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Conversational Sign Language

Attendees will learn how to communicate with a deaf person about everyday topics. The class will begin with learning the alphabet because most all the hand positions in American Sign Language are based on the letters. From there we will learn how to introduce ourselves, give directions, talk about the weather, our families, how to communicate an emergency or in an emergency. A deaf individual from our community will visit the class and talk a little about deaf culture, how to get the attention of a deaf person and other tips and tricks to make American Sign Language an everyday part of life. One of my favorite ASL facts is that babies can begin to learn ASL at 6 months old. This is because fine motor skills have not yet developed, but gross motor skills are developing and much easier to make movements instead of form words. I find this is fascinating because at the beginning and end of our lives our gross motor skills are what we rely on most, so we can typically communicate as early as 6 months and on through our whole lives!


American Sign Language was introduced to me 20 years ago. I became fluent in just 6 short months after being introduced and within those 6 months I found myself interpreting for a deaf couple that needed help with food stamps. I interpreted the conversation between the deaf customers and the cashier and a moment later someone tapped me on the shoulder. In sign language, she asked 'are you hearing or deaf?' I said I was hearing and the woman told me that there is a serious need for interpreters in Rockingham County and Harrisonburg City Schools. She gave me her contact information as a teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing and I went home to think about it more. I was a Business and Marketing major in college so I thought about how interpreting might help me pay for school. I interviewed with Rockingham County Public Schools, was immediately hired, and changed my schedule to take classes at night and interpret all my former High School! After 3 years of working in education I was encouraged to become a Certified Interpreter. I went to Richmond to take a written assessment and got 100%. It was then I knew that I really had a special place in my life for ASL. In 2007 I saw an interpreter job listing at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington DC. I thought it would be great for my interviewing skills so I interviewed in front of a panel of Deaf Interpreters, Deaf Consumers, Doctors, Patient Advocacy Staff, and many multi-lingual individuals. I went home feeling like it was a great experience and within 24 hours I got a call telling me that Georgetown would be honored to have an on-call interpreter with my skill set! I hopped around DC quite a bit for 6 years, there was a need there too, and I interpreted for Office of Personnel Management, FEMA, Nuclear Regulatory Committee, Bureau of Prisons, Johns Hopkins, George Mason, US Geological Survey and more! I have since moved back to the Shenandoah Valley as a freelance interpreter.

Please contact our office regarding availability of this course: