The American Society for Deaf Children (ASDC), a national nonprofit organization providing resources to parents of deaf children, announced that its board of directors has selected Rachel de Azevedo Coleman as the organization’s Executive Director.
“We are thrilled to have Rachel as our Executive Director,” said Board President Avonne Brooker-Rutowski. “We are confident that Rachel’s experience raising a deaf child and giving her child access to both English and American Sign Language (ASL), her history of taking action to better her daughter’s life, and her passion for her work will bring ASDC to the next level.”
“Rachel has gained a deep understanding of the importance in empowering parents to communicate and connect with their deaf children through ASL,” continued Brooker-Rutowski. “Together we will advance our mission by empowering families with deaf children to reach their highest potential.”
The selection of Coleman caps a six-month nationwide search by the board for someone to lead with vision and direction.
“ASDC has been a resource for me since 1997 and I am honored to lead its growth,” said Coleman. “I know the challenges parents raising deaf children face. It’s a daunting task to not only raise a child, but learn a new language, and incorporate a visual language system throughout your home and life. I have spent my career developing solutions for families like mine and I am eager to apply these skills at ASDC.”
After learning that her 14-month-old daughter was profoundly deaf, Coleman was told not to have high expectations for her child. Coleman refused to accept that answer and for the past 20 years has been influential in creating a world where, through sign language, children can communicate their needs and be understood.
Coleman is the Emmy Award-nominated host, and co-creator of “Signing Time!,” the public television show and DVD series that teaches basic ASL vocabulary to families in a fun and musical way. The series has been broadcast to millions of viewers through PBS stations, Netflix, Nick Jr, and mysigningtime.com.