Advancing early language acquisition for deaf children through quality educational programming in American Sign Language


Welcome to ASL Friends.  Our nonprofit organization has promoted American Sign Language (ASL) for young deaf children and their families since 2005.  Since then, many wonderful things have happened thanks to the internet’s rapid expansion.  ASL resources have become available in many homes, research centers such as the Visual Language and Visual Learning (VL2) Center at Gallaudet University have advanced the study of early language acquisition in deaf children, and ultimately Language Equality and Acquisition for Deaf Kids (LEAD-K) drafted model legislation for states that would ensure deaf children have an opportunity to acquire command of their native language prior to entering kindergarten. 

We hope our website will serve as a guide to explore the richness of this visual language, American Sign Language.  It is never too late to begin your journey into learning a new language!  Please send your questions or suggestions to contact@aslfriends.org or visit us on Facebook @ASLFriends.

Mission Statement

Our mission is to advance early language acquisition for deaf children through quality educational programming in American Sign Language.


October 3, 2005, ASL Readers, Inc. (currently ASL Friends, Inc.) incorporated with the intention of raising literacy levels for deaf high school graduates through early language intervention.  On November 3, 2006, our organization received tax-exempt 501(c)3 status from the Internal Revenue Service for the purpose of adapting spoken and written English educational materials into ASL creating accessibility for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals.


Board of Directors

Kim Nussbaum

Kim Nussbaum

President, Founder

Kim’s love and respect for American Sign Language developed through her 30 years of friendship with deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. She earned her Master’s Degree in Deaf Education at the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to that she studied interpreter training at the University of Arizona and Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona. She had the privilege of teaching in deaf residential schools, plus mainstream and oral classrooms.  As an interpreter she gained experience in educational, business, medical, and religious settings.  Her most cherished memory as an interpreter occurred at The Rehabilitation Institute in Pittsburgh in 1991.  To her surprise, the Keynote Speaker she would be interpreting for was her childhood role model, Fred Rogers.

Together with her husband Paul, they shared the joy of raising three sons.

Susan Di Iorio Miller

Susan Di Iorio Miller

Founding Board Member & Vice-President

As a founding board member of ASL Friends, Sue has helped to steer the organization from its infancy and continues to support multiple needs as they arrive. With her experience in production, she has taken the lead to oversee the production projects of ASL Friends. 

Susan graduated from Rosemont College with her degree in Social Science and a concentration in Psychology. She currently works at the Brain Health Center and is a champion on the Paddle Court.

Together with her husband Tom, they have two sons.


Laura Clark

Laura Clark


Laura is a dynamic executive, adept to working in an entrepreneurial environment within financial services, and has served as Treasurer on the ASL Friends Board of Directors for the past five years and has currently assumed the role of Secretary.

Laura supports financial inclusion initiatives as VP of Prepaid Business Development with Mastercard, bringing with her over 25 years of experience within the payments industry. Prior to MasterCard, Laura was a member of the original national sales team for the then start-up venture Discover Card.

Laura earned her BS degree in Management Science and Marketing from the State University of New York at Geneseo. She and her husband live in Wexford, PA. Laura enjoys traveling to spend time with their three grown sons, theater, reading, music, and photography; she is an active member of Orchard Hill Church and a community volunteer.


Christi Dowd

Christi Dowd


Christi has over 17 years of experience in the oilfield. Her prior experience also includes high tech and public accounting and two overseas assignments. She currently serves on the Offshore Technology Conference Program Committee as Vice-Chair of the Networking Committee.

Christi lives in Houston, Texas but is proud of her Pittsburgh roots as an Indiana University of PA undergrad with a BS in Accounting. She also earned her MBA at the University of Houston and is a CPA in the State of Texas. She is an active volunteer at Ronald McDonald House in Houston and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.


Media & Awards

Nonprofit group welcoming deaf children into 'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood'

Kristi Locklin
Staff Writer
Pine Cree Journal, 2008

The Pine resident established ASL Readers Inc., a nonprofit group that is working to bring American Sign Language to “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”

[read more]

Pilot Project Introduces Sign Language to Mister Rogers Neighborhood

Neighborhood News
April, 2009

Even though Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, like all PBS programming, offers closed captioning, most preschool children cannot yet read the captions that scroll across the bottom of the screen.

[read more]

PRHS Students Develop Website Designs for ASL Readers, Inc.

Rachel Hathhorn
Pine-Richland School District 2011

Pine-Richland High School students take their classroom lessons into the real world. Students in Teacher Valerie Orwig’s fourth-period web page design class helped design the American Sign Language (ASL) Readers, Inc. first web page.
[read more]

ASL Friends, Inc receives 2017 Best of Pittsburgh Award

Pittsburgh Award Program
June, 2017

ASL Friends Inc has been selected for the 2017 Best of Pittsburgh Ward in the Community Organizations category by the Pittsburgh  Award Program.

Each year, the Pittsburgh Award Program identifies companies…
[read more]

Give to ASL Friends!

Thank you for joining our efforts to make Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood accessible through American Sign Language.

Any funds solicited for ASL Friends, Inc. are not being solicited by, or on behalf of, Fred Rogers Productions.