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Watch: How to learn American Sign Language

Phonak hEARo Jessica Flores shares her best tips to learn American Sign Language in her latest video.

According to research from Gallaudet University, there are about 1 million deaf people in the United States. American Sign Language is the native language for many Deaf people, so there are so many people to communicate with using sign language! Open yourself up to a new language by following these tips that Jessica shares with us.

How you can learn American Sign Language

Ditch the excuses and start learning ASL!

#1 Learn the ASL Alphabet

Learning a new language can be overwhelming, so Jessica suggests starting with the very basics. In ASL, that would mean learning the alphabet. There are many resources online to learn the ASL alphabet including, videos, photos, and websites

Jessica also gives advice for practicing the alphabet. “When it comes to practicing the alphabet, fingerspell everything around you,” she says. “EVERYTHING!”

Read more: Why I’m learning sign language, as an “oral” profoundly-deaf(ie)

#2 Find free ASL lessons online

There are many resources out there to learn ASL. Jessica recommends YouTuber Bill Vicars. The free ASL lessons that he offers online includes other ASL students, a great way to learn from the mistakes of others that are learning just as you are. As Jessica points out, just watching one 30-40 minute video a week can make a difference when it comes to learning the language. 

It can be hard to memorize signs when you are just learning, so it helps to practice the signs you do know. Repetition is key to remembering.

This is how Jessica practiced her signs when she first starting learning ASL, “I would do this [practice signs] by signing the words I learned when I said them or somebody else said them,” Jessica says. “I also would sign the words when I saw it anywhere or if I read it anywhere.”

Read more: How to learn sign language

#3 Find online ASL content

Thanks to the internet, Deaf and hard of hearing people are creating lots of content to spread awareness about Deaf culture and sign language! The more you surround yourself with the language you are trying to learn, the more immersed you become making it easier to learn more signs. 

#4 Meet other ASL Signers

Again, the internet is great because it can connect us in so many ways. Look online for local Deaf groups to practice sign language. Or connect with someone in the HearingLikeMe community to learn sign language. When Phonak hEARo DJ Demers was learning sign language on the Here to Hear Tour, he just used video calls to practice his sign language with various people in the community. 

Now that you have the resources, take your first step to learning American Sign Language today!

Thanks to Jessica for making awesome content. Support her by subscribing to her YouTube channel and watching more of her videos!

Author Details
The HearingLikeMe editorial team includes Jill Blocker von Bueren and Lisa Goldstein.