Sign Language Lessons
Archived Q&A and Reviews
My daughter is friendly with a deaf girl who has mainstreamed the last few years. Although her friend will be going to a special school for the deaf, my daughter has become very interested in sign language and wants to be able to communicate effectively with her friend. A vacation school would be great. We live in San Leandro, so the classes must be relatively close. all about signing
I wonder if volunteering to work with the preschoolers at CEID (Center for the Education of the Infant Deaf) in Berkeley might be a fun way to get acquainted with sign language (although they use SEE - sign exact English - instead of ASL). Mother of hearing impaired child
my 4 year old picks up sign language well and is very interested to learn more. Is there anywhere in the Berkeley area that has classes for kids his age to learn real ASL? please email me if you have any tips. thanks! earl.and.christine
If you are interested in having your child learn American Sign Language, then I would recommend taking a class that uses ASL (like Signing Smart) rather than a class that teaches gestures and invented signs, which are used in the BabySigns program. ASL signing parent
There was misinformation presented here (June 12) about the Baby Signs\xae Program which we would like to clarify: The Baby Signs\xae Program does, in fact, use American Sign Language (ASL). The program also encourages parents to acknowledge and celebrate approximated signs and ''home'' signs their child may produce.
The Baby Signs\xae program is the original sign language program for hearing babies based on the breakthrough NIH-funded research of Drs. Linda Acredolo and Susan Goodwyn. Every other baby sign language program in existence today cites this research. Interestingly, this research was done on babies who were not using ASL signs, but rather ''home'' signs, and there has been no research done since then to show any advantage to using ASL signs exclusively.
The primary goal of the Baby Signs\xae program is to enhance communication and bonding between parents and children. Should a family be interested in American Sign Language as a second language, we encourage social contact with native ASL users and taking ASL courses taught in the foreign language department at many high schools and colleges.
We are three certified Baby Signs\xae instructors in the East Bay who use ASL in our classes and at home with our children. We welcome any questions from parents about signing with your babies.
Julie Corbett Baby Signs\xae Independent Certified Instructor Baby Signs\xae of the Bay Area www.babysignsbayarea.com
Hello ! My daughter Diane, 19, will be coming from France to Berkeley mid July with her father. She wishes to learn the American sign language during her stay. she studies linguistics in order to become a speech therapist. Do you have any idea about who she can contact ? Thank you for your help ! Dominique
Try Berkeley City College in downtown Berkeley. It is the college formerly know as Vista. I've heard that they have a great ASL program. Hopefully someone who has direct experience with the program will also respond. Non ASL Anon
While I don't know if classes will be available for the exact time that you need, I know that Berkeley City College has an ASL department and degree program and West Contra Costa Adult Ed (http://www.wccae.info/) also offers sign language classes, although those are not exactly ASL. Good Luck
The small private highschool my son attends has a limited foreign language program. I have asked about introducing American Sign Language (ASL) as an alternative for students struggling with the standard offerings of Spanish & French. Can anyone suggest an instructor, as well as the procedure necessary to get this class accredited as part of the school curriculum? (ASL meets the UC foreign language requirement). Or, does anyone know of a good ASL Summer program or private instructor in the Eastbay? ms
Vista Community College (now Berkeley City College) has a terrific ASL program, so you might look into whether or not your child could take ASL there and earn his or her high school foreign language credit. It's definitely worth looking into. One terrific advantage to taking ASL at the community college is that the folks there generally really WANT to be there, and so are much more motivated to learn, not just sitting through class to get through it. I also found that a each class developed a real sense of community and camaraderie--not a bad thing for a high school student to experience, either! nancy
Contra Costa College also has an ASL course and I know El Cerrito High students who have taken classes there and it went toward their foreign language requirement and was also accepted by the UC system (and meant that the student not only got HS credit but also earned college credit at the same time). soem of the students then were able to volunteer at the nearby grammar school that has a hearing impaired program (Harding). anon
Does anyone know of any place or person that offers ASL to children ages 2-5 in the Eastbay? Thanks melissa
Stacey Raye teaches sign language to pre-school aged and older children. My daughter took classes from her when she was younger and loved it. She is also the owner of Monkey Business Camp. Contact her at: monkeybusinesscamp [at] hotmail.com Melanie
I was able to find a deaf student from Ohlone College in Fremont to tutor me and my two kids (aged 1 and 3) in ASL. I would contact Vista College in Berkeley and Ohlone College and put a posting on their bulletin boards saying what you are interested in and when, if you have any ASL knowledge, are hearing or deaf and any other relevant info. We are delighted with the young woman we found, and having a deaf ASL teacher really forces you to learn faster in my opinion. Also, if you are interested in a playdate email me, maybe we can practice signing with each other and the kids. We are in Montclair. Nina
Does anyone know a great sign-language interpreter who'd like to sign for about 10-15 minutes on August 18 and September 9 (San Francisco/Berkeley) at a bookstore as I read from a new novel? I would do everything I could to help publicize the interpreter's work. (Am also looking for interpreters in Beverly Hills, New York, Portland, but am based here). Wordhappy
Here are three options that I found while looking for the first. I have a friend who works for Deaf Services of Palo Alto and it seems to be a nice, well-run organization.
Deaf Services of Palo Alto P.O. Box 60651, Palo Alto, CA 94306 Voice: (650) 856-9262 Fax: (650) 856-1114 Contact: Janet Nystrom Bay Area Communication Access (BACA) 870 Market Street, Suite 330, San Francisco, CA 94102 Voice: (415) 356-0405 Fax: (415) 356-0495 American Sign Language and tactile interpreting available. Hands On Services P.O. Box 418, Auburn, CA 95604-0418 Voice: (800) 900-9478 Fax: (800) 900-9477
My husband and I and our children (ages 6 and 10) would like to learn ASL. I was taking an adult ed class and trying to bring it home to the family, but that was difficult. I would like to have someone come to our home to instruct us. I have contacted Vista College, but the person recommended is not available. I suppose we could watch an instructional video, but am worried that we will not be disciplined enough to advance in the language. Thanks for any thoughts on how we can successfully learn the basics of ASL. Jennifer
I highly recommend the ''Signing Time'' videos. They are fun, and have lots of songs some of which are quite challenging (try the ''silly pizza song'') The Berkeley Public Library has one of the videos, which is how we stumbled upon them. Since then we bought all 6 of the DVDs and watch them again and again. They are geared towards younger children (zero to 6) but there's lots for all ages. See the songs that are signed in the credits and Rachel Coleman's introduction which is spoken and signed to see how the language is put together. http://signingtime.com/img/AboutST.mov Also see Michigan State University's ASL site http://commtechlab.msu.edu/sites/aslweb/ browser.htm for quicktime videos for vocabulary building. Have Fun! River
I'm looking to teach my daughter sign language. Does anyone know of a ASL class for three year olds? Thanks in advance.
Hi, I did not see any follow-up posts to your query about ASL classes for a three-year old, so I wanted to offer my two cents. As far as I know, there are no ASL classes for hearing children in this area. It wasn't clear to me from your post whether or not you know ASL yourself, but of course one way to teach your child ASL is to take a class or two yourself. Vista College in Berkeley has an amazing ASL program, with many classes both day and evening. Another thought is for you to take your child to one of the many Deaf events happening in this area. My impression is that most of the things for kids are in Fremont, where the school for the Deaf is located. They often have plays, storytelling events, etc. you could bring your child to. I think Barnes and Noble in Fremont still has ASL storytime as well- I don't know the days and times, but I'm sure you could find out. There is a website called traingosorry.com that lists many events in the area. I'd be happy to offer you more resources- please feel free to email me. I'd also be interested to learn more about your situation, and might be able to offer better advice if I know why you are interested (for example, I believe an agency called DCARA offers ASL for family members of Deaf people.) I wish I could enroll my 2 year old in a class- I sign some, but I'd love it if she could learn in a class. Good luck! Kelly
There was a posting for a baby sign class in the most recent announcements, Saturdays in Emeryville, I think. It may not be an ASL class, as I believe the book they are basing the class uses some kind of pidgin sign. The Oakland museum often has a kids day for deaf and hearing families. Deaf Media is an excellent resource for finding out abt events in the East Bay. hope that helps
I'm trying to find a sign language teacher to instruct hearing elementary school students in an after school enrichment class. Any suggestions for teachers, or for organizations that might have some leads? Susan
Kirk Long teaches at the Piedmont Adult School. He is EXCELLENT! Very enthusiastic, stays with the level of his audience, makes sure to check-in once in a while to ensure the students are picking up the language. He also makes learning a lot of fun (a huge requirement for young students). I'm sure you could get his contact info. from the school. Former S.L. student
I would suggest contacting the ASL program at Vista College. They have many great teachers there who might be willing to teach another class. If not, they could probably offer you some resources. kelly
I'm probably not the only person who'll suggest this, but try contacting Vista Community College in downtown Berkeley. They have a terrific American Sign Language depertment, and would, I'm sure, love to help you out. The department's phone number is 981-2872.
In your search, remember that American Sign Language is not the same as SEE, or Signed Exact English, which is what some people use. The majority of the American Deaf community uses ASL; SEE seems to be used primarily by hearing families with a deaf child. Just a note so that you get what you want. Nancy
I believe the Albany Parks and Recreation Dept. offers sign language classes from time to time at the Albany Community Center (1249 Marin). Unfortunately, as I remember, the classes may only be offered weekday afternoons, which may not work for you. But you may want to give them a call: 524-9283. Greg
From: ann smith
Hi there. I have much to share on this subject. I have been trained as an interpretr and have worked for the California School for the Deaf, Fremont. I am currently working with a few others in the field to develop a non-profit organization to provide resource/ referral services to hearing parents of deaf children (over 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents). I also provide private tutor lessons and am interested in coordinating a group for this purpose. Feel free to give me a call at home 510/741-5513.
Vista College (Milva and Addison) has nationally recognized sign language certificate and interpreter training programs. You might call the program administrator to see if one of the advanced students, or even one of the teachers, would be interested in working with your daughter or her pre-school. When I took sign there several years ago, one of the final exams was to sign a kids story. This might be something fun for the kids at the pre-school to practice. I recall one student signed a rather memorable version of Are You My Mama? Another thought is to try the Disabled Students program on campus (642-0518). Maybe a hearing-impaired college student would be interested in some occasional babysitting! Joyce
Does anyone have experience with a teen taking ASL (American Sign Language) courses as their foreign language in high school? I have heard that this is possible, and would like to know how it works for kids at Berkeley High.
My son is a Freshman now. I have found the web listing for the program at Vista, but it looks like the day classes in the Fall are long (9:30 to 12:30), which would not fit into a BHS schedule. Evenings are a possibility, but that would make for a very long day.
Any information about ASL programs or how this has worked for teens you know will be very appreciated. Thanks,
When my daughter was a sophomore at BHS she began taking ASL classes at Vista. Over the next three years she took five classes. She enjoyed them very much (she was unhappy with one of the teachers, the others ranged from terrific to ok). She not only learned a second language but also got a glimpse into the culture of the deaf. (All of her teachers were deaf.) Some of her Vista classes were held on Cal's campus which she also enjoyed. Most of the classes had to be taken at night. It did pose a problem and made for a long day, but she/we found a way to manage it. There were a couple of high school students in each of the classes - some from Berkeley High School, one from Lick Wilmerding. Most, but not all, of the other high school students had some LD issue that brought them to ASL. Part of the time, I was able to work out a carpool system. The majority of the other students were adults either wanting to learn ASL for work or because a family member was deaf. On one occasion a whole family including the deaf child took the class. That class was a particularly rich educational experience. My daughter will be attending UC San Diego in the fall. UCSD offers ASL and accepts Vista credits. Consequently, after one more ASL class at UCSD my daughter will probably be able to test out of the language requirement. Her experiences with ASL will remain an important part of who she is. Please feel free to call me if you have further questions. I'm sure my daughter would be willing to talk to your son. Christina
My HS junior daughter has taken ASL (after hating French) at Vista starting in 10th grade. It's pretty simple to enroll: your child needs a form for concurrent enrollment (available from the counselors), which is filled out by the student and signed by a parent, the HS principal and counselor and taken to Vista. They then get HS credit. The only feasible way to do this is evening classes; the daytime schedule just doesn't fit in with HS. It does mean that on those days they have to budget their time VERY carefully--there's not a whole lot of time for other homework (or dinner) when they have a 6:30-9:30 pm class. It's a great progam and there are usually a # of other HS kids in these classes. The program is fabulous. If you want more info on the program, contact the ASLdept at Vista. I'd be glad to answer any other ?s you might have about the mechanics of having a HS student in the program. Ellen
Does Vista have a summer program as well as a school year program? He could start this summer and follow up with some videos until he can take another class.
The Captioned Media Program sponsored by National Association of the Deaf has a program where one can get free videos for their homes or classrooms. All they request is that you fill out an evaluation upon returning the video. They mail the videos and include free return label for you. There are all kinds of video tapes about signing.
They really have an excellent video collection. It is an excellent resource and they are trying hard to get the word out.
Information Voice 800-237-6213 TTY 800-237-6819 FAX 800-538-5636 e-mail info AT cfv.org Website http://www.cfv.org
Teachers with hearing impaired students -- this resource is AMAZING.
Flora Russ -- Berkeley High School
My son has taken ASL through VISTA in the everning for two semesters. He has enjoyed it quite a bit. Betty Ann is a wonderful teacher who usually teaches the first semester class (I even sat in on her class when I could!). He has one teacher who was not great and withdrew from that class. His last teacher (Dudis was quite good). The second semester is quite a bit more difficult than the first (it gets much more serious). There are also classes in fingerspelling and classifiers. The one forewarning is that BHS has not counted the one college semester as two high school semesters but has given him 7 units (instead of 10) for each semester so to fufill some college prerequisites, he will have to take a least one more course. This was also another friends experience and appears to be nonnegotiable with BHS. Make sure your student checks off that he is taking the course for high school credit on the VISTA paperwork (rather than college credit). rslam
I would like to respond to the person asking about American Sign Language. I am an interpreter and a parent of a deaf teen. I know that many colleges and universities now accept ASL for a language requirement. Vista has some summer programs and used to offer classes during the school year just for high schoolers. I have also taught ASL in the Berkeley schools, and would be interested in private, or small class lessons. Thanks. silver