American Sign Language (ASL) Resources
After many years of knowing just some basics, I am trying to learn more American Sign Language (ASL). You might have noticed that in our new book, HIDE AND SHH!, the main character, Dinah, and her sister, Chloe, use ASL to aid communication. So, I decided it might be a good idea to add some resources for learning ASL.
However, first, keep in mind that Dinah (and others) may use ASL or another sign language as an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), but ASL and about 300 other sign languages are the primary languages of deaf people. ASL is not an interpretation or adapted form of English. It is its own language and is a vital element of Deaf culture. To learn more about Deaf culture, please check these resources:
The Deaf Community: An Introduction from the National Deaf Center (NDF)
Community and Culture – Frequently Asked Questions from National Association of the Deaf (NAD)
What is Deaf Culture? from the Deaf Culture Centre
These videos are meant to be introductory tools, or ways to get started, and I tried to find ones largely geared toward young people as I write mainly for young people. To learn ASL or another sign language, take the time to look for classes near you or full online classes, particularly those offered by the Deaf community. I list some online and local resources at the bottom of the page.
For a quick tool to look up the ASL sign for individual words and phrases, check out Handspeak.com.
Please also pop over to my Kid Lit for Kids page to view some great ASL story times and interpretations! They're AMAZING!
Beginner ASL Course (Online Videos)
First up, here's a great online video Beginner American Sign Language (ASL) Course. I'm just starting to supplement the in-person class I'm doing. The first set of videos are made by the makers of the course.
ASL Basics: Alphabet, Days of the Week, Numbers 1-50
Next, I love these videos. They're such great starters. Doesn't she do an awesome job?
This one goes through 1 to 100 and then beyond! To 100 and beyond! Har!
Here are two fun videos I found to help learn colors in ASL!
Family and Friend Signs
Here are two fun videos I found to help learn family members, friends, and related concepts in ASL!
Greetings, Introductions, and Farewells
Here are two fun videos I found to help learn greetings, farewells, and other basic signs.
I found these to be really helpful videos for learning and practicing basic question word signs (Who, What, Where, When, Why, How) with some instruction in how to order signs when asking a question.
"I am learning sign language!" and "Sign slowly, please."
These might come in handy if, like me, you're learning ASL and want to let someone know. The third video has these and signs for other conversational words and phrases, including "my name is," "please," "sorry," "I understand," and "I don't understand."
Dinah and Chloe in Hide and Shh! use some basic ASL signs as well as animal signs. You can, too! Check out these videos to learn animal signs that Dinah and Chloe use and more! What's your favorite animal?
Online ASL Resources
Following are some great websites.
Not to be redundant, but this website has a wealth of resources, including many video lessons.
This website provides teaching and learning resources for ASL that focus on preserving and celebrating Deaf culture and aim to promote a "better understanding of the complex structure and use of sign languages."
American Sign Language (ASL) from National Institutes of Health
This page answers some FAQs, such as What Is ASL? and How Does ASL Compare with Spoken Language?
Visual Language from the American Society for Deaf Children
The parent website provides information on programs as well as resources for deaf children and their communities, including classes. This page explains ASL and provides links to recent videos and articles.
ASL Teaching Resources
This website provides materials and resources for educators in the deaf community or working with deaf students and their families.
ASL University provides a searchable database of signs as well as video instruction for students and teachers of ASL.
American Sign Language Dictionary
This website is an online ASL dictionary in which you can look up words and find video demonstrations of corresponding or related signs.
This is another searchable online ASL dictionary with video tutorials for signs.
National Association of the Deaf
NAD provides a wealth of information and resources for the deaf community and about deaf culture.
Community and Culture – Frequently Asked Questions from NAD
This resource addresses distinctions among deaf, Deaf, and Hard of Hearing, and explains preferred terminology.
Video ASL story performances and more! There's lots to browse and learn on this You Tube channel.
This You Tube channel features video instruction in ASL with a certified instructor of ASL who has an M.A. in Teaching ASL as a Foreign Language and a B.A. in Linguistics with a focus on sign language.
ASL Basics from Learn How to Sign
This You Tube channel also provides video instruction in ASL from a certified ASL teacher and certified educational interpreter. who holds a M.Ed. in Deaf Education.
The Silent Talk: Sign Language and Down Syndrome
I love this blog post Cedar's Story: Changing Perceptions of Down Syndrome not only because it explains a little about why children who have DS can benefit from learning and using ASL but also because the video of Cedar signing with Mom by the campfire is just awesome.
This fingerspelling tool is a great way to practice understanding words spelled in ASL to you (or testing your ability to translate fingerspelling).
Local to Dayton, Ohio, ASL Resources
Following are some resources in and around my community.
Part of the Family Services Association, CSD provides support and instructional services, including in-person and online ASL classes. This brochure provides an overview of their programs and associated contact information.
Deaf Community Resource Center
DCRC provides a variety of local support services for the deaf community, including early intervention, vocational support, kids' camps, and in-person and online ASL classes (for deaf and hearing persons).
Miami Valley Interpreters, LLC
MVI provides paid language interpretation services, including ASL, in the Miami Valley.