American Sign Language (ASL) is a visual-gestural language created and used by over 2 million d/Deaf and Hard of Hearing Canadians and Americans of all ages. Statistics Canada states that over 1.3 million Canadians aged 15 years and over have a hearing loss. Of those 1.3 million people, over 350,000 people are profoundly deaf. Many d/Deaf and Hard of Hearing Canadians use ASL to communicate in their daily lives.
ASL Classes provide a structured environment for students to learn ASL from professional ASL Instructors. The ASL Classes at SDHHS use the Signing Naturally curriculum to help you understand how ASL works and to learn how to sign confidently. This allows you to feel comfortable communicating in the d/Deaf and Hard of Hearing community ASL users.
What is meant by visual? Since ASL uses body movements instead of sounds, individuals receiving information use their eyes instead of their ears to understand what is being said. Because all linguistic information must be received through the eyes, the language is structured to fit the needs and capabilities of the eyes. In other words, ASL has its own grammatical rules.
What is meant by gestural? The units of ASL are composed of specific movements, expressions, and shapes of the hands, arms, eyes, face, head and body posture. These movements or gestures serve as the ‘words’ or ‘phrases’ and ‘intonation’ of the language.
There is no specific timeline to learn ASL. ASL is like any other language and is constantly evolving with changing signs and new vocabulary. SDHHS provides three different ASL levels. Based on the Signing Naturally curriculum, all courses are approximately 40 hours over the course of 12 to 15 weeks.