Sign Language Advocate

People generally do not work towards a goal until they see that there is a need or value for their time and effort to reach that goal. By the time you recognize the need it may be too late for you to be your best at it. Recently I have found the need, the value and the joy of sign language. I may not be good at it yet but the journey to learn is amazing.

You do not have to be deaf to learn sign language but you might have a hard time finding a place to learn and practice.

You might have found this site through my card or have been referred by someone. Either way welcome.

Since my hearing loss in 2016 I have been on a fabulous journey. It is my vision to help bridge the gap between those who want to learn sign and those who can communicate through sign language. May be even develop a network of people that want to practice or can advocate for sign language.

I myself cannot teach sign. I do not have the experience needed for that. I also have no formal educational training in sign language.

What I do have is my own experience of loosing my hearing, my passion for learning sign language and sharing sign language with others.

Sometimes that is through film, showing someone where they can learn, political activities, demonstrations or even sometimes just meeting with someone that is learning but has no one to practice with.

Just for the record I don’t refer my self as an advocate of ASL because my signing is a very rudimentary version of ASL. I also have met many wonderful signers that have there own roots in different versions of sign language. There are more than 130 different sign languages around the world. I my self have seen close to a dozen with out even leaving Canada. My favourite signing is tactile sign language I hope to try to learn that soon as well.

My History: Most of my life all I knew was a hearing world. My friends, family co-workers were almost all hearing. In April 2016 I lost most of my hearing over night. I will never find out exactly what happened because there is limited knowledge about sudden sensinural hearing loss and only speculations of what may have happened. I also won’t go into it here but feel free to check out my other blogs if your interested.

I was never directed to any one that could teach me sign or even if that option was available locally.

I had thought about sign language but could only find an online course from www.lifeprint.com. If your looking to start learning ASL(American Sign Language) this is an awesome place to start. The courses are great and free but I am a very slow learner and was only getting book smart. I had no way of knowing what I was signing was actually what they were trying to teach.

There are a few collage courses in my area but I could not afford tuition books or the time off work to go. If time and money was not issues I would defiantly get myself enrolled.

I got lucky and found a night course through a local chapter of The Hard of Hear Foundation of Canada www.chha.com. It is a 10 week introduction to ASL…Level A. It was around $10 per night so I could afford it. And since it was a night course I did not have to take any time off work. The course is not accredited but I found it to be very helpful. I was able to better understand what I was learning on line. I looked forward to the second level of ASL training. For what ever reason I could not attend or they did not get the chance to offer the level B training that year.

When the same Level A course became available the next year I jumped at the chance to take it again and it was well worth it. The second time I took it my teacher encouraged me to go to a Deaf social. I had no idea what to expect and since I did not know anyone I procrastinated and practiced for a few weeks. Where I live there is a relatively small Deaf community but I consider myself very lucky to have anyone that can sign with. There is a community hall that is shared by different Deaf agencies in the area. This is where the socials are held. Usually on a Friday but closed most of the summer.

My first Deaf social. Most of the people I practice with will not go to a Deaf social. It can be very intimidating to someone that thinks they are not ready. I can relate. My first one I went to was very small. There was a volley ball tournament on so there were only 3 people there….The manager, bartender and custodian. I was able to put together some signs and we also used paper when I asked them how to sign different things. My finger spelling was ummmm bad…really really bad then. Over all I did learn that I had to practice my family story as they were very interested in who I was, where I came from…that kind of thing.

It took me a month to get up the courage to go again. For me I was still very intimidated by the whole experience. This time there was more people at the social. I had practiced how to tell my story more and told it over and over again all night. I have been attending when I can ever since.

A few months later I was able to take a level B ASL course and then an extended course. With this group I mad many long lasting friends. We started a private face book page and even met up for practice every couple of months. Between the extra coursed and socials I have become more comfortable communicating in a signing environment.

August 2018 I got a chance to sign in a music video. I jumped at the chance. It was so exciting being a part of a project that can inspire others to learn sign language. Since then I have done what I could to excite other to learn sign.

Since that time I have joined a Deaf darts team who help me learn every week. I take classes at night or camps during the summer when I can afford it. I offer my self up as a signing friend when ever and how ever I can. I have even done a few film projects that include my signing.

If you want to really learn sign language ASL, LSQ, ISL, SEE, BSL, JSL, PSL, TSL or many more I may just know people that can help you. I have friends in remote areas that have no access to sign language except through books or the internet. I am happy to meet them anytime for a little practice when there in town.

If your looking for a way to enhance your film projects with sign language I have people that can help with that as well.

There are many ways to learn sign you may just not know about them yet.

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