I am the founder and director of Canales Asociación Civil, an NGO based in Buenos Aires, Argentina that works to ensure that deaf children have access to a quality education, in Argentina and beyond. Canales was founded in 2003 when I decided to bring together deaf and hearing professionals to start working for a better future for deaf children in Argentina. During these ten years, Canales has been working in the development of teacher trainings and curricula, educational materials (both videos and books, including the award-winning Videobooks in Argentine Sign Language), and to provide support and information to families and parents, pediatricians, teachers, and the deaf community.
Early on I became aware of how the educational system was failing deaf students, who were forced to spend most of their school days on speech therapy and little time on actually learning the regular curriculum. At university in Argentina, I wrote my thesis about emotional challenges related to deafness, and after that, I traveled to the US for my masters degree (Purdue University), where I tried to learn everything I could about deaf education and the benefits of a bilingual approach (sign language and English in the US, sign language and Spanish in Argentina.) Upon return to Argentina, I worked with the Argentinean Deaf Association (CAS) as head of the educational department, and later with the Ministry of Education, where I participated in the design of policies to implement the bilingual education model for deaf children.
For the last ten years I have served as the director of Canales and I have published widely in the area of deaf education. I was honored to be chosen as an Ashoka Fellow in 2002.