Not enough families are learning how to communicate with their kids.
According to Gallaudet research, 90% of children who are deaf are born into hearing families and of those 90% of hearing parents only 23% of them learn American Sign Language. This leaves 77% of children who are deaf in isolation within their home. Imagine spending every day in your home in silence. Looking around the room and seeing everyone smiling, laughing, crying, angry, but having no understand of why. Imagine not having a way to tell your mom you are hungry or hurting or if you have to use the restroom. Imagine not being able to bond with your siblings because you can’t talk to them. Children in this situation can feel isolated, frustrated, and often depressed.
This will also result in an academic delay. When a child who has never been exposed to language arrives in the school system it is the first time they are exposed to any language. They have to start with the basics; the alphabet, colors, numbers and just understanding that everything around them has a name, even they do! It takes them years to catch up on basic language skills so these children spend most of their time academically behind and often have to repeat early grade levels for their basic language skills to develop.
So why do many parents not learn sign language? Often it is a matter of resources, time, money, or parents feeling overwhelmed with learning a new language. It’s not that they don’t want to learn, it’s just difficult to figure out where to begin.
However, these days there are plenty of resources that are available and free. There are organization that teach sign language classes to parents, computer classes, and even phone apps. Here is a list of wonderful resources to help parents not only learn sign language but connect with the deaf community!
Bridges-Free sign classes for parents of deaf children, interpreting services, case management for deaf, youth program for deaf and hard of hearing children, events.
Hands and Voices– Support group for parents who have a child who is deaf or hard of hearing
Gate Communications– Sign language classes, interpreting services, events, workshops
Library Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing-Sign language books, videos and other resources. Click on “connect’ for a full list of resources.
Phone APPS for Iphone and Droid-
Sign Language dictionary ($4.99)
The ASL App
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