This is the first year for the
commission to host and sponsor this event as well as the first year
for it to be in Springfield. Other sponsors are the Illinois
Telecommunications Access Corp, the Chicago's Mayor's Office for
People with Disabilities, Sprint and the Illinois Association of the
The fingerspelling bee for intermediate
deaf students is part of a continuing effort to enable deaf students
to participate in similar education activities as their hearing
peers. The Deaf Fingerspelling Bee is patterned after the
Scripps-Howard National Spelling Bee but is modified for deaf
students. Sign language will be the method of communication during
all aspects of this event.
Participants involved in this event are
intermediate deaf students from Illinois schools with deaf programs
and will include two groups. Group A will consist of students 10 to
12 years of age as Dec. 31, 2003, whose unaided pure-tone average in
the better ear can be no more than 70 decibels. Group B will consist
of students 13 years of age and older, up to eighth grade, as of
Dec. 31, 2003, whose unaided pure-tone average in the better ear can
be no more than 70 decibels.
The first-, second-, third-place and
alternate finalists from each school fingerspelling bee will go to
the area bee. The fourth-place finalists will be the alternates.
The first-, second-, and third-place
and alternate finalists from the area bees will go to the statewide
Each school will designate its
presenters for the area and statewide bees. Representatives from
each contestant's school will present the words. A panel of three
judges will preside.
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In competition, after the presenter
signs and says a word, the contestant signs or says the word again
before spelling it. The contestant must then fingerspell the word.
Upon missing the spelling of a word, the contestant immediately
drops out of the contest.
The winner is determined when the last
two spellers are competing, one misses, and the other, after
correcting the error and correctly spelling the next word on the
presenter's list, is declared the champion.
The reference material used for this
event is from the American Sign Language Dictionary by Martin
Presentation of the awards will be by
Louanner Peters, deputy chief of staff for social services for the
The judges for the event will be Emma
Danielson, Illinois statewide account manager with Sprint; Kris
Smith, assistant director, Department of Human Services, Division of
Rehabilitation Services, Services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing; and
Susan Dramin-Weiss, deaf services coordinator, Persons Assuming
Control of Their Environment Inc.
The timekeeper will be Don Stewart,
deaf services coordinator, Springfield Center for Independent
Sign language interpreters will be
If you have
any questions, please contact Pam Oller, Deaf Fingerspelling Bee
Coordinator, Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission, 1630 S.
Sixth St., Springfield, IL 62703; phone toll-free at (877) 455-3323
V/TTY; or e-mail at
Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission