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Both hands are at the shoulders in the letter “C.”  Hands move out and away forcefully, closing into the letter “S.”

Prior to the 2007 conference, there was no sign for CHARGE syndrome. When people signed “CHARGE syndrome,” they fingerspelled it, which was cumbersome.

A discussion at a Board meeting led to the formation of a committee of six young adults with CHARGE syndrome to develop a sign for CHARGE syndrome. Working primarily via email, each committee member submitted three ideas. The eighteen possibilities were narrowed down to three. There was unanimous agreement on the sign pictured at right.

Both hands are at the shoulders in the letter “C.” Hands move out and away forcefully, closing into the letter “S.” The “C” for CHARGE at the shoulder was taken from the sign for “boss.” The sign for “strength” represents the “S” for syndrome.

Sign Development Committee

Board member Bonnie Haggerty facilitated the work of the committee.  The six committee members are from Australia, Canada and the United States:

  • Belinda Arnell, Australia
  • Chip Dixon, United States
  • Patty Haggerty, United States
  • Ellen Howe, Australia
  • Chantelle McLaren, Canada
  • Christine Nieder, Canada

Sign Debuts at the 2007 Conference

At the Friday morning general session, before an international audience of more than six hundred, President Neal Stanger invited the three committee members in attendance to come forward and introduce the sign for CHARGE syndrome.  Board member Pam Ryan described the process, development and significance of the sign.  Belinda, Chip and Christine then gave the first public demonstration of the sign and taught it to the audience.  The sign language interpreters incorporated it into their translations.  It is now the international sign for CHARGE syndrome.

Belinda, Christine, Chip, and Pam introducing the sign at the 2007 conference.