includes Menus written in
different Sign Languages.
The result of the summer's work is a new and flexible Multi-Lingual
User's Interface that teaches different languages, while
navigating through the program. It is an excellent tool
for deaf educators with born-deaf students who have low
language skills. It even teaches languages to hearing people!!
Everyone learns from using SignWriter
5.0's Multi-Lingual User's Interface.
So although the programming of SignWriter 5.0 is clearly
an ongoing project,
we did accomplish a milestone. Three foundations made the
Multi-Lingual User's Interface possible, and the
Parker Foundation was one of them. There are not enough
words to express our gratitude. Thank you!!
Gas & Electric CompanyThe
Deaf Action Committee for SignWriting sincerely thanks our
community partner, San DiegoGas & Electric Company,
for contributing funds to underwrite the materials needed
for our SignWriter Computer Program. SDG&E looks for
programs that get to the heart of issues or problems and
this particular program certainly meets that criteria. Our
thanks to SDG&E for helping our children learn to read!
the world-renowned manufacturers of computers and software,
also have a very kind heart! They have established several
programs to help education.You can read about it on their
excellent web site:
what?! Hewlett-Packard was kind enough to donate a computer
to our Deaf Action Committee to assist us with the further
programming and development of our new computer program
for the Deaf, SignWriter 5.0, which will be cross-platform
for both Windows and the Macintosh. To accomplish this,
we are using the Java programming language, to create a
stand-alone application. Java requires modern machines and
modern operating systems. Just last May, we had one older
computer that was too slow to run Java. So the new Hewlett
Packard Pavilion computer with a built-in Zip Drive, Windows
98, a monitor and a keyboard was a welcome gift. Thank you,
Hewlett-Packard, for helping Deaf Education!
the developers of well-known software, such as Macromedia
Director, Freehand, Fontographer, Shockwave, & Dreamweaver,
generously donated copies of Fontographer to our nonprofit
organization. This is a great help to us, since we are in
the process of improving our SignWriter Computer Program.
SignWriter 4.3 is in MS-DOS. We are working on a new version,
SignWriter 5.0, for Windows and the Macintosh. Macromedia's
gift of Fontographer makes it possible for us to develop
our own fingerspelling
fonts and other unique fonts related to typing signed
languages. The fonts can be used by themselves, or in conjunction
with the SignWriter Computer Program. In time, these fonts
will be free
to download. So we are busy as little bees working with
Fontographer, which is a very sophisticated program. Thank
you, Macromedia, for making this possible!
once again generously donated the color ink cartridges necessary
to print 125 children's books for classes in the Spring
& Summer. Deaf children in the Albuquerque
Public Schools are starting with beginning books this
Spring, and will need more advanced books by the Fall. A
with a Deaf child is also starting at the beginning
level this summer. And Jordan
Vocational High School, in Columbus, Georgia, is using
our books with older Deaf students who need to achieve better
literacy levels. We print each color book ourselves, on
three Epson Stylus Color 800 Printers- The Epson printers
are working 10 hours daily in our office at home. We then
laminate the covers and bind the books. And the sturdy little
Epson printers just keep on working for us, giving us outstanding
quality at a very low cost! Thank
you, Epson, once
again, for contributing to Deaf literacy!
Jonathan's Fine Foods of La Jolla
was kind enough to donate the refreshments for our Annual
SignWriting Membership Meeting, held on February 7, 1999.
Everyone enjoyed the delicious food and drinks - thank you
to everyone at Jonathan's!!
The San Diego Foundation Dr. Seuss Fund,
at the recommendation of Mrs. Audrey Geisel, funded one
school participating in the SignWriting Literacy Project,
for the 1999 Spring semester. The funds will help our Deaf
Action Committee For SignWriting (the DAC) donate SignWriting
books, videos and software to 25 deaf children, and assist
their teachers with technical support. The funds will also
help with the costs of publishing and disseminating feedback
from the teachers, for the benefit of future classrooms.
Thank you, Mrs. Geisel, for your continued support of our
SignWriting Literacy Project!
donated the color ink cartridges necessary to print
200 children's books for the Fall semester. We printed
each book ourselves, on our trusty Epson Stylus Color 800
Printer - an excellent printer!Thank you, Epson, for making
the Fall 98 semester possible!
gave a small sum as seed funding to start the project. The
funding was used to develop and distribute the three specially-designed
children's books, which are the first books donated to the
schools who participate in the SignWriting Literacy Project.
The books were first distributed in the Fall semester, 1998.
Please help the SignWriting
All donations are
schools for the deaf are waiting in line to join, but we
do not have the funds to include them. Just a small amount
can benefit deaf children for one semester. They will receive
donated books, videos and software for the classroom, and
the teachers are provided with free technical support. Complete
documentation and grant proposals can be provided. Sponsors
can even choose which school they wish to benefit.