April was National Deaf History Month and even though we’re a few days late, we thought it was so important we didn’t want to wait to share this with you!
It’s fun to think about different ways we can integrate American Sign Language (ASL) into our everyday lives seamlessly. In fact, many of you may already be doing so without realizing. There are quite a few ASL signs that are similar, if not the same hand gestures we use to communicate on a daily basis.
We often ask people what time it is by pointing to our wrists, which represents a watch, and using a questioning look to signify our curiosity about the time. The American Sign Language sign for “time” is very similar:
Another example is the sign for food (as shown below). We sometimes make a gesture where we look like we are eating something to show that we are hungry or to ask if people might want food.
Although ASL may seem simple, it is quite complex. It is after all, a language with lots of vocabulary and grammar that requires you to pay attention and look very closely at what a person is saying to you. There are a lot of subtleties that lie within it. ASL is not just about doing the sign, but about your whole body language; how you use your face, the directionality of your positioning, your eye contact, the movement and whole use of your body and more. In order to reveal the true meaning behind people’s signs, it is imperative that you focus and notice different cues the person may be giving you, which can take a lot of patience and concentration.
Here are some signs that you can teach your kids from infancy that are quite useful and fun. A quick and easy way to say you are thirsty:
or sign to a teacher or parent that you have to use the restroom:
Two ways to show your appreciation for someone special in your life:
A nice way of asking for something or a way to express how you are feeling at the moment:
Two ways of showing someone what they mean to you:
The alphabet is a great place to start, as well as learning some basic, fundamental signs as I’ve shown above. There is also a rich history and culture within ASL that is something to be honored and explored too! Learn more at the National Association of the Deaf website or your local library.
Signing off with love,
Credit to: https://giphy.com/signwithrobert from Sign With Robert