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ASL: Communication and Community

Interested in this eLearning Program?

ASL (American Sign Language) is a natural, complete language that has the same linguistic properties as spoken languages. ASL is the main language for many Americans who are hard of hearing or deaf. ASL is even used by many hearing people in order to communicate in ASL with deaf people. ASL is expressed by movements of the hands and face.

There is no universal Sign Language. In North-America we have American Sign Language (ASL) and in Britain we find British Sign Language (BSL). People who communicates in ASL might not understand BSL and the other way around.

This course offers awareness of the Deaf Culture. Deaf culture is a set of social behaviors beliefs, literary traditions, history, art, and values influenced by deafness and the use of sign languages as the main means of communication. Article 30, Paragraph 4 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, recognizes Deaf Culture and states that “Persons with disabilities shall be entitled, on an equal basis with others, to recognition and support of their specific cultural and linguistic identity, including sign languages and deaf culture.”

Members of the Deaf community tend to view deafness as a difference in human experience rather than a disability or disease. Many members take pride in their Deaf identity. In the sense of a community or culture, Deaf people can then be seen as a minority group, and therefore some who are a part of this community may feel misunderstood by those who don’t know sign language.

Carl G. Croneberg coined the term of “Deaf Culture” and was the first to discuss analogies between Deaf and hearing cultures in his appendices C/D of the 1965 Dictionary of American Sign Language.

This program is delivered in a virtual classroom format. The course is designed for employees and teams who work with the Deaf community and patients or clients who speak ASL. The aim of the course is to increase understanding and awareness of Deaf culture, community, and the different dialects used by the Deaf community, particularly in the Philadelphia area. This course was created in collaboration with several members of the Deaf community in Philadelphia.

Course description

The course includes proper terminology for working with Deaf/deaf patients and the differences between “big and small D modality,” how to request the correct American Sign Language interpreters to meet your client or patient needs, and an overview of ASL itself: its roots and cultural significance. The course also gives a brief overview of the history of ASL and the Deaf community, the manualism v oralism debate, ASL in schools, learning ASL, the hiring process for ASL interpreters, the ethics of hearing aid technology, and several personal experience stories.

Duration and format

The course is timed to last 2 hours. This virtual classroom version of the course is entirely online and easily accessible from our e-learning platform—no downloads or special permissions required. The information is updated regularly to meet current standards. ASL: Communication and Community is further customizable to fit your organization’s needs. Please feel free to contact us by emailing Donna Kmetz at dkmetz@globalarena.com.

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