Rachel Coleman to Present at Pathways To Possibilities Conference in Virginia

Contact: Bill Tinsley
Phone: 804-828-8243
E-mail: watinsley@vcu.edu


Rachel Coleman, Host of Popular Children’s TV Series Signing Time!, to Present at Pathways to Possibilities Conference

Richmond, VA – July 28, 2008 –  Emmy-nominated Rachel Coleman, host of Signing Time!, will be the keynote speaker on Wednesday, August 13, 2008 at 9:00 a.m. during this year’s Pathways to Possibilities Conference sponsored by VCU’s Partnership for People with Disabilities at the Wyndham Ocean Front Hotel, Virginia Beach, Virginia. Coleman will also be performing during a fund-raising concert to benefit the families of Dreamcatchers, a non-profit 501 (c) 3, family support group for those touched by Deaf-Blindness.  The concert will be held at the Old Dominion University Theatre, located on Hampton Blvd in Norfolk, Virginia, on August 12th at 6:30 pm.  Tickets will be available at the door for $10 each with all proceeds going toward future training and support for those family members of Dreamcatchers.

Coleman, who co-created Signing Time as a means to teach children of all abilities how to communicate using American Sign Language (ASL), will share her personal story about how she overcame communication challenges with her own two daughters – one who was born deaf and the other born with spina bifida and cerebral palsy. Signing Time is a both a DVD and public television series that teaches ASL to children. Featuring Rachel Coleman, her daughter Leah—who is deaf, along with Alex—Leah’s cousin—who can hear, and their animated pet frog Hopkins, Signing Time offers an unparalleled multi-sensory approach to teaching children ASL. Whether used by a pre-verbal infant, a non-verbal child with disabilities, or a family who simply wants to learn ASL as a second language, Signing Time reaches children with diverse learning styles and encourages interaction through signing, singing, speaking and moving.

The Pathways to Possibilities Conference will take place on August 13th-15th from 9:00 a.m. – 4:45 p.m. The Virginia Deaf-Blind Project and the Technical Assistance Center for Children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing at the Partnership for People with Disabilities at VCU will host professionals and family members who work/live with students with hearing impairments, visual impairments and/or multiple disabilities including Dual Sensory Impairments/Deaf-Blindness.  The goal is to combine efforts from the different professional disciplines to provide a conference that creates deeper supports for those serving/teaching/living with individuals (0-21) who are differently-abled with unique combinations of sensory and cognitive challenges.

The Virginia Project for Children and Youth with Deaf-Blindness (VA Deaf-Blind Project) is a statewide program designed to provide technical assistance, training, distance education, and networking information to families, service providers, and individuals birth through 21, who are deaf-blind/dual sensory impaired. The Project is located in Richmond, Virginia and is housed at Virginia Commonwealth University.  For more information please contact Mark Campano, Project Director at 804-828-8252 or via email at macampano@vcu.edu.


The Technical Assistance Center for Children Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing is funded by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) to provide training and technical assistance in the area of hearing impairment and deafness. Assistance is available to local public school systems as well as early intervention and preschool programs through the Virginia Network of Consultants (VNOC) for Professionals Working with Children Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.  The Center is located in Richmond, Virginia and is housed at Virginia Commonwealth University.  For more information please contact Ann Hughes, Program Coordinator, at (804) 828-1342 or via email at awhughes@vcu.edu.

Dreamcatchers is a non-profit (501(c)3) organization of support for families that have been touched by deaf-blindness.  The families that make up the organization come from all walks of life, all cultures, and all levels of understanding of deaf-blindness.  Each member has much to offer, and together they strive to implement change and promote understanding.

The Partnership is Virginia’s only federally designated university center for excellence in developmental disabilities. It operates as part of the VCU School of Education and maintains an interdisciplinary approach. For more information, see www.vcu.edu/partnership .

Virginia Commonwealth University is the largest university in Virginia and ranks among the top 100 universities in the country in sponsored research. Located on two downtown campuses in Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 30,000 students in nearly 200 certificate and degree programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-three of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 15 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University compose the VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more information, see www.vcu.edu .