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Regional Early Acquisition of Language

  • The Regional Early Acquisition of Language (REAL) Project is a collaboration between Gallaudet University’s Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center and Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind (AIDB). We work in joint effort of the Gallaudet University Regional Center - South.  We are headquartered at AIDB in Talladega, Alabama. The REAL Project serves eleven states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. In addition to these states, we also work within the two U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

    A map of the southeastern United States with a pin point in Talladega.

    The mission of the REAL Project is to ensure that infants and toddlers ranging in age from birth through 3 years old and who are deaf or hard of hearing have full access to languages, including American Sign Language and English. The first few years of life are critical for language acquisition because it prepares children to be “school- ready” with a foundation of language when they enter school.

    The REAL Project establishes a network of resources and tools for Early Intervention teams and families.

    The REAL Project provides the following to promote accessible early language acquisition

    • Training
    • Technical assistance
    • Resources 

    Those eligible for assistance include

    • Medical Service Providers (e.g., audiologists, pediatricians, etc.)  
    • Early Intervention Service Providers
    • Early Childhood Educators
    • Families of Deaf/Hard of Hearing Children from Birth to 3


    • Identify Medical Service Providers, Early Intervention Providers, Early Childhood Educators, and Families
    • Connect those with information regarding early language acquisition for the deaf/hard of hearing 
    • Connect stakeholders with training, resources and materials to support language acquisition