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There is a common perception that learning sign language is difficult. In a way, this is both true and not true. Learning how to sign depends largely on what type of sign language you are trying to master.
Whether you are a hard of hearing student or a family member who wish to learn sign language, the first thing you need to decide on is choosing which sign language to study. In most instances, this will most likely be based on where you live and what verbal language is spoken in your community.
Hand signs can vary based on the type of sign language being used. The most common examples of sign language are American Sign Language (ASL) and British Sign Language (BSL). Various other sign languages are also used, which are based on the spoken language of a particular region or country.
In general, sign language is grouped into three sections :
Deaf sign languages: The preferred languages of Deaf communities around the world; including village sign languages, shared with the hearing community, and Deaf-community sign languages
Auxiliary sign languages: Sign systems used alongside oral, spoken languages.
Signed modes of spoken languages, or manually coded languages: Used to bridge signed and spoken languages.
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How Can You Learn Sign Language?
In Deaf communities, Deaf education, and special education, sign language is one of the primary tools used for learning and communication. For family members, knowing how to sign creates better understanding and communication within the household.
Sign language consists of hand movements, hand shapes, lip patterns, and facial expressions to convey a message. While it may seem complicated at first glance, there are several ways by which students can master sign language.
- Taking a sign language class. This is a good way for Deaf students and even individuals of normal hearing to learn how to sign. Classes are typically offered in educational centers or community colleges. Going to a sign language is a great opportunity for hard of hearing students to see the signs used in actual conversation.
- Watching videos online. Learning sign or other languages has become easier with the wide number of available resources online. Watching videos or shows online is free and easy to access and can help you improve your sign language skills.
- Tutoring sessions with a private, qualified professional sign language tutor. A private tutoring session is the best way for Deaf students or hard of hearing students to learn sign language. With private tutoring from a deaf and hard of hearing tutor, students receive the focus, flexibility, and attention they need to understand and learn sign language quickly.
OUR COACH EFFIE
Effie is a New York State licensed Deaf and Hard of Hearing tutor. She holds a dual certification in childhood education and deaf and hard of hearing education. Effie has always had a passion for working with kids, beginning as a teenager when she started babysitting and tutoring children of all ages. She decided to take that passion and become a teacher. Effie chose American Sign Language as her language course when pursuing her teaching degree.
During this course, Effie had to fully immerse herself within the Deaf community, and she fell in love with this beautiful language and all the people she met along the way. She decided to take both of her passions and become a teacher for children who are deaf and hard of hearing.
Effie received her Bachelor’s Degree in Education with a minor in American Sign Language. She also attended the Seymour Joseph Institute of American Sign Language and received her certificate as an ASL interpreter. She went on to get her Masters in Deaf and Hard of Hearing Education.
Effie currently works at New York School for the Deaf as an elementary school teacher. She offers services to deaf or hard of hearing children up to four years of age, helping them develop fundamental learning skills prior to entering school. Many parents who find out their child is deaf or hard of hearing worry about how they will communicate with their child. Effie offers services providing American Sign Language to both the parents and child to help fill that communication gap and assist students to begin effectively communicating through sign language.