Happy summer break from all of us in the Deaf Education program at TU!
All of our Deaf Ed students take American Sign Language as an essential part of their program, and we believed that ASL fluency is absolutely necessary for teachers of Deaf children. Many of our students have mentioned concerns about language loss during the summer months, so here are some suggestions to keep learning!
1. Get involved with a local organization that works with Deaf/Hard of Hearing individuals. (Here in Tulsa, there is TSHA – the Total Source for Hearing-Loss Access). Many of these organizations would love to have volunteers, and this is a great way to keep up signing as well as get involved with the Deaf Community!
2. Go to Deaf Events, even though you are not being forced to by your ASL class. All ASL classes require students to go to two or three Deaf events during the semester, but these are really the best way to improve your fluency, expand your vocabulary, and truly learn the grammar! Many cities host a Deaf Chat Coffee once a month, as well as Silent Dinners and Happy Hours – search online to find events near you!
3. Work with a local school! Many schools that serve Deaf/Hard of Hearing students have summer programming – these may be summer classes, summer camps, or family-centered activities. Schools may be looking for volunteers, or even paid paraprofessionals, to work during the summer months.
4. Use the internet! Although using ASL in the Deaf community, face-to-face, is ideal, you can always practice by watching videos online. Youtube.com has no shortage of videos featuring ASL, including ASL Comedians , ASL song interpretations (by talented Deaf performers!), and performances from ASL poets.
Don’t let the summer slow you down, students! Keep on learning, and feel free to add more suggestions for summer language learning in the comments!