Keynote speakers

Christine Yoshinaga-Itano

Dr. Christine Yoshinaga-Itano is a Research Professor, Institute of Cognitive Science, Professor Emerita, Department of Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences, at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and Visiting Professor, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa, Centre for Deaf. She has over 125 published articles and chapters with a focus on universal newborn hearing screening and predictors of developmental outcomes of children with hearing loss with an emphasis on children and families from multicultural/linguistic backgrounds, and those with socio-economic and linguistic challenges. She received Honors from the American Speech/Language & Hearing Association and was Jerger Career Research Awardee from the American Academy of Audiology. She serves as an Associate Editor for the International Journal of Audiology and is a member of the Audiology committee for the International Association of Communication Sciences and Disorders (IALP).

Maartje De Meulder

Dr. Maartje De Meulder is a senior researcher at HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, and Honorary Research Fellow at Heriot-Watt University. She is a leading expert in the field of Deaf Studies, with a particular and interdisciplinary focus on sign language policy and planning, sign language technologies, and Sign Language Interpreting Studies. Her research roadmap addresses contemporary societal challenges faced by deaf communities, and her work has been published in a range of different journals such as Human Rights Quarterly, Language Policy, and Translation and Interpreting Studies. She has co-edited Innovations in Deaf Studies (Oxford University Press, 2017) and The Legal Recognition of Sign Languages (Multilingual Matters, 2019) and has been a guest editor of several special issues of journals. She is passionate about supporting the development of Deaf Studies as an academic field of research and teaching. Additionally, she is dedicated to supporting capacity building of deaf scholars as one of the coordinators of the successful dr Deaf workshops. Find out more about her publications, presentations and media appearances on her personal website.

Thomastine A. Sarchet-Maher

Thomastine A. Sarchet-Maher, Ed.D. is assistant dean and director of the Center for International Educational Outreach in the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, at the Rochester Institute of Technology.  Dr. Sarchet-Maher has over fifteen years’ experience as a Deaf education researcher, teacher, professional development trainer, curriculum developer, program evaluator and international project manager.  Her primary work has been to support the expansion of Deaf education and access services in Southeast Asia and Africa.  She has served as principal investigator or co-investigator on fifteen (15) international projects to support Deaf education development. Currently, Sarchet-Maher is the principal investigator and project director for the Growing Regional Opportunities for Work for the Deaf (Deaf GROW) Project, a five year employment project sponsored by the Nippon Foundation. She also mentors international students and serves as a project co-investigator and consultant to university faculty on international grant projects.  In 2022, Sarchet-Maher was named one of RIT’s PI Millionaires.  Professor Sarchet-Maher’s research focuses on building local community partnerships, documentation and dissemination of local sign languages into schools, and using evidenced based approaches to expand educational and employment opportunities of Deaf people through professional and community development. In addition to her international work, Sarchet-Maher teaches undergraduate science and graduate teacher education courses at RIT/NTID and established several intensive academic support programs at the university.   Dr. Sarchet-Maher earned her bachelor’s degree in biology and master’s degree in Deaf education with a specialization in secondary science education from RIT/NTID.   She earned her doctorate in teaching and curriculum at the University of Rochester.  

Gladys Tang

Gladys Tang is a professor of the Department of Linguistics and Modern Languages and the director of The Centre for Sign Linguistics and Deaf Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She publishes widely in sign linguistics with primary data from Hong Kong Sign Language (HKSL), Chinese and HKSL development of Deaf and hard-of-hearing children, and Deaf/Hearing co-enrollment education. She has served on the editorial board of the Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education and Glossa. Currently, she is on the editorial board of Sign Language Studies and Deafness and Education International. She has also been invited to review papers and research grant proposals at the international level and advise two European Commission projects on sign language documentation and sign language recognition & translation. Her research impact activities are many. Crucially, she and her team of researchers collaborate with universities and Deaf associations in some Asian countries and develop Deaf training in sign language documentation and sign language teaching within The Asia Pacific Sign Linguistics Research and Training (APSL) Programme ( sponsored by The Nippon Foundation. Her research into sign linguistics and language development of Deaf and hard-of-hearing children has led her to experiment with a form of Deaf/Hearing co-enrollment education highlighting the critical role of bimodal bilingualism and Deaf teachers in mainstream education. Her approach of co-enrollment education to benefit Deaf and Hearing students has spread to Macau, China and Singapore.  

Stefania Fadda

Stefania Fadda is President of the European Society for Mental Health and Deafness (ESMHD) and Director of the Assistance Center for Deaf and Deafblind Children (CABSS). Moreover, Dr. Fadda is part of the Expert Group on Mental Health for the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD), and member of the committee on Deaf Plus for the Italian National Association of the Deaf (ENS).
She is a US-Italy Fulbright Commission consultant, which promotes the Cultural Exchange between Italy and the United States, on Deafness Studies.
Dr. Fadda graduated in Child and Adolescent Psychology and completed her specialization in Mental Health for Deaf Individuals and Early Intervention for Children who are Deaf and Deafblind.
After completing a four-year training specialization in Cognitive Psychotherapy, she became a Cognitive Psychotherapist and after four more years of teaching/training, she began teaching in Schools of Cognitive Psychotherapy (SPC).
As of 2021, became a member of the Didactic-Scientific committee for the Italian Society of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy (SITCC).
She has developed a particular interest in Psychotraumatology; is a Certified in Trauma Informed Stabilization Treatment (TIST) with Janina Fisher and a level II Sensorimotor Psychotherapist.
She has published books and articles on Psychology, Psychotherapy, Early Intervention and Mental Health for deaf and deafblind individuals.
Dr. Fadda’s foremost commitment is to remove barriers that limit the fundamental rights of deaf and deafblind individuals of all ages, to attain accessible and inclusive mental health services. For this reason, she contributed to the creation and dissemination of the Belfast Statement on Mental Health and Deafness, which emphasizes equality, freedom and dignity of all individuals in the field of Mental Health.
Her dream and commitment, is to enable that Mental Health for deaf people, be managed successfully overall by deaf professionals, with hearing colleagues as allies.


Kate Rowley

Dr Kate Rowley is a deaf psycholinguist and is currently a lecturer based at the Deafness, Cognition, and Language (DCAL) Research Centre, University College London (UCL). Dr Rowley specialises in the language and literacy development of deaf children. Dr Rowley is keen to promote bi/multilingualism in deaf children and adults, which includes knowledge of one or more sign languages. She has been involved in the development of several assessments of British Sign Language (BSL) and studied language attitudes of deaf, BSL signers.