New Maya & Miguel Episode Helps Raise Deaf Awareness

A News Release from the National Association of the Deaf
Release Date: September 11, 2006
For Immediate Release

Anita B. Farb
Director, Outreach and Communications
National Association of the Deaf
Email: [email protected]

Liane Ramirez
Goodman Media International
(212) 576.2700 x249
Email: [email protected]

Olivia Dupuis
Goodman Media International
(212) 576.2700 x250
Email: [email protected]

New Maya & Miguel Episode Helps Raise Deaf Awareness

“Give Me A Little Sign” Premieres September 25 on PBS KIDS GO!sm
During National Deaf Awareness Week

Milestone Episode Kicks Off Third Season of Popular Series
from Scholastic Media

New York, NY — Maya & MiguelT, the award-winning children’s bi-lingual (Spanish-English) animated series on PBS KIDS GO!, is launching its third season with a special episode that presents insights and understanding about the challenges of learning another language — sign language. Inspired by the personal story of Maya & Miguel star Lupe Ontiveros, who is a mother of two deaf sons, “Give Me A Little Sign” will debut on September 25 on PBS KIDS GO! (check local listings) during National Deaf Awareness Week (September 24–30) and will be broadcast in open caption. In addition to the premiere of this milestone episode — which kicks off the third season of Maya & Miguel — Scholastic Media is collaborating with the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) and Captioned Media Program (CMP) to bring screenings of “Give Me A Little Sign” to local NAD libraries to help promote deaf awareness around the country.

“Embracing differences and accepting others have always been at the core of every Maya & Miguel episode, and ‘Give Me A Little Sign’ is another excellent example of that commitment. The production team worked overtime to make this special episode as authentic as possible and the result is an inspiring and rewarding program for viewers of all ages,” said Deborah Forte, President of Scholastic Media and creator of Maya & Miguel. “It is our hope that the impact of this special episode will go beyond the television screen to stimulate discussion in classrooms and between parents and children about the deaf community and the realization that all language barriers can be overcome.”

“This Maya & Miguel episode will make a significant contribution to deaf awareness,” said Bobbie Beth Scoggins, President of the NAD. “‘Give Me A Little Sign’ is not only a technical triumph of successfully incorporating American Sign Language into an animated program, but also a monumental breakthrough for accessibility through airing the premiere episode with open captions visible to all audiences.”

The episode was inspired by the personal story of Maya & Miguel star Lupe Ontiveros, who brings the voice of the beloved Abuela Elena to life. As the mother of two deaf sons, Lupe was determined to build awareness for the hard of hearing, and worked with Deborah Forte to bring this issue to life through the characters on Maya & Miguel. The result is this very special episode, for which Forte’s production team consulted with American Sign Language (ASL) experts, and mastered a very different production process to successfully bring sign language to the animation world.

“When I became involved with Maya & Miguel and its educational goals to teach children appreciation of cultural diversity, caring, sharing, and a love of family, I thought about deaf children and their need to be understood and accepted,” said Lupe Ontiveros. “I feel this episode will help children learn the importance of valuing others who are somehow different than they are, whether that difference be race, religion, culture, language, or in this case, people who can speak with their hands.”

The innovative new episode, “Give Me A Little Sign,” will premiere on Monday, September 25 on PBS KIDS GO! (check local listings) for National Deaf Awareness Week (September 24 — September 30), and will be broadcast in open caption. In addition, the episode will be repeated each day for the remainder of the week to officially kick-off the successful series’ third season, which begins with all new episodes on October 2.

In “Give Me A Little Sign,” Tito befriends a new boy, Marco, who is deaf. Marco starts to teach Tito some American Sign Language and they decide to do a project together for the school’s “Contraption Convention.” But when Tito, a second language learner, makes some pronunciation mistakes in school, he decides he doesn’t want to do the project anymore (since it involves public speaking). Only when he sees how Marco persists in getting across what he wants to say — even when people misunderstand him at first — does he realize the value of practice and determination, and decides to go ahead with the project.

Throughout National Deaf Awareness Week, children can share in this special television event through local activities in cities across the U.S. In collaboration with the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) and the Captioned Media Program (CMP), Scholastic Media is presenting open captioned screenings of this special episode at local CMP libraries, where children and parents can preview “Give Me A Little Sign” and pick up materials on how the show was conceived and produced. Children will also receive an ASL alphabet chart poster created especially for this episode. For more information, please contact your local CMP library.

In support of the premiere of “Give Me A Little Sign”, the Maya & Miguel website,, will feature online ASL activities and information about deaf awareness, including a special section where kids can write and send in their personal experiences with hard of hearing friends or family, as well as an ASL alphabet chart that will help children learn sign language on their own.

Maya & Miguel made a stellar debut in fall 2004, quickly becoming the # 1 new show on PBS KIDS GO! and establishing an immediate and powerful connection with its audience. The series is designed to present culture and language learning as fun, relevant, and rewarding for all children, with a special emphasis on the Latino population. The goals of the series are to promote the value of a culturally diverse society, and to support English language learners through the presentation of language in a natural context with a special emphasis on vocabulary. Maya & Miguel is a broad-based Scholastic initiative comprised of television, print media, school and community outreach, dynamic Web sites at as well as, and a host of ancillary products including apparel, accessories and DVDs.


About the NAD
The National Association of the Deaf (NAD), founded in 1880, safeguards the civil rights of deaf and hard of hearing Americans. As a national federation of individual members, state associations, organizational and corporate affiliates, the advocacy work of the NAD encompasses a broad spectrum of areas including, but not limited to, accessibility, education, employment, healthcare, mental health, rehabilitation, technology, telecommunications, and transportation. The NAD website ( has a wealth of advocacy information and resources.

About the CMP
The CMP ( is a nonprofit organization that provides the nation’s largest free-loan captioned media library and also acts as a captioning information center, maintaining a database for use by those who are searching for captioned media, captioning agencies, or wanting to learn to caption themselves. The CMP is administered by the NAD, funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

About Scholastic Media
Scholastic Media (SM) is a leading producer of quality, family-oriented content across multiple platforms, including feature films, television programming, videos, interactive products and web sites, and is a major developer and marketer of children’s brands worldwide. Among SM’s award-winning and top-rated productions are the animated series Clifford The Big Red Dog(R) (PBS KIDS(R)); the Emmy award-winning spin-off series Clifford’s Puppy DaysTM (PBS KIDS); I SPY (HBO Family); The Magic School Bus(R) (TLC), and the newest series Maya & MiguelTM (PBS KIDS GO!). SM’s critically-acclaimed feature films include Clifford’s Really Big Movie, The Indian in the Cupboard, and The Mighty. SM is also producing the forthcoming film The Golden Compass, based on the award-winning Philip Pullman trilogy His Dark Materials, for New Line Cinema. SM is the entertainment and media division of Scholastic.

About Scholastic
Scholastic Corporation (NASDAQ: SCHL) is the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books and a leader in educational technology. Scholastic creates quality educational and entertaining materials and products for use in school and at home, including children’s books, magazines, technology-based products, teacher materials, television programming, film, videos and toys. The Company distributes its products and services through a variety of channels, including proprietary school-based book clubs, school-based book fairs, and school-based and direct-to-home continuity programs; retail stores, schools, libraries and television networks; and the Company’s Internet site,

About PBS KIDS(R) and PBS KIDS GO!sm
PBS KIDS is committed to providing the highest-quality non-commercial content and learning environment for children across the country. Providing age-appropriate, diverse programming for kids, PBS KIDS’ programs consistently earn more prestigious awards than any other broadcast or cable network. Only PBS KIDS has earned the unanimous endorsement of parents, children, industry leaders and teachers. With additional PBS resources to complement its programming, including PBS KIDS online (, PBS KIDS GO! (, PBS Parents (, PBS TeacherSource (, PBS Ready To Learn services and literacy events across the country, PBS KIDS is providing the tools necessary for positive child development. PBS is a nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation’s 354 public television stations, serving nearly 90 million people each week and reaching 99% of American homes.

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