VL2 Updates
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VL2 Updates


VL2 has been hard at work this summer!  Read below to learn about what we've been doing and where we're going!


Dr. Laura Ann Petitto and BL2 featured on CNN Vital Signs

 Dr. Laura-Ann Petitto, Developmental Cognitive Neuroscientist, was interviewed on CNN’s Vital Signs (host, Dr. Sanjay Gupta) based on her three decades of research and discoveries about language learning in the human brain, the bilingual brain, the reading brain, and for her discoveries about the acquisition and neural organization of American Sign Language. This episode focused on the sense of hearing and how it relates to language learning, and Dr. Petitto provided scientific insights on the acquisition of signed language in deaf and hearing children and the role of visual sign phonology in supporting reading acquisition in deaf children.

See CNN International (dates and times below), or use CNN Go app, or see This episode will also air on CNN U.S. within the next two months (dates and times forthcoming). For more information about Petitto’s scientific discoveries see

Saturday, July 25 at 8:30 AM EST
Sunday, July 26 at 1:30 AM EST and 2:30 PM EST

Upcoming VL2 Presentations


July 28-August 2, 2015


Melissa Malzkuhn will be going to the World Federation of the Deaf Congress in Istanbul. She will be a plenary presenter on technology and accessibility.  

August 3, 2015

At Illinois School for the Deaf Outreach Program August Conference, Dr. Melissa Herzig will be the keynote presenter.

Lesson Plans for Our Apps

The Baobab Lesson Plans are available!

Visit VL2 Storybook Apps to download them!
We are hard at work on and nearing completion of the Blue Lobster Lesson Plans.  If you would like to view/use our draft lesson plan, email Melissa Herzig!


  • Congratulations to our Digital Innovation and Media Strategies Manager, Melissa Malzkuhn, for completing her Masters in Fine Art in Visual Narratives at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York City!!  Click on the links to check out her thesis project, "The Boy Who Ate Words," which is an interactive game about the main character, a boy who can eat words!  Melissa's Thesis Website & SVA Website
  • Congratulations to Pamela Witcher on the birth of her beautiful baby!  Pamela is the illustrator of VL2 ASL/English Bilingual Storybook App, The Boy Who Cried Wolf.  Check out The Boy Who Cried Wolf on iTunes (currently only available on iPad): The Boy Who Cried Wolf.

Available for Purchase

The VCSL is a standardized comprehensive checklist used to assist in tracking young children’s sign language development from birth to age 5 developed by Laurene Simms, Ph.D., Sharon Baker, Ed.D., and M. Diane Clark, Ph.D.

Previously, no norms existed to compare deaf and hard of hearing children's success in ASL/English bilingual classrooms to other children in similar settings, making it challenging to obtain a comprehensive assessment profile of deaf and hard of hearing children's language development. Parents often believed that their children were obtaining age-appropriate sign language milestones, but when these children arrived at kindergarten they frequently exhibited language delays.  To address this situation, researchers obtained information from a variety of sources including schools for the deaf and organizations within America and Canada. These sources include the Signed Language Developmental Checklist by Mounty (1994), the Language Development Checklist (Enns, Zimmer, & Murray, 1994), checklists from  both the California School for the Deaf—Fremont and the Kansas School for the Deaf, as well as Marie Philip’s ASL Developmental Milestones Checklist form the Ontario Cultural Society of the Deaf (2003). The checklists were merged into one standardized checklist and with feedback from teachers, linguistics, psycholinguists, and researchers involved with Gallaudet University's Science of Learning Center on Visual Languages and Visual Learning (VL2). It was revised in order to provide an accurate, reliable, and valid measure, named the Visual Communication and Sign Language Checklist or VCSL.

  • The VCSL assesses the developmental milestones of children from birth to age 5 who are visual learners and
    are acquiring sign language regardless of their level of hearing. It is presented in a user-friendly format that is accessible to parents and teachers, as well as specialists and experts.

  • It monitors the child's developmental progress.

  • If the child has developmental delays as indicated by the VCSL, the gaps in learning that are identified can be used to help plan intervention programs.

  • Learning goals can be set.

  • Appropriate teaching and learning materials can be developed. 

For more information about the VCSL and pricing, please visit the VCSL page on our website.

Save the Dates!

The PhD in Educational Neuroscience Distinguished Lecture Series will resume this fall for the 2015-2016 cycle.  Our theme for this year's presentation series is called Educational Neuroscience Pioneers: Revolutionizing the Study and Science of Learning in the Young Child Distinguished Lecture Series.”

We are excited to announce the line up of amazing world-renowned researchers who will be presenting this upcoming year. We will keep you posted with details when the time nears! Keep an eye out for this! 
FALL 2015
September 28- Dr. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Temple University in Philadelphia & Dr. Roberta Golinkoff, University of Delaware
December 3- Dr. Karen E. Adolph, New York University
Week of April 10-  Dr. Usha Goswami, University of Cambridge
Date TBD- Dr. Patricia K. Kuhl, University of Washington
Date TBD- Dr. Nora Newcomb, Temple University in Philadelphia
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