Skip to content Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf & Hard of Hearing Persons


Co-sponsored by Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, Radford University, and Outreach Services, VSDB

  • When? - Saturday, November 5, 2016,  9:30am – 2:30pm
  • Who? - For students grades 4 through 8 who are deaf/hard of hearing or blind/visually impaired from any school in Virginia. Students are welcome to bring 1 sibling in the same age group.
  • What? - A day of science activities and a great opportunity to meet students from other school divisions who are also blind/vi or deaf/hh. Special features: Science Educator, Brita Hampton of Jefferson Lab; Betti Thompson of VA Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing will share info about the Technical Assistance Program (TAP – alerting devices, special telephones, etc. for the home) and Jill Tomlinson of the VA Dept. for the Blind and Vision Impaired will share information regarding DBVI with families, 1:30-2:30!
  • Where? -  Radford University, Hulbert Building (more commonly referred to as “The Bonnie”), 2nd Floor, Rooms 428, 249, and 250 (also known as the Hulbert Combo)
  • How Do We Register? -  Complete registration form in Google Forms at: (you may need to cut and paste this into your browser line) or send paper registration to be received before Monday, October 31, 2016. See registration form for more details.

For more information, please contact Dr. Debbie Pfeiffer, Director of Outreach Services at  or (540) 414-5249.  Hope to see you there!

DOWNLOAD - agenda_science_day_nov5_2016

DOWNLOAD - science_day_paper_reg-agenda2016


Science with Jefferson Lab!
Co-sponsored by Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility and Outreach Services, VSDB

  • When?  Saturday, May 21, 2016.  9:30 – 2:30
  • What?  A day of fun science activities and a great opportunity to meet students from other school divisions who are also deaf or hard of hearing.

Special features:  Jefferson Lab Science Educator, Brita Hampton as instructor;
Jennifer McDonald of Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing will show equipment from the Technical Assistance Program (alerting devices, special telephones, etc. for the home) for families, 1:30 – 2:30!

If problems, cut and paste this URL into your browser. Be sure to click on “submit” at end of registration! If problems, complete the form attached and email it to address below.

Deadline for submitting is May 4, 2016.

For more information, please contact Dr. Debbie Pfeiffer, Director of Outreach Services at  or (540) 414-5249.
Hope to hear from you!


Registration Deadline - November 5, 2015.

Science with Jefferson Labs - Saturday, November 14, 2015, 9:30 – 2:30. - This one-day Science event is for students from public schools, grades 4 – 8 who are deaf or hard of hearing using any communication method/language.  It is co-sponsored by Outreach Services, VSDB and Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility Education Services.  Science educator Brita Hampton from Jefferson Labs will be the instructor.  We are allowing each student who is deaf/hh to bring one sibling into the Science activity, if the sibling is in the same age group (grades 4 through 8).  All activities will be presented in voiced English and interpreted in American Sign Language.

Family members will be free to explore Staunton in the morning, and will rejoin the students 1:30 – 2:30.  At that time, Jennifer McDonald of the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing will demonstrate equipment from the Technical Assistance Program (TAP), featuring alerting devices for the home, special telephones for people with hearing loss, etc.

This is a great opportunity for students who are deaf/hard of hearing and their families to enjoy a fun and educational experience, and to meet others in their region

Where: 104 VSDB Drive, Staunton, VA. , on the campus of the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind (VSDB), Staunton, VA.

How Do We Register: Complete the registration form attached and return it before November 5, 2015. See registration form for details.

DOWNLOAD - ScienceJeff_Labs_flyer_Nov 14, 2015.pptx

DOWNLOAD - Registration Form & Agenda

Island Gazette
Written by June 24, 2015

Science, technology, engineering and math will be explored during week long session in July

Deaf and hard-of-hearing girls and boys who are interested in science, technology, engineering and math and entering 7th, 8th or 9th grades in September can attend “TechGirlz” or “TechBoyz” summer camps at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf, July 25 30.
TechBoyz and TechGirlz camps are designed to help students learn about and consider careers in science and technology. Through hands-on activities, campers will explore chemistry, computers, engineering and science; learn to build their own computer; and command a simulated mission to Mars. They also will meet other students with similar interests and participate in social activities.
Camp classes—held in English and in sign language—are certified by the New York State Department of Health and incorporate National Science Education standards.

Read more  . . . NTID



Science World Report
By Catherine Griffin
Feb 09, 2015

Lungfish and salamanders can hear, despite not having an outer ear or tympanic middle ear. Now, scientists are taking a closer look at exactly how hearing evolved about 300 million years ago.

The physical properties of air and tissue are very different. This means that up to 99.9 percent of sound energy is reflected when sound waves reach animals through the air. In humans and many other terrestrial vertebrates, the ear can be divided into three sections: the outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear. The outer each catches the sounds waves and then directs them to the middle ear, where air pressure oscillations are transferred via the tympanic membrane and one of three small bones to fluid movements in the inner ear.

This configuration is important for hearing in present-day terrestrial animals. However, available fossils indicate that the tympanic middle ear evolved in the Triassic, which is 100 million years after the transition of the vertebrates from an aquatic to a terrestrial habitat during the Early Carboniferous.

In order to see how hearing evolved, the researchers studied the hearing of lungfish and salamanders, which have an ear structure that is comparable to different kinds of early terrestrial vertebrates. They measured auditory nerve signals and neural signals in the brainstem as a function of sound stimulation at different frequencies and different levels.

So what did they find? It turns out that the terrestrial adult salamanders and fully aquatic juvenile salamanders in addition to lungfish could detect airborne sound despite not having a tympanic middle ear. They sensed the vibrations induced by the sound waves.

The findings reveal a bit more about the evolution of hearing. More specifically, it shows that even vertebrates without outer and middle ears are capable of detecting airborne sound.

The findings are published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences and The Journal of Experimental Biology.

Science World Report Article Source  . . . . Hearing

 Related Article from American Association for the Advancement of Science - Early land animals heard sounds with their lungs

August 12-24, Jefferson Lab (628 Hofstadter Road, Newport News, Va.) will be hosting a free summer science camp for rising 4-8th graders who are deaf or hard of hearing. Students will enjoy lots of experiments and hands-on activities, all in ASL (interpreters provided)! Registration is required. For more information, or to register, please email Brita R. Hampton at Be sure to include the student's name, grade level and school.

From  Arva Priola

By DOUGLAS QUENQUA, NY Times 12/3/2012

Imagine trying to learn biology without ever using the word “organism.” Or studying to become a botanist when the only way of referring to photosynthesis is to spell the word out, letter by painstaking letter.

For deaf students, this game of scientific Password has long been the daily classroom and laboratory experience. Words like “organism” and “photosynthesis” — to say nothing of more obscure and harder-to-spell terms — have no single widely accepted equivalent in sign language. This means that deaf students and their teachers and interpreters must improvise, making it that much harder for the students to excel in science and pursue careers in it.

“Often times, it would involve a lot of finger-spelling and a lot of improvisation,” said Matthew Schwerin, a physicist with the Food and Drug Administration who is deaf, of his years in school. “For the majority of scientific terms,” Mr. Schwerin and his interpreter for the day would “try to find a correct sign for the term, and if nothing was pre-existing, we would come up with a sign that was agreeable with both parties.”

Now thanks to the Internet — particularly the boom in online video — resources for deaf students seeking science-related signs are easier to find and share. Crowdsourcing projects in both American Sign Language and British Sign Language are under way at several universities, enabling people who are deaf to coalesce around signs for commonly used terms.

This year, one of those resources, the Scottish Sensory Centre’s British Sign Language Glossary Project, added 116 new signs for physics and engineering terms, including signs for “light-year,”  (hold one hand up and spread the fingers downward for “light,” then bring both hands together in front of your chest and slowly move them apart for “year”), “mass” and “X-ray” (form an X with your index fingers, then, with the index finger on the right hand, point outward).

...continue reading "Pushing Science’s Limits in Sign Language Lexicon"