June 03, 2018
Photo: Mr. Roberto Wirth (Gallaudet Board of Associates, Owner and President/Director of The Hassler Hotel in Rome, Italy, located at the top of the Spanish Steps, Pioneering deaf entrepreneur, and founder and President of CABSS Assistance Center for Deaf and Deafblind Children / Centro Assistenza per Bambini Sordi e Sordociechi Onlus (CABSS), a non-profit association dedicated to supporting deaf and deafblind children and their families in Rome, Italy). Professor Laura-Ann Petitto (Science Director, the Petitto Brain and Language Laboratory for Neuroimaging, BL2; Co-PI and Science Director of the NSF-Gallaudet Science of Learning Center, Visual Language and Visual Learning, VL2; Head founder and Steering Committee Chair of the Ph.D. in Educational Neuroscience, PEN, program, Gallaudet University) and experimental scientist and Child Developmental Psychologist, Dr. Stefania Fadda, Director of Mr. Roberto Wirth’s Deaf and Deafblind Children’s Assistance Center since 2008.
Professor Laura-Ann Petitto meets with Mr. Roberto Wirth and experimental scientist, Dr. Stefania Fadda in Rome, Italy, on June 3, 2018, to discuss augmentative aids to evaluate the internal emotional and higher cognitive states in young Deafblind babies—especially, to discover indices of when these young babies are in a state of “Readiness to Learn,” and even before they are able to produce language. (“Readiness to Learn” construct: Petitto NSF INSPIRE and Keck Foundation grants/Petitto, PI; and, Petitto, L.A. (in press), “The Impact of Minimal Language Experience on Children During Sensitive Periods of Brain and Early Language Development: Myths Debunked and New Policy Implications.”
Special focus was to explore the possible translational use of the Petitto and Professor Arcangelo Merla’s (Biomedical engineer, a pioneer in Thermal IR Imaging and fNIRS, Universita D’Annunzio Chieti-Pescara, Italy), and team’s, RAVE robot-avatar thermal imaging language learning tool with Deafblind babies. Learn more about the RAVE robot avatar thermal IR imaging language learning tool.
The meeting also focused on the discussion of Mr. Roberto Wirth’s exceedingly generous donor funding efforts for the Fulbright Foundation and Mr. Wirth’s sponsorship of Italian deaf students to study at Gallaudet University.