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Signing ASL As A Second Language For Grandmothers

Updated on December 9, 2014

Toddler Basics

Children experience communication before they are born. The conversation continues throughout life.
Children experience communication before they are born. The conversation continues throughout life. | Source

Gradually Communicating with Deaf Children

The first thing I remind myself is communication is an ongoing lifelong process. We learn more each day as we interact with others. Learning a second language to communicate with our children or grandchildren can be an enjoyable and rewarding process. It can seem difficult to learn a new language when we are older, yet, it can be a breeze when we keep a few points in mind.

  • Begin learning as soon as possible,
  • Engage by learning together,
  • Take it day by day.

Begin at The Beginning

As with anything we learn it is wise to begin at the beginning. I have found a great online resource which offers video lessons to learn ASL (American Sign Language). ASL is the most recommended sign language in the United States.

Start with lesson one. As you move through each lesson you will be building upon previous lessons. The process of learning this way is remarkable.

Sometimes I was tempted to learn from a book. I recommend sign language books as a reference, however, it is a 3D language so it is difficult to learn correctly from a flat page in a book.

This is one of the videos in a series you can access online free.

Life Print & Bill Vicars

Identifying Non-Verbal Communication

As a grandmother I want to communicate with my grandchildren the way my grandmother communicated with me. I have learned and discovered how much of her impact on my life was non-verbal. This is great news! As a grandmother I desire to communicate:

  • Love and acceptance,
  • Wisdom I have learned about life, and
  • Encouragement to be consistent in striving to reach goals.

I recall feeling love, acceptance, and encouragement from my grandmother. She seemed to me the most encouraging of all the adults in my life. Today I realize being a grandmother has its unique place in a child's life. And I have identified what I want to communicate with my own grandchildren.

Why Are You Interested In Sign Language?

Do you know anyone who has hearing loss?

See results

Statistics According to National Institute on Deafness

The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) has published statistics to give us an idea how often people in our nation have hearing loss. The HIGHLIGHTS:

  • 17% of American adults report some kind of hearing loss.
  • The highest percentage of reported hearing loss (47%) is from adults 75 years old or older.
  • 2 or 3 of every 1000 children are born deaf or hard-of-hearing. 9 out of 10 of those children are born to hearing parents.

Find out more about the hearing statistics at

Hearing Parents of Deaf Children Introduced To Deaf Culture

"Nine out of every 10 children who are born deaf are born to parents who can hear."NIDCD
"Nine out of every 10 children who are born deaf are born to parents who can hear."NIDCD | Source

Sub Culture vs Medical Modality

Cultural View
Medical Model
Shared Language
Hearing Languages
Intercultural Neighborhoods
"People who feel being Deaf is about language and culture subscribe to the "Cultural View" People who feel that deafness is a problem to be solved subscribe to the "Medical View" Deaf Culture Norms, Beliefs, Values, and Mores (September 18, 2006) Wi

One Sense Lacking and The Others Enhanced

When I was a young mother my neighbor introduced herself to me and using sign language she communicated to me that she could not hear. This may have been the first time I had met anyone with hearing loss.

Over the years since then I have had the blessing of having children and adults in my life, my family, and co-workers, who continued to help me to develop an understanding as well as an elementary ability to communicate in Sign (SEE, ASL). I have learned two versions of sign language in my lifetime. Today I study ASL and am unlearning SEE (Signing Exact English).

I have learned, as a caretaker of deaf children, there are myths about deafness.

A few of these if believed can deny crucial services. The biggest obstacle I encountered was to appeal to the school to challenge a child with profound hearing loss.

They were convinced he couldn't be taught. I was convinced he was brilliant. So after a long term process of getting testing, testing, analysis, and determination, he was put into a gifted children's program with a sign language interpreter by his side.

People Interact Communities Flourish

I know many people who participate in dear culture. The are a combination of hearing impaired, deaf, and hearing people who have countless reasons they want to be a vital participant in the community.

My own reason is I have two deaf granddaughters.

100 Basic Signs by Life Print Bill Vicars

I Hope They Dance: Children And The Humanities
I Hope They Dance: Children And The Humanities | Source

© 2014 Deb Bryan

Do You, or Are You Learning, Sign Language?

Submit a Comment

  • GypsyOwl profile image

    Deb Bryan 3 years ago from Chico California

    Hi Cari. Good for you!! I am amazed how many people use the infant sign language now. I love it!!!! I believe most of us have or will have the opportunity to use ASL so it is a fun language to learn. Did you find the free classes on my page. I hope I remembered to put them there. Thanks so much for sharing your story and for dropping by my hub. Have a lovely weekend, Deb

  • Cari Kay 11 profile image

    Kay 3 years ago

    I taught my son infant sign language (ASL) just so we could communicate before he could talk. I remember being so amazed at what he could tell me before he was one or two. I really wish we'd kept it up and I would just love to take a class in ASL because we do have members in our church who communicate via sign language.

  • GypsyOwl profile image

    Deb Bryan 3 years ago from Chico California

    Thank you, Ms Dora. Being a Grandmother is a double blessing as I watch my children being parents I am overwhelmingly proud of. And, this is a time for a different kind of learning; a spiritual journey.

  • MsDora profile image

    Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

    Deb, the statistics are on your side. We never know when we will need this valuable skill. Thanks for sharing your insights on this issue.