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Sunday, October 23, 2011

October is Disability Employment Awareness Month - American Sign Language (ASL) Facts



American Sign Language (ASL) Facts

• In 1817 the first free school for the deaf was founded in Hartford, Connecticut by Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet and Laurent Clerc.
• A curious fact is ASL came from the Old French Sign Language (OFSL). The British sign language is very different.
• Gallaudet University, located in Washington, D.C., is the first and only deaf university in the world.

Did you know babies can be taught to communicate with sign before they are able to speak?

At times people have been afraid to teach their babies to sign out of fear it would delay the baby’s verbal development, but studies have shown this is untrue. In fact increased cognitive skills and vocabulary are the result.



Did you know that American Sign Language has been used to teach primates to communicate?

Project Washoe http://www.friendsofwashoe.org/

In 1966 the project attempted to teach a chimpanzee to ask questions in ASL, to understand and interact with her environment using language. Raised like a member of a family in a trailer with a refrigerator, bed, clothes, etc. Everyone communicated with her through sign language. She learned 350 words and taught other chimps to speak ASL.



Koko http://www.koko.org/index.php

Koko is a gorilla who learned in over of 1,000 signs based on ASL. There is some disagreement about whether she truly understands language and uses it to express herself or only uses it based on a “reward response.” Her trainer insists she uses ASL to express herself and has created unique word combinations without any reward.



ASL FUN

Go to http://www.start-american-sign-language.com/american-sign-language-alphabet.html

• Have students learn to spell their name.
• Play a game. Sign the spelling of objects, words, animals, people’s names, letters, etc. Challenge children to guess.
• Teach children the ABC song



REFERENCES

American Sign Language Browser
http://commtechlab.msu.edu/sites/aslweb/browser.htm

Baby Sign Language
http://www.babysignlanguage.com/

eHow
“About Monkeys Learning Sign Language”
http://www.ehow.com/about_5436028_monkeys-learning-sign-language.html

Friends of Washoe
http://www.friendsofwashoe.org/

HANDSPEAK.COM
http://handspeak.com/

Koko’s World
http://www.koko.org/index.php

NIDCD National Institute on Deafness and other Communicative Disorders
American Sign Language
http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/pages/asl.aspx

The Andy and Spirit series by Mary Jean Kelso and illustrated by K.C. Snider, and Signs of Trouble by Janet Ann Collins and illustrated by Jack Foster, are Guardian Angel Publishing books that recognize the social and cultural contributions made by people with disabilities.

Visit our website at http://guardianangelpublishing.com/ to learn more about these and other GAP books.



J. Aday Kennedy, the differently-abled writer, & speaker is an award winning multi-published author of inspirational/Christian pieces and of children’s literature. Nine picture books are under contract eagerly awaiting publication with Guardian Angel Publishing.

She is a ventilator dependent quadriplegic making her dreams come true one story at a time. As a speaker, Aday entertains, instructs, motivates and inspires audiences of all ages. For children's book reviews, research posts, and jokes visit Brain Fart Explosion, a blog for kids, teachers and parents.

Visit J. Aday online at http://www.blogger.com/www.jadaykennedy.com

1 comment:

Janet Ann Collins said...

When my daughter was born we had deaf foster kids so she started using signs at about 7 months old. Being able to ask for what she wanted motivated her to also learn English. By one year old she knew about 30 words and signs and by 18 months she could say anything. We also had a deaf dog who understood over 300 signs and taught us about 30 'signs' or gestures dogs use to communicate. I once met Koko.

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