Ask a Hearing Technology Expert: Where Can I Practice My Sign Language?

May 1, 2016 1:54 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Whether you have recently come to terms with being deaf or hard of hearing yourself, have a close friend or family member who is going through that experience or are just studying American Sign Language in school, learning ASL is always a challenge. Fortunately, taking advantage of every opportunity you have to practice with fellow ASL speakers can make the learning process a lot easier.

Unless you are already part of a thriving deaf and hard or hearing community, however, finding people to practice with can be difficult. To that end, here is some advice on where to practice your sign language, from your experts in hearing technology in Salinas:

  • Local clubs: Most communities have special clubs, organizations or societies specifically open to the deaf, hard of hearing and their ASL-speaking friends and family members. You might understandably be nervous to attend a meeting as someone who is still learning ASL, but keep in mind that most deaf and hard of hearing people have plenty of experience communicating with novices. In fact, some deaf and hard of hearing ASL speakers also had to learn the language as adults!
  • “Deaf days”: Deaf and hard of hearing days are becoming increasingly popular events for amusement parks, sports arenas and other entertainment venues. In fact, the annual Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Deaf Fest Event takes place right across the Bay from us! Take advantage of this opportunity to practice your ASL in a fun, low-pressure environment. And of course, be sure to bring along any fellow ASL speakers in your life.
  • Schools: Does your community have a local school for the deaf and hard of hearing? If so, you might be able to practice your ASL by securing a volunteer position at the school, or a least attending an open house or two. Just remember that the school is first and foremost a place for students to learn, so you should be fairly confident in your ASL skills before attempting to become a part of the school community.
  • Volunteering: A school for the deaf and hard of hearing is not the only place where you can volunteer. There are plenty of organizations out there that provide hearing aids, ASL lessons and other resources for those who cannot otherwise afford them. By volunteering, you will be helping the deaf community and getting a chance to practice your own skills.
  • Online: Finally, finding people who share a particular passion or interest is now easier than ever, thanks to the Internet. You can find ASL speakers who live all over the country, and trade tips and tricks for how to improve your skills. Once you get to know fellow online community members, you might even be able to set up a weekly video chat where you can further practice your ASL.

Wherever you practice your ASL skills, it is important to always make sure you or your loved one has the resources they need. For more information, get in touch with Valley Hearing Center, your source for hearing technology in Salinas.

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