José Carillo has been at John Powers School since 2002, beginning at age 3. He’s profoundly deaf, but received cochlear implants at age 5. His mother Evelia has been training in sign language since José began at Powers. Her two hearing daughters are also learning to sign and, together, Evelia and José are teaching José’s father to sign.

The SEDOL Foundation supports beginner, intermediate, and advanced sign language classes (once each week, 8-week sessions), as well as funding language facilitators like Gabriella Martinez. These classes are open to the student, parents, and siblings.

Evelia said that the training has significantly reduced José’s stress and frustration, and made it possible for his entire family to communicate with him. Classes at Powers are only taught in English, making Gabriella’s presence an important one for the whole family.


José Carillo is shown with his mother Evelia Armas (center) and Spanish language facilitator Gabriella Martinez


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