An Open Letter from Two Deaf Mothers with a Vision
Elise Whitworth & Mona Filiponne
Please support our cause by filling out a short survey at

There is a location for sale in South Central Austin with children’s furniture and playground ready for use.  Right now we are gathering support and data (to take to the bank) to buy this building for a child care center using American Sign Language (ASL) as the primary language.  The center will be for hearing children of deaf adults, deaf children, hearing children after school (who want to learn ASL), and a “Baby Sign” toddler program.  The building will also be used as a community center for family events, parenting workshops, etc, as well as housing a small yoga studio, a coffee/tea/pastry stand and some office space for lease.  How nice is that? You can drop off your child for an ASL class while you join a yoga class or have a cup of chai or java.  Or you can do a quick yoga session before taking your child home or going to work.

Right now we are asking people to fill out a survey to help document our community's needs.  Please support our cause by filling out this survey, and read more below if you want to learn more!

There are 60,000 deaf or hard of hearing individuals in Travis County alone.  Thousands work full time and have little children.  Some are deaf but many are hearing.  The deaf children are recognized as “special needs” children while CODAs (child of deaf adults) are considered not to have any special needs.  This is not true—everyone knows; parents are the foundation for their children’s growth into an upstanding citizen.  If they cannot communicate, what happens to that foundation?  Many deaf people who work full time have to enroll their children in places that use very little or no sign language.  When their child comes home speaking and their parents can’t understand or show them the signs for the words the child is saying, there begins a communication gap that continues throughout the child’s lifetime.  Many CODAs have identity issues, “I’m not fully part of the deaf world, nor am I fully part of the hearing world, who am I?”  They are also known for being troublemakers.  This can be helped by having a place that teaches them in their earliest years how to successfully balance being part of both worlds, being fluent in ASL and spoken English. 

As for the deaf children, there is a PIP (parent-infant-program) that takes in infants one year and older for only half days.  They need a place to go in the afternoons where there are caregivers that fully understand their needs.  There is also a need during summer times for young deaf children when their parents are still working. 

There is A DEFINITE NEED.  And we need help in realizing our goal of filling this need!

The center will have ASL classes, after school programs for elementary school age children incorporating ASL learning into daily activities, parent-baby “Baby Sign” classes & workshops and so much more.  This center is NOT for the deaf alone, it is for the whole, wonderful Austin community as well! :- )

“Learning a second language is fun and has many developmental benefits. ASL stimulates learning through different senses. Sign language is a blessing for children that are "visual", "spatial" or "tactile learners." Learning a second language raises your child's IQ. One in ten Americans have some degree of hearing loss. Knowing a few signs can give your child the confidence to engage and interact with a deaf child rather than both children feeling awkward and helpless.”
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Thank you for taking the time to read this letter! 


Elise "Lisi" Whitworth (
Mona Filippone (
Two Deaf Mothers With a Vision

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