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    I Tried To Learn American Sign Language In 60 Days For My Son

    Turns out you CAN teach an old mom new tricks.

    Hi. I'm Ali and this is my son, Rafael.

    When Rafael was six weeks old, we discovered that he has Profound Unilateral Hearing Loss. He is completely deaf in his right ear and has average/normal hearing in his left ear.

    Rafael is just over a year old now, and is quite verbal. Even though he can repeat words and sounds — and loves music — it's important to me to give him access to ASL at an early age.

    So, I decided to try to learn as much ASL as I could in 60 days.

    I started by taking online lessons. I studied and practiced for at least an hour every day.

    The online lessons helped me begin to build my vocabulary, but since ASL is such an interactive and interpretive language, I really wanted to work with a tutor, to get that one-on-one language immersion. And that's when I found Loni!

    On occasion, Loni did write out some lessons for me — not as a shortcut to communication, but to introduce me to the difference between spoken/written English and "ASL gloss," a way of writing out the syntax of ASL.

    Although I found the use of flash cards and online videos to be really useful, I can't stress enough how helpful it was working face-to-face with a tutor.

    I felt very grateful for the opportunity to have that face-to-face connection and true immersion into the language and Deaf culture. My grammar and expressions were improving and I was finding myself having actual conversations with Loni!

    There were definitely times I got frustrated and overwhelmed. But then I would see my son do the sign for "more" and it just kept fueling me forward.

    I've gotten to a point where I find myself practicing even when I don't realize I'm doing it — like fingerspelling any time I hear a name in a movie. And I'm also consciously finding ways to use signs every day.

    Over the course of the two months I learned a lot.

    Even though I know I have a very long way to go to become fluent, it's important to me and I'm so excited to keep going!

    You can watch my whole journey (so far) below!

    View this video on YouTube

    If you're looking to learn ASL, here are a couple free online resources:


    ASL Nook