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In a message dated 3/20/2007 1:17:25 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, Mupid@gmx.at writes:
Dear Dr. Bill,
ASL is also used in varying degrees in Philippines, Ghana, Nigeria, Chad, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Zaire, Central African Republic, Cote d'Ivoire, Mauritania, Kenya, Madagascar, Benin, Togo, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong.
Source: Grimes, Barbara F. (editor), (1996). "Languages of USA" Ethnologue: Languages of the World, 13th Edition. Institute of Linguistics. Retrieved 10 May, 2001: <http://www.sil.org/ethnologue/countries/USA.html#ASE>
Since ASL use is widespread and becoming more widely used as time goes on it stands to reason that learning it could prove useful to you depending on what your future holds.
As to whether you will ever reach fluency in ASL or any other signed language that is simply a matter of how much time and effort you put into it. If you opportunities to use the language and take advantage of those opportunities then it is likely you will become fluent. If you have few or no opportunities to converse in sign language then it is likely that you won't become fluent. It is one of those "use it or lose it" situations.
In a message dated 5/2/2007 1:28:47 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time,
In a message dated 3/8/2007 8:55:50 P.M. Pacific Standard Time, itpro4470@ writes:
I am new to ASL.... I want to try an experiment but I am afraid of offending the Deaf community. To better understand being deaf, when I become good at signing, I'd like to wear earplugs for a certain period of time like a week or even a month. I am afraid of this being seen as mockery, distasteful or rude if it is I will not do this. Thank you for taking the time to read and answer my question.
I think whether or not you offend anyone will depend greatly on factors other than having ear plugs in your ears. There is a difference between "having ear plugs," and "announcing that you have ear plugs." Eventually someone will ask you why you are wearing ear plugs. Instead of "announcing" that you are doing an experiment, you can humbly state "plugs help me concentrate."
One of the problems with able-bodied people participating in "disabled for a day" (or a week) types of experiments is that such individuals lack the foundational skills to function as a person with a disability. For example, if you put an able bodied person in a wheelchair he or she will feel very awkward and will tend to experience extreme frustration when trying to get anywhere or do anything. This causes the able-bodied person to pity or feel sorry for individuals with disabilities. Worse, it causes the able-bodied person to underestimate the abilities of people with disabilities. Just because YOU can't get through a door in a wheelchair doesn't mean that a long-time user of a wheelchair can't. He or she has had practice, you haven't. An able bodied person tries it for a day and decides, "Oh those poor disabled people--we'd better put them all on welfare because they sure as heck can't function in society--I know because I was in a wheelchair for a day and I couldn't even get through a door." That's what you call "handicapping the disabled." My wife once dated a fellow who uses a wheelchair. When he got over to her apartment she felt embarrassed that she forgot to account for a short row of steps leading up to her apartment door. The fellow simply turned his wheelchair sideways and hopped up the stairs! (Apparently he was quite the athlete and regularly competed in various sporting events). I'm not saying that all wheelchair users can outrun speeding bullets and leap tall stairs in a single bound. I'm simply saying that able bodied people need to be very careful about making assumptions regarding the abilities of individuals with disabilities. My wife might have missed out on a great date and a new friend by making such assumptions.
If you were to have grown up Deaf you would have developed visual skills that you do not currently possess. Putting in a pair of ear plugs for a week or a month would cause you to experience the world of a "late deafened adult" -- not the world of a culturally Deaf person. Actually, if your hearing is pretty good, earplugs will, at best, only help you experience a "hard of hearing" existence--not a Deaf existence--since most ear plugs only block 30 or fewer decibels of sound.
Additionally, your experiment would likely lead to a misperception of the "Deaf experience" because in the back of your mind you know that you can "take out" the earplugs whenever you would like. Thus you lack the resolute acceptance of your condition experienced by someone who has been Deaf for many years and who plans on remaining Deaf until the day they die.
That being said, I'm all for experimentation and Hearing people trying to better understand people who are Deaf. So, by all means if you want to do such an experiment, have at it.
(Dr. V of Lifeprint.com)
p.s. Watch out for cars and other large moving objects.
In a message dated 3/9/2007 7:38:33 P.M. Pacific Standard Time,
In a message dated 5/21/2007 9:26:58 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, tntbros25@ writes:
There are other options than an "ASL" interpreter. Your friend could ask for RTC (real time captioning). The office for students with disabilities at your school can provide real time captioning. . You need to ask for a trained captionist or stenographer using a stenographic keyboard. Skilled captionists can transcribe at 225 words a minute. If you can't get a captionist then certainly you can get at least a fast typist and a laptop computer.
Regarding the college's assertion that the individual needs to know more ASL prior to having an interpreter, my question is, "How much more ASL?" What is the benchmark?
I would also ask, "What if Mike asked for an oral interpreter?" How about an oral interpreter who uses ASL signs in English word order while mouthing the words? Obviously your friend understands English well and thus "English" isn't the challenge. The problem is a hearing loss, not a lack of ability to use and understand English.
If Mike isn't currently a client of your state's division of rehabilitation services, he needs to check into it. "Rehab" can pay for special ASL tutoring if it is deemed beneficial in preparing Mike for gainful employment thus it is certainly worth checking into.
Follow up: In further conversations with Julz, as it turns out, Mike has only limited English skills as well. Thus there will be no quick and easy route to communication for him. Instead it is now a matter of increasing the amount and frequency of comprehensible language input. What I mean by that is--the more he studies and practices both English and ASL in an environment and through systems that allow him to control the pace of learning and challenge him at a level that is always just slightly ahead of his current abilities--the better he will become at both. Such activities will include attending Deaf events with a companion or friend who can "fill him in" on signs that he doesn't understand, taking progressively more challenging ASL and English classes, and keeping a dictionary nearby when he reads.
This rest of this email contains three items that are FYI only:
1. Information about a special 3-day ASL Immersion limited to approximately 10 participants.
2. Information about a week-long ASL Immersion near Lake Tahoe.
3. Information about a 2-week ASL Immersion at Sac State that provides 8 semester-credit-hours. (Accredited).
I hope things are going well for you and you are looking forward to a terrific summer!
William Vicars, Ed.D.
Director, ASL Online and Immersion Programs
California State University, Sacramento
Each year I invite a limited number of participants along on a no-voice trip to Disneyland or some other fun theme park for a day of fun, interaction, and accelerated ASL learning.
Here are the details for the 2007 trip:
Dates of event: June 19 - 21, 2007
Days of event: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday
Destination: Disneyland in Anaheim California
Mode of travel: Large passenger van
Modes of communication permitted: signing, writing, gesturing, miming, laughing, (Screaming is permitted on rides as long as you are not screaming intelligible words.)
Modes of communication NOT permitted: talking, whispering, exaggerated mouthing
Your contribution to the cost of the trip: $295.00
Includes: Two nights hotel accommodations, Disneyland ticket, transportation, and you may ask Dr. Bill an unlimited amount of ASL-related questions.
Accommodations: Hotel or motel, average of 4 persons to a room.
Food: You are responsible for your own food. I'll provide some snacks in the van, and we will stop every couple hours at a fast food place / gas station for restroom and chow breaks. I recommend you bring some munchies for the trip down, and enough extra cash for meals throughout the trip.
Ticket: One all-day passport to Disneyland
Transportation: We will ride together in a large passenger van
Point of departure: 8506 Everglade Dr. Sacramento CA 95826
Time of departure: Tuesday morning 10 a.m.
Time of return:
Sometime Thursday. Generally before midnight. Best estimate is between 6 and 8 p.m.
American Sign Language Immersion, Summer 2007
Online (distance education) pre-study program:
July 1, 2007, to August 3, 2006.
A one-month online pre-study program followed by an intense two-week no-voice residency including morning-to-night instruction (9-hours daily, Monday - Friday) scheduled to be taught by three or more Deaf instructors.
Upon successful completion, students will
receive 8 units of regionally accredited upper-division college credit:
Prerequisite: Students must have basic conversational signing ability equivalent to two-semesters of ASL classes.
Tuition: $1400 plus materials
Your total cost will be: $1400 (tuition), plus approximately $169.85 for materials (plus tax and shipping), plus whatever your travel costs are, your hotel or other lodging if not commuting from home, and food.
Registration Deadline: June 1, 2007
Application process: Students may apply to the CSUS ASL Immersion Program by submitting a $100 application fee and their contact information to the CSUS College of Continuing Education. The application fee can be paid by check made payable to CSUS or by credit card:
1. In person at the College of Continuing
Education located in Napa Hall, 3000 State University Drive East, Sacramento, CA 95819.
Credits earned in this program count toward
Sacramento State's ASL certificate program. This program covers Sacramento State course numbers: EDS 152 and
EDS 153 (ASL third and fourth semesters).
ASL Safari '07: "Grover Hot Springs"
A six-day ASL Immersion workshop / camping trip for interpreters and advanced students.
Registration, Payment, and more information:
American Sign Language University ™