Samuel J. Supalla
Samuel J. Supalla, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of Disability and Psychoeducational Studies at the University of Arizona. The research that he leads lies in understanding and meeting the linguistic needs of deaf children. His original work on how artificial English-based sign systems fail has led to a greater appreciation of American Sign Language (ASL) as a working language in terms of visual perception and processing. Dr. Supalla has now expanded his work to include the literacy issues that are involved when deaf children learn how to read and write in English without the support of sound. Innovative methodologies have been developed to link English learning with what deaf children know in ASL. To support this particular approach of second language learning, Dr. Supalla helped found the Laurent Clerc Elementary School, a charter school in Tucson, AZ. A number of grants have been funded to support the research effort involved as well as to disseminate the new knowledge to other educational programs around the nation. Dr. Supalla enjoys teaching Deaf Studies courses and ASL as a foreign/second language and engaging students in different research endeavors. Dr. Supalla is also an accomplished filmmaker and performer of ASL storytelling.