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Governor Larry Hogan Honors Maryland Native and Deaf Advocate Nyle DiMarco

Event Highlights State’s Commitment to Early Language Acquisition Among Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Larry Hogan today awarded a governor’s citation to Nyle DiMarco, recognizing his efforts on behalf of Deaf and hard of hearing children. A graduate of the Maryland School for the Deaf and Gallaudet University, DiMarco is the most recent winner of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars and the CW’s America’s Next Top Model.

The event took place in the Governor’s Reception Room in the State House, where Governor Hogan was joined by the Governor’s Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing; legislators; state and county officials; students and officials from DiMarco’s alma mater, the Maryland School for the Deaf; children and parents; and Deaf and hard of hearing advocates.

Deaf since birth, DiMarco grew up in Frederick and is one of more than 25 Deaf people in his family. DiMarco recently founded the Nyle DiMarco Foundation, which encourages full and early access to both American Sign Language and English for Deaf and hard of hearing infants and children in the United States. Research shows that being bilingual — and that means being fluent in both English and American Sign Language — enhances spoken language, auditory comprehension, and academic performance.

“Nyle is a hometown hero who has made it his mission to help Deaf children be confident and independent,” said Governor Hogan. “I am incredibly proud of Nyle, and I want to thank him and so many others for the incredible work they are doing on behalf of Maryland’s more than 1 million Deaf and hard of hearing citizens.”

“Nyle has shown the world that there are absolutely no limitations to what Deaf and hard of hearing people can do,” said Kelby Brick, director of the Governor’s Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. “And we are fortunate to have a governor who understands our needs, and has signed into law bills that help promote biliteracy among all Maryland students.”

“I am honored to receive this recognition and pleased that Governor Hogan is committed to Maryland’s Deaf and hard of hearing children,” said DiMarco, upon accepting the citation. “Early language acquisition gave me the cognitive, critical thinking, literacy, and social skills that helped me succeed as a model, actor, and advocate. I want every Deaf person to have the same access, so that they can succeed just as I did.”

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