Thursday, September 16, 2010

American Sign Language - free class on-line

I've had an interest in American Sign Language (ASL) for a long time. The first time I did anything about it, I had a patient whose parents were deaf. That inspired me to take my first class in ASL.

My second inspiration to learn sign was my oldest child. When he was little he was quite hard of hearing as a result of frequent ear infections. This resulted in expressive language delays. He attended a special pre-school where they taught some basic signs which helped at school and home. Unfortunately, he doesn't remember much sign at all.

The third impetus was my dyslexic middle child. He needed a second language for high school. Being unable to spell in one language is frustrating enough and the spelling used in ASL is English. Off we went in search of sign language classes which would accept a 14 year old. A local Deaf church provided those - along with some wonderfully accepting Deaf friends. We took classes there for several years and became proficient enough to carry on a conversation with any reasonably patient Deaf person. Unfortunately, I lost touch with that group and as a result, lost much of my signing ability.

My youngest son is now high school age and needs a second language. He remembers coming with me to ASL classes and Deaf parties, so he naturally wants to learn ASL. It just makes sense to him. It is also one of the more commonly used languages in this area and not at all uncommon to see people signing in public places here.

In my search for ASL classes that would accept someone his age, I found ASL University. It's a high school/college intro level ASL class in a very structured on-line format with accompanying resources.

I am amazed at how fast the ASL I'd forgotten is coming back through the use of this site -- and how quickly my son is learning expressive and receptive skills. We still want to find a live class, but we won't feel totally lost when we get there.

1 comment:

petito best said...

that using sign languages on the toddler would benefit them even in their adult life? Because the spoken word abilities may not have arrived for a very young child, sign language offers the best solution to empower your kid. Linguistics