Ms. Debbie Lawrence To All Instructors
I was attracted to the rich and separate world of the Deaf when a missionary came to my home church in Philadelphia and told about Deaf Missions. I obtained a book from him entitled, “Talk to the Deaf” and it captivated my imagination. My first Sign Language class was to hearing preschoolers during a summer VBS at my church. The little tots learned their bible verse and songs in Sign Language. Shortly thereafter, I received a divine calling from God to minister to Deaf people,” although I had never known anyone who was Deaf.” A few years later, I was overtaken with viral encephalitis and became temporarily blind and deaf. It was truly a miracle of God that not only was my hearing restored, but my sight, balance, and memory as well! My own personal experience of deafness deepened my calling. Upon being fully recovered I pursued some series of preparatory events from an in-home Sign Language class conducted by a pastor and his wife, volunteering at Pennsylvania School for the Deaf (PSD) in the classrooms, Deaf Adult Literacy program to the After school bible club for Deaf students.
In 1986, I married a man who was hard of hearing and who later, as the result of radiation for a glioma brainstem tumor, became completely deaf. ASL became our family’s mode of communication. During my husband’s decline in health we raised three children in our home who were birthed from our hearts. ASL became part of the curriculum for our junior high home-schooled student. The other two hearing children learned ASL at 10 months. Even our family’s collie understood and responded to ASL. I have gained my BA in Deaf Culture Studies, North Central University and most recently my MA Ministry degree and certification in Christian Ministry and Career Counseling. My career choice has afforded me the ability to work as a MnSCU adjunct faculty member for the St Paul College teaching an inaugural course for students pursuing their careers in Early Childhood Development and American Sign Language (ASL). I have also taught first year college students in Strategies for College Success. In my business, “Easy Signing, LLC” I conduct customized ASL training for local colleges and design ASL curriculum to teach traditional, Special Needs students and baby boomers who are experiencing sudden sensorineural hearing loss. Since being in the Twin Cities I have been featured on KARE 11News, M.E.N.S.A. Conference Presenter and a recipient of Neighborhood’s Development Center for the “Small Business of the Year” awarded by Mayor Rybak. As a MNCCR&R Certified ASL Trainer for The Program of Infant Toddler Caregivers (PITC) and a Certified Signing Time Baby Instructor, I bring my passion to train hearing families and professional Care Providers the beautiful language of ASL to open two-way communication for all ages.
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