Stephanie Bowlin, nationally certified sign language interpreter and certified Signing Smart instructor, started her journey with American Sign Language (ASL) when she was still a child in elementary school. Even before she had any formal instruction, Stephanie benefited from day-to-day interaction with Deaf friends, teachers of the Deaf, and sign language interpreters, giving her the opportunity to learn to sign in the most natural way possible: through authentic interaction. In this process, Steph learned firsthand how sign language could unlock the door to communication, learning, and
relationship-building—a discovery that would set the course for her adult life. Rooted in that experience, authentic interaction is still the hallmark and goal of her work as an interpreter, intervention specialist, caregiver, presenter, mentor, teacher, and—above all—mom. In fact, it was as a mom that Steph discovered her passion for what she does today: teaching young children and their families to communicate and to learn through the use of ASL—all with amazing success.
Nationally certified by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf since 2008, Steph had already had a wide variety of interpreting experiences, in settings as diverse as business and government, medical and mental health theater and religious events in both Ohio and Washington, D.C. But it was with the birth of her oldest son in 2011 that she began searching for a program that would foster early communication, deepen intimacy, and promote learning with infants and toddlers. Based on her
experience, Steph knew that whatever program she chose would have to be 100% ASL and developmentally appropriate for young children. Signing Smart met her stringent requirements. In it, she found a program that enriches what hearing parents and caregivers are already doing with their children, by introducing sign language as a medium. Since then, as a licensed Signing Smart instructor, Stephanie has started families, teachers, and caregivers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Georgia on their own journeys to enriching their lives with American Sign Language. In her own family, Steph and her husband have been signing with both of their young sons since shortly after their birth.
What have they discovered? Stephanie and the families she instructs have seen for themselves that taking the Signing Smart approach to using ASL signs with infants and toddlers reduces frustration and tantrums, because it allows
children to express what they need or want before they are able to speak; it facilitates speaking and develops language skills; it fosters communication; it deepens intimacy; and it promotes learning at a young age, building conceptual understanding, memory, and vocabulary.
By using these practical, easy-to-learn methods, parents and babies—from as young as five months to preschool age—can begin to communicate in a way that would not otherwise be possible.
Stephanie graduated Magna cum Laude from Kent State University as an Intervention Specialist, with a Bachelor’s degree in Educational Interpreting and a minor in American Sign Language.
Beyond her work as a sign-language interpreter and a Signing Smart instructor, Steph is sought after as a workshop presenter for parents, teachers and caregivers. She teaches ASL and sensory play to "big kids" and she enjoys mentoring college interpreting students.