In 2012 the idea to develop an all-inclusive educational kit for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing was conceived. The developer, Clote Jackson, is a teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in San Antonio, TX. She obtained her B.S. from Grambling State University, with a major in Computer Information Systems and a minor in Deaf Education. Mrs. Jackson has also earned a Master of Arts degree from the University of Arizona with a concentration in Deaf Education as well as dedicated 10 years of her life serving in the United States Air Force.
Over the years, as a teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Mrs. Jackson has become very resourceful and knowledgeable. Many teachers make materials every year in order to find new and creative ways to engage their students; in these instances Mrs. Jackson is no different. Her ideas, as do many in the realm of entrepreneurialism, have evolved over time.
Initially, Mrs. Jackson’s goal was to create videos for families interested in learning academic signs. As her vision continued to expand she decided to enhance that goal by utilizing some of her ideas from the classroom in order to benefit a larger population of children who have language and reading delays. Hence, the corporation Learning With My Hands, LLC (LWMH) was born along with the development of the Early Language Kit which introduces basic Sign Language to young learners.
LWMH was designed to equip parents and educators with the tools needed to promote language and academic readiness via American Sign Language. The first kit to be offered by LWMH is the Early Language Kit. This is a comprehensive toolkit that teaches pre-requisites needed for language and school. This toolkit promotes literacy, mathematics, and language in order to prepare children to become productive contributors in classrooms everywhere.
The Early Language Kit is now available for sale. The Sign Language resources currently provided include: books, flashcards, games, posters, lesson plans and progress monitoring checklists. The long-term goal is to provide Sign Language materials at a variety of levels and across various academic areas.
This kit was developed to increase the knowledge base of all children, especially those with any degree of hearing loss. It is designed for children ages five months and up; however, is not limited to any age group. The primary goal for the Early Language Kit is to introduce basic signs and early academic material to children. These signs are often used in the home, in early education classrooms, as well as everyday communication.
Research supports the importance of early intervention, and this kit serves as a medium to provide families with tools to teach their children from the comfort of their own home. The kit however is not limited to home usage; it may be used in school settings, daycare settings, on the go, or wherever families or educators see appropriate.
The Early Language Kit is all-inclusive in nature. Each kit includes the tools needed to effectively introduce American Sign Language (ASL) to children. The Early Language kit introduces the following sections: ABC’s, Colors, Numbers, Shapes, and First Words. In order to make this kit more successful each section includes a book, set of flashcards, poster, matching card game, progress monitoring guide, and a teaching guide. The kit also includes a “tips” page to assist in integrating the kit successfully.
The official launch for LWMH was July 21, 2014. In addition to collaborating with a local school district to conduct parent training workshop, the company is making serious strides to establish new professional affiliations. LWMH has utilized its professional connections to network within the educational community.
I had the pleasure of interviewing this young entrepreneur who has worked so diligently to produce such an amazing and credible advancement to the world of education. When speaking with Mrs. Jackson I was interested in learning the driving force behind her vision…
This cause is very dear to my heart. As a teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing I have always wanted my students to be successful. The biggest struggles I have witnessed with my own students were with reading or those who are new to ASL. My mission when developing this kit was to allow more exposure to ASL and provide opportunities for learning outside of the classroom.
Ultimately I want to see language and reading levels increase for young learners. Of course, my primary interest lies in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community. As a teacher, this has been and continues to be my main focal point.
Mrs. Jackson is sole proprietor of LWMH and as such has worked hard at giving diligent attention to the success of the Early Learning Kit. She had to strategically balanced long hours of work toward her vision while juggling the responsibilities that accompany a wife, mother and full-time teacher. I asked Mrs. Jackson what inspired her to push through the hard times and stay on course. Without hesitation she replied,
Watching a child learn something new and communicate with Sign Language is very fulfilling. Knowing that I had the ability to contribute to these skills in classrooms as well as the home environment was enough inspiration to keep me motivated.
I have to attribute my personal inspiration to my mother. She has always pushed me to be my all and give my all. I learned very early in life that I should never abandon any journey, instead I must always see things through to the anticipated end.
The passion which fueled the conversation could not be denied. During the interview I learned LWMH is in the process of donating materials to a little girl named Khyrstin “Kyssi” Andrews who is not able to participate in a classroom setting on a consistent basis. Kyssi is a beautiful five-year-old girl from Texas who is fighting an ongoing battle with cancer.
LWMH has a fascinating tool which can impact educational facilities nationwide while enhancing the learning process for children. With all the Early Language Kit has to offer I asked Mrs. Jackson what made this particular product unique. Her answer was simple:
There is not a kit like this available on the market. I developed the kit based on current academic and language trends with young learners, as well as per feedback from parents. The Early Learning Kit introduces basic ASL via five specific sections: Alphabets, Colors, Shapes, Numbers, and First Words. It is suitable for children as early as five months old.
What makes this kit unique is the fact that it is all-inclusive. There are a variety of materials available to successfully introduce and engage young learners with new signs such as books, posters, flashcards, and games. To ensure that the kit is successfully integrated, lesson plans are included to ensure the teacher and/or parent has all the necessary tools and strategies to effectively teach each section. A progress monitoring guide is also included to track and document each child’s progress within every section as it relates to sign language.
Learning With My Hands strives for excellence. Extra efforts were made to make the materials and images child friendly, colorful, engaging, and multicultural. No more shopping around for various tools to teach American Sign Language to young children. You will find everything you need inside the Early Language kit. Also, additional sign and academic kits are underway to support ASL development for various ages.
The all-inclusive Early Learning Kit is perfect for all children as young as five months. Specialty fields that are sure to find the kit beneficial include: Deaf and Hard of hearing, autistic and nonverbal communicators. This kit is perfect in and outside of the classroom and comes complete with step by step lesson outlines to assist parents and educators in teaching and assessing progress made by children. It is never too early to learn especially when expressive language tends to begin before the first year of life.
Clote Jackson is the owner of Learning With My Hands, LLC and the developer of the Early Learning Kit. Her desire is to see the Early Language Kit used in classrooms nationwide to support the current curriculum. She is passionate about education and yearns to see language and reading levels increase for young learners.
Stay tuned for more informational articles focused on American Sign Language and Learning With My Hands, LLC. In the interim please visit LWMH’s online store (www.learningwithmyhands.com) to purchase the Early Learning Kit. To learn more about LWMH please frequent the website and follow her across social medial platforms such as Facebook (Learning With My Hands) and Twitter (@LWMH12).
I want to thank Mrs. Clote Jackson for taking time out of her busy schedule of helping others to share with the readers of Guardian Liberty Voice. She can be reached for more information via email at [email protected] or phone at 1-888-234-8810. Be on the lookout for Mrs. Jackson and her team at professional conferences and in learning facilities.
Interview By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
Interview With Clote Jackson