If you are looking for resources that will help you to learn sign language, you came to the right place. American Sign Language (ASL) is a visual language that is largely used by the deaf community as well as those who have other forms of communication challenges, and there are numerous ways to learn it. From free online lessons to video tutorials, a world of possibilities is open for those aspiring to learn this unique form of communication.
American Sign Language is recognized as the preferred language of deaf individuals in the United States and even Canada, making the language a critical part of the deaf community. Many people choose to also learn ASL as a way of communicating with deaf individuals and others with communication problems. Others choose to learn it in order to become a sign language interpreter. Like any language, learning sign language requires a lot of study and practice. Below we have compiled several resources that will help you during your quest to learn American Sign Language.
General Information about ASL & Deaf Culture
Here are a few website resources that will provide more information on American Sign Language including the different aspects of the language and the overall culture of the sign language community:
- National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD): The official website of the division the National Institute of Health (NIH) that deals specifically with hearing impairments. The division is called the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), and the site features loads of ASL resources, the latest on related funding and research, and many more valuable information assets for those affected by communication challenges, including:
- National Association of the Deaf: This organization offers an overview of ASL and covers quite a few issues in deaf community, including:
- Deaf Resource Library: Here you can find out some of the linguistics involved with ASL and read about the best ways to learn the language.
Learning American Sign Language (ASL) Online
ASL is a visual language. Since it is a language based on hand gestures, body movements, and facial expressions, it cannot be easily learned simply by reading books and completing language worksheets. As you learn the basics of ASL, you must watch and learn the movements and practice them as you go. There are many online resources available that are designed to help people learn ASL by offering videos and animations designed to make learning this visual language much easier. Here are few of those aforementioned online resources:
- American Sign Language University (ASLU): This is resource site for both ASL students and teachers. Here you will find information, resources and so much more to help you learn ASL and improve your signing, including:
- Start ASL – FREE Online Sign Language Classes: Here you can take FREE online classes to help learn American Sign Language including online workbooks, a dictionary with videos and an alphabet, and so much more. In addition, the site offers up background sections on the history of ASL and deaf culture, making your lessons well-rounded.
- Curious.com: You can sign in with Facebook or email to use Curious’ services. This educational site has a detailed set of FREE videos showing how to sign simple things, such as greetings and introductions. NOTE: Paid lessons are also available.
- School of Sign Language: This site contains various resources and learning aids to help you learn sign language including FREE videos to learn common signs and build your ASL skills. NOTE: Paid courses are also available.
- ASL Deafined: ASL Deafined is an interactive sign language website with lessons, games, activities, and a personalized progress chart. It has over 2,200 videos in the dictionary which continues to grow. NOTE: Both FREE & paid resources are available.
Sign Language Apps for Mobile Devices
Keep a sign language lesson with you at all times by downloading an app onto your smartphone or mobile device. These on-the-go lessons can help you stay refreshed on little things, like how to sign a certain number or letter.
- ASL Coach App (FREE): This is a FREE iOS app that is perfect for those who are just beginning. It will teach you to sign the alphabet and numbers one through nine. (Compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch)
- ASL: Fingerspelling (PAID): This app is a practice tool designed to help improve ability to read fingerspelling. Users can test on a variety of words and have the ability to choose the speed of fingerspelling. (Compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch)
- Marlee Signs (FREE): Oscar-winning deaf actress Marlee Matlin is also in on the app game. Marlee Signs is FREE for iOS and teaches the fundamentals of ASL, from the signed alphabet and basic vocabulary through common expressions in everyday life. Each lesson is broken down into individual videos so users can learn at their own pace. The app keeps track of completed lessons and features a “slow motion” setting to allow viewing in greater detail. (Compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch)
- Sign Language for Beginners (FREE): With this app, you can view simple illustrations that show you how to sign common letters, numbers and a few common words in American Sign Language. (Compatible with Android)
- My Smart Hands Baby Sign Language Dictionary (PAID): Created by the makers of My Smart Hands, an international baby sign language program with more than 150 instructors in more than 10 countries, this app features 45 minutes of instructional video from ASL instructor and My Smart Hands founder Laura Berg. (Compatible with Android, iPhone, iPad and iPod touch)
- Baby Sign Language Dictionary (PAID): This app includes 40 real-life signing video demonstrations to help you learn to sign with your baby. Each sign has a detailed video tutorial and is organized into categories such as action words, animals, daily routines and feelings. The app also comes with a fun interactive video quiz to help you learn and remember the signs. (Compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch)
“ATTENTION PARENTS” – ASL for Babies & Children
This section is for parents who decide to teach ASL or other forms of sign language to help their babies and young children communicate. This can help by giving them a way to express their needs and desires to parents. may also lead to other benefits for babies and children.
- Signing Time: Children can play games and learn songs to help make learning to sign language easier and fun.
- ASL Preschool: On this website, young children can learn ASL through the games and activities on this kid-friendly site.
- Sign Language for Kids: This website offers FREE videos and fun activities that will help kids learn sign language.
- Teach Your Child Sign Language: Learn more about some of the reasons for teaching a child sign language even if they are not hearing impaired.
- Teaching Your Baby Sign Language Can Benefit Both of You: Discover some of the benefits that come with teaching your baby or young child sign language.
- Sign Language and its Benefits for Hearing Children: Even hearing children can benefit from learning sign language, and this site outlines the many positive attributes.
With your quest to learn or teach sign language, we hope these sign language resources will help. Feel free to also check out our 8 Tips for Learning Sign Language. For more information or to speak with one of our hearing care professionals, contact us today!