I want to learn ASL….NOW!

Last night at ASL class one of the students won all the “games” by figuring out all the communications by the teacher the fastest and signing it back to him rapid fire.  She is a very pretty young gal who works with a deaf child client at a local, private children’s service agency.  This gal is a ball of fire and she let it be known that she wants to have learning ASL be like pushing a button on a wall and getting it ALL. RIGHT NOW!  Dammit…

I empathize. I want it all and I want it all right now. I merely know I can’t have it all right now. I find myself flowing far more easily than I did at the start of last summer.  I go to an ASL meetup now in addition to class and that really helps.  The reality is that my receptive skills are better than my expressive ones.

Looked into classes at the local college.  $500!  Wowsa!  That’s $300 more than I am paying now!  Hey, I’m old, I get a discount, right?  Yeah, you bet – $75.  Wow! Don’t bowl me over there.

At present this graphic pretty much describes me.  When you least expect it I’ll start signing while I’m talking and I won’t even know I’m doing it.  Then I don’t seem to be able to stop.  And if I don’t know the right sign I’m finger spelling it.

So if you see this lady with curly red-blond hair waiting for a bus and she’s got her nose in a book and is making strange gestures … it just might be me, trying to get it all – NOW.



  1. You know, it actually makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside to know I’m not the only one who learns ASL slowly… for myself I learn much more slowly than others. I’m the opposite of you though… my brain has sooooooo much trouble processing signs (or dance moves. Or anything else requiring me to see what someone else does and then try to do the same.) but making them myself is easy peasy. Learning, however, has been a study in frustration and humiliation. I hate learning languages in a classroom anyway (3 years of French classes, and I know almost nothing. 9 months learning Spanish from friends? I learned a ton and can have conversations with Spanish speakers about most subjects.) but learning ASL was especially painful. I always hope I’ll somehow make a deaf friend and learn that way… but interestingly, one of my classmates is hearing and knows sign language, so I’m planning to beg her to teach me. LOL maybe one-on-one will help?

    1. ASL is a language that actually makes sense to me in most cases. It is a 3-D language, a language that comes alive with the face and body motions to support it. My classes are at Deaf Inc and the teachers are Deaf so that makes a big difference. Voices off when you come in the building and not back on until you leave. My receptive skills are better than my expressive ones, but that is because I don’t yet think in ASL. At least, not most of the time. Learning something like Spanish? How do you learn something you can’t really hear? I am lucky I know English. If you want to sign with others then seek out a meet-up in your area. If there isn’t one, consider starting one. If you host it they will come. 🙂 My Thursday night meetup just had a pot luck and we also are regularly visited by Deaf members of the community as well as Hard of Hearing and hearing persons who want to learn ASL. One of our members is so orally focused he has a hard time with sign and is looking into a CI – which would be the best option for him. As for me, I feel as if I learn everything slowly, but when I’ve got it I’ve really got it.

      1. I looked into ASL classes here, but the nearest ones are an hour and a half drive… not an option for me right now. I’m like you… I learn languages more slowly than others, but when I learn something I remember it forever. How do you find a meetup? Sounds like a great idea!

      2. Meetups? http://meetup.com I don’t know where you live, but there seem to be meetups all over. There are also many other options. Lifeprint.com has free video lessons and you could pay for online classes from him. There is also Everyday ASL which has DVDs and iPhone and iPad apps (the apps are much less expensive) that can take you from zero to Interpreter. There’s ASLPro and also Signing Savvy, which is very good but a paid subscripting for the entire program. I have 16 DVDs from Everyday ASL, a DVD from Lifeprint and have apps on the iPad and iPhone. I went to a Wed night meet up and then people needed Thurs because they were starting a Wed class schedule so i started a Thurs one. There are meetups for ASL all over the place – Nashua, NH, Boston, MA, Peabody, MA, etc. If you are in social work school my bet is that there is an ASL class somewhere around you. Where is the local school for the deaf in your state?

      3. Well, there are not any meetups in my area… and the closest classes are in Indianapolis, at the school for the deaf here. And of course, their classes started last week. LOL (Irony.) I think I will ask my social work professors if they know of any classes, or call the library. Or ask my Aunt Martha… she works at the local high school and seems to know everything. Thanks for getting my brain working harder… LOL

        The different dvds sound like a great start… since lifeprint is free, I’ll probably start with that and see how it goes. I’ll keep you updated! 🙂

      4. It is possible there are ASL classes at the local high school. You can sign up for Everyday ASL on Facebook and get some free lessons. You can search other sites as well too – they almost all have some free stuff. Apps for smart phones are very low cost. You could float starting an ASL meetup. Many libraries have baby ASL DVDs for rent (it is a start).

      5. So I went through the sites you suggested… wow! Very cool!!!!! I like the ASLPro and Signing Savvy sites… I haven’t worked on finding ASL classes around here yet (spent the day sleeping and doing homework lol) but hope to do some asking around tomorrow and Wednesday. For now the videos will rock… I like to be ahead of the class in language classes, so my anxiety is less of a problem. It’s hard to be anxious when you feel confident in what you know, ya know? lol

        Thanks for all of the links!!!!

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