In early 2008 I was asked if I would be willing to participate in the award-winning Bright Smiles, Bright Futures (BSBF) global oral health education program created by the Colgate-Palmolive Company.
According to their literature this program reaches over 50 million children and their families in 30 languages and 80 countries each year. The goal is to inspire kids to take control of their own oral health.
Last year the folks at Colgate-Palmolive were looking to create a special edition of their Bright Smiles, Bright Futures program designed with hard-of-hearing students in mind. The materials that were subsequently created emphasize language and readings skills and incorporate the use of visual aids to help reinforce important oral health knowledge.
Of course, I said that I would be delighted to participate. I was given the materials and asked for input that would be beneficial to deaf and hard-of-hearing students. What changes or additions would need to be made so that this program was not only appropriate but useful?
The packet has many components. There is an animated adventure movie called Dr. Rabbit and the Legend of Tooth Kingdom about an exciting oral health journey with knights and monsters. This DVD includes optional subtitles to allow for ease of interpreting into American Sign Language. The good folks at Colgate-Palmolive also included a copy of the script which I applaud because this can help students and teachers prepare before viewing. It also promotes literacy and reading fluency as the students are encouraged to read the script over and over. The more we read the better we become at reading!
The characters, places and main concepts from the DVD are also pictured on cards along with the word written out in English and with the fingerspelling alphabet.
The cards can be cut out and children can play a fun concentration game to support the movie related oral health vocabulary.
In total there are 7 activities which provide opportunities for student engagement. This also includes a guide for proper brushing in 5 easy steps.
Overall, I thought the materials they originally presented to me looked very good. I made a few suggestions that were accepted (like changing the wording of the program from "An Oral Health Education Program for Hearing Impaired Third Grade Students" to "An Oral Health Education Program for Hard-of-Hearing Third Grade Students". The difference may not seem so important but it is) and a few that were not accepted (like targeting this for a younger grade, perhaps First, because the cartoons seem a little young for Third graders).
The packets were completed and sent out to schools in January but I just received a copy of mine last week. The thrilling part of this for me is that in addition to having a cool item on my resume, I am listed as an 'Education and Oral Health Advisor' on the back of the brochure.
It is the first time that my name is followed by Ph.D. It is not yet the case and is a bit misleading but one day that will be true so I'm not going to sweat it.