Hard Of Hearing In Asl

American Sign Language (ASL) is a fascinating and unique form of communication used by the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community in the United States. With over half a million people using ASL as their native language, it is the third most commonly used language in the country, after English and Spanish. Contrary to popular belief, ASL is not just a representation of English but has more similarities to spoken Japanese and Navajo.

What Is American Sign Language (ASL)?

ASL is a visual language that relies on body movements and signs to convey messages. Unlike spoken languages, ASL does not use sounds but rather uses visual cues. It was specifically designed to be easily understood by the eyes, as “listeners” must rely on their sight to receive information.

ASL’s history can be traced back to the 1800s, with the establishment of the first successful American School for the Deaf by Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet and Laurent Clerc. With roots in French Sign Language, ASL evolved and incorporated signs used in less formal settings, such as within the deaf community.

Is There a Universal Sign Language?

Unlike spoken languages, the deaf community does not have a universal sign language. There are over 300 signed languages in the world, each unique to its respective region. For example, someone who signs using American Sign Language may not understand someone who signs using British Sign Language (BSL) or Australian Sign Language (Auslan).

Five (5) Common Misconceptions About ASL

Despite its widespread usage, there are several misconceptions surrounding ASL. Let’s address some of the most common ones:

  1. ASL is a direct translation of spoken English: ASL has its own grammar and syntax, which differ from spoken English.

  2. ASL is an international sign language: ASL is specific to the United States and is not universally understood.

  3. All deaf people use ASL: Deaf individuals have varying degrees of exposure and fluency in ASL.

  4. Sign language is a visual representation of spoken words: ASL relies on signs and gestures independent of spoken language.

  5. Learning ASL is difficult: With practice and determination, anyone can learn ASL just like any other language.

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Where Can I Learn Sign Language – ASL?

If you’re interested in learning ASL, the key is to start practicing and immerse yourself in the language. There are various resources available, including online courses and local classes. Take the first step towards learning this beautiful language!

Where Can I Find Additional Information About ASL?

If you’re seeking more information about ASL, there are plenty of resources available to further your knowledge. Local and national directories offer information about ASL advocacy, education, services, social events, and resources. Explore these directories to find the information you need.

For Parents: Where Can I Find Additional Information and Resources for My Deaf Child?

Parents of deaf children may have additional questions and concerns regarding ASL and the deaf community. Parent resources provide valuable information about ASL, education, early intervention, local and national organizations, schools, and social events. These resources can guide parents through their journey of supporting their deaf child.

ASL is not just a language; it is a vibrant and essential part of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community. Embrace the opportunity to learn ASL and discover the rich cultural heritage it represents.

[ASL]: American Sign Language
[BSL]: British Sign Language
*[Auslan]: Australian Sign Language

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