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Late Deafened Adults:
Also see "Late Deafened Adult"

Also see "Reflections of a Late Deafened Adult"

In a message dated 1/16/2007 8:23:34 A.M. Pacific Standard Time, calebandabigailsmom@ writes:

I am a mother of two who homeschoolers. I had just recently decided to learn ASL and teach my children due to the fact that I have gradually been experiencing hearing loss. I have been very frustrated because there is so much I'm not hearing and many times misunderstanding. My question is, "What is the best way to practice and learn properly when I don't have someone other than my children to work with? I want to learn it properly, but live in a community that as far as I know has no one who is Deaf or signs. I take that back. There are many older people who wear hearing aids due to hearing loss but no one signs. I live in a town of 1,500. I am sorry this is so wordy. Any help you can offer would be appreciated.
Jessica Goodrich

In a message dated 1/27/2007 9:04:56 P.M. Pacific Standard Time, lyndapark@ writes


Your email was forwarded to me by Dr. Vicars, and I'd like to attempt to offer you some ideas for learning ASL.

The best method to acquire fluency in ASL is to associate with members of the Deaf community. Seems you are in an area where there is little opportunity to do so. Have you checked into community colleges or continuing education in your area that might offer sign classes? If that is not an option, consider computer aided programs such as CD-ROM's and DVD's. Look up websites offering basic ASL. Many are free. is one such site. ASL dictionaries can help too, just keep in mind learning ASL by book alone is (like trying to learn a spoken foreign language by book) very challenging, but a great tool in addition to other methods. Check to see what your local library offers.

Will your children join you in your efforts? Depending on their ages, they (and you too) may benefit from the many DVD's currently popular which teach sign language to infants and children. It would be great to include your family in your efforts, and set aside time to practice every day. Practicing every day will help you retain the skills learned better than doing a marathon cram session every now and then. Label items around your home with sign pictures. There are sign language games available too. By doing an internet search, you'll find several companies selling products to help you learn ASL.

Do you have a web cam? Could you find an internet buddy to practice with? Turn off the volume and have all your buddy conversations using sign language. Maybe check into an immersion program where you can get away for a week or so in a "no voice" atmosphere with others also wanting to learn ASL.

An excellent educational website using ASL with text and spoken English interpretation is The target audience is Deaf children ages 8-12, but the interactive environment makes it fun for just about everyone. This may be an excellent tool for you to use as a homeschooling mother. Ideally you should have at least intermediate signing skills to best understand the signing, but hey, if you want to teach your children science and other curricula, give it a try. The sign language would be an added dimension in addition to the excellent learning objectives.

These are just a few of the many different ways to begin learning ASL. Hope you can give some a try. Let me know if you have other thoughts or ideas.

~Lynda Park

Editor's note: for more of Lynda's wisdom...check out "Ask Lynda"


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