Who We Are
For more than 50 years, the American Society for Deaf Children has been committed to providing support, encouragement, and information to families raising children who are Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing.
ASDC was founded in 1967 as a parent-helping-parent organization, originally called The International Association of Parents of Deaf Children. The organization changed its name to American Society for Deaf Children in 1985. ASDC is the oldest national organization founded by and governed by parents of deaf children.
Today, ASDC is a national, independent non-profit organization whose purpose is providing support, encouragement, and information to families raising children who are Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing. ASDC depends solely on donations, memberships, and proceeds from conferences for operations and is governed by a volunteer board.
ASDC recognizes the crucial role families play in the success of children who are Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing. We affirm that families are capable and willing to guide their children’s lives. Parents have the right and responsibility to participate in decisions regarding their children’s educational and social development.
ASDC supplies the information and support families request to ensure that their decisions and actions are based on up-to-date and accurate knowledge.
Our Core Commitments
The American Society for Deaf Children (ASDC) is committed to empowering diverse families with deaf* children and youth by embracing full access to language-rich environments through mentoring, advocacy, resources, and collaborative networks.
All deaf* children and youth shall have the opportunity to thrive in every aspect of their lives through the empowerment of their families and the support of the community.
We believe in the celebration of a positive identity of all Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing children through healthy family support, linguistic competence and high quality education in the home, school, and community.
We believe Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing children are entitled to full language and communication access. We also believe that language development, respect for Deaf individuals, and access to Deaf mentors are important to ensure optimal intellectual, social and emotional development.
We believe that consideration of language opportunities for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing children should be based on facts. Research consistently demonstrates that fluency in American Sign Language and English, with or without technology, offers all Deaf children optimal opportunities for academic and social success, and thus both should be part of their language-rich and fully accessible environment.
We believe that there should be access to early identification and education by qualified providers, engaged family involvement, and educational opportunities equal to those provided for hearing children. Our objective is to ensure that young Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing children will achieve kindergarten readiness and will be academically and socially prepared by the time they enter elementary school. Kindergarten readiness is a critical step for children on the path of developing into happy and successful adults.
We affirm that parents have the right and the responsibility to be primary decision makers and advocates for their Deaf and Hard-of-Hearingf children. For this role, parents need access to accurate and current information, educational opportunities, and support.
*ASDC uses the term “deaf” to be inclusive of various hearing levels, including those who are seen as, or identify as Deaf, deaf, or Hard-of-Hearing.
Our Commitment to Diversity
The American Society for Deaf Children embraces equity, diversity, accessibility, and inclusiveness as part of our core values.
ASDC is committed to building and maintaining an equitable, diverse, and inclusive environment where differences of opinions, beliefs, and values are respected, valued, listened to, and discussed widely.
We learn every day from our peers, allied partners, parents, families, and especially the children we serve the importance of fighting for a world free of stereotypes and discrimination. We don’t take those lessons lightly.
We remain steadfast in our commitment to putting resources and attention toward inclusive and diverse language accessibility for EVERY child.
Parents of Deaf & Hard-of-Hearing children and youth:
- Have the right to make informed decisions on behalf of their children.
- Benefit from meeting other parents of deaf children from a variety of backgrounds, experiences, and philosophies.
- Benefit from meeting successful deaf children and members of the deaf community from a variety of backgrounds, experiences, and philosophies.
Children have the right to:
- Be valued and respected as children capable of high achievement, regardless of their degree of technology use.
- Meet, socialize and be educated with other Deaf & Hard-of-Hearing children.
- Achieve fluency reading and writing English, and to the extent of their ability, speaking English.
Medical, Audiology, and Educational Professionals serving deaf children and their families have a responsibility to:
- Be informed about the successes of Deaf & Hard-of-Hearing persons from all walks of life, including those who use American Sign Language, as their primary language and those who do and do not use cochlear implants.
- Recognize the benefits of early language, including sign language, and work to ensure that Deaf & Hard-of-Hearing children’s language development, whether signed, spoken or both, progresses at a rate equivalent to that of their hearing peers.
- Refer parents to a wide range of information sources, including Deaf individuals, families with Deaf & Hard-of-Hearing children, schools for the Deaf and local, state and national parent and deaf adult organizations.