Spoken word poet Asher Roth once asked:, “If my voice didn’t work, but my hands could talk, would you take the time to see what a deaf man thought?”
These powerful words show how rewarding learning American Sign Language can be for those who need to use it, and those who yearn to communicate with people of all walks of life. People seeking to learn ASL can use a variety of resources to connect them with an entire community through the use of this common language.
YouTube is an incredible resource for almost any educational content. There are many channels dedicated solely to teaching American Sign Language, and many channels have entire sections dedicated to the subject.
1. Lifeprint Lessons
Lifeprint Lessons on YouTube offers an absolutely massive collection of video lessons on American Sign Language. The videos range in length from one to two minute quick fixes to full 40-minute lessons.
The channel also offers an entire playlist of American Sign Language medical terminology, which is extremely helpful for doctors and nurses, who face emergency situations daily.
2. Rob Neilson’s YouTube Channel
This channel presents a playlist of 20 American Sign Language lessons that are no longer than 15 minutes each. While not as in-depth as Lifeprint Lessons, Rob’s videos are topic specific, such as family and holiday topics, and also the occasional joke.
He also has a disclaimer to those looking to learn ASL, as many of the videos on YouTube contain unintentional inaccuracies that sometimes distort translations.
There are also many apps which are intended to help the budding American Sign Language speaker get started. As with most apps, many of these are free to try with the option of unlocking more features for a small fee.
3. ASL Coach
ASL Coach is available on iTunes, and offers illustrations showing the letters of the alphabet in American Sign Language. As you play (yes, it’s a game), you may increase the speed of the flashcards to build muscle memory and dexterity. For only $.99, you can purchase the full version, which gives users more options for the game.
4. Marlee Signs
This one is an app featuring Marlee Matlin, an award-winning actress who is also deaf. The app includes instructions on the alphabet and basic phrases and common expressions through videos created by Matlin herself.
There is also an option to slow the video down for pinpoint accuracy, and you can download a variety of lesson packs for just $1.99 each.
The web provides a variety of sites dedicated to teaching American Sign Language as well. Many are free to use, while some offer trial periods and lesson snippets for you to check out before you purchase the entire package.
5. ASL Pro
This website provides an assortment of activities for anyone wanting to learn American Sign Language. The website boasts dictionaries, lessons and quizzes, games, and songs, as well as a variety of videos to learn from.
The site has recently been updated for use on mobile phones and tablets as well. You can use the service for free, as long as you are willing to sign up. You may also donate to the service via Paypal and credit card.
Curious.com offers four American Sign Language lessons and also contains various other instructional resources. Users are free to sample the material, which includes videos, activities, and assignments at the beginner level.
You can sign into the site via Facebook or email. But to get the full extent of the lessons, you must sign up for Curious Plus for a monthly fee. However, this gives you access to not just these lessons, but to everything else Curious has to offer.
7. Start ASL
This incredible site is a vast resource for all things related to American Sign Language. Start ASL offers lessons divided into units, along with workbook activities for each. Lessons are provided for a variety of age groups, beginning at the infant level.
Start ASL also provides historical information regarding American sign language, as well as support and resources for the deaf community. Users may also donate to this website via credit card.
Schools and Universities
There are many colleges throughout the country for those looking to make a career out of their use and love of American Sign Language.
According to Niche, the top ranked schools offering Associate’s Degrees in ASL are:
– Grassmont College in El Cajon, CA
– Antelope Valley College in Lancaster, CA
– Vincennes University in Vincennes, IN
– Sierra College in Rocklin, CA
– Crafton Hils College in Yucaipa, CA
Students working toward a Bachelor’s Degree can choose from many other institutions, including:
– Gallaudet Universit in Washington, DC
– Utah Valley University in Orem, UT
– Madonna University in Livonia, MI
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