As parents of a Deaf child, we longed for good, quality resources to learn more about Deafness, Deaf culture, American Sign Language, and how to communicate with our son. This page list websites, books and movies that we have used over the years and that we can confidently recommend to you.
Love and Language are the greatest gifts a parent can give any child. The Nyle DiMarco Foundation believes in the ‘whole child’ approach and ensuring lifelong success in all areas: acquiring language, developing critical thinking skills, gaining academic and social skills, and enhancing social, mental, and emotional health.
With nurturing love and unrestricted access to language(s) from an early age, a child’s potential is limitless.
LEAD-K stands for Language Equality & Acquisition for Deaf Kids.
The LEAD-K Campaign is a visual civil right movement to end the nationwide epidemic of language deprivation by promoting language equality, American Sign Language (ASL) and English for all Deaf babies, LEADING to a new generation of Deaf children who are Kindergarten-ready.
The LEAD-K Campaign is a civil rights movement in direct response to the growing epidemic of language deprived Deaf children denied ASL which has an irreparable catastrophic impact on their education and developmental years. Most of the Deaf children denied ASL are not Kindergarten-ready by the time they are at the age of 5 because they do not have the foundation of a natural visual language.
This is a wonderful place to build you signing vocabulary and exposure to American Sign Language!
“A nook like no others…Words, pictures, and stories come to life with the magic of American Sign Language (ASL). We welcome anyone who wants to learn ASL. Within our cozy nook, you will learn many new signs such as the alphabet, colors, emotions, animals, and beyond.
“When two walls meet, a nook is formed. This is where two languages and two worlds meet. ASL nook promises to be entertaining and family-friendly.
“We welcome you to watch ASL Nook, where you get hooked on ASL!”
This is the school that Michael attends. It is truly amazing! We have never met such awesome a dedicated teachers. From their About page: “Bordered by Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway and historic neighborhoods, Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind (FSDB) is located in the nation’s oldest city of St. Augustine… From the moment you set foot onto our campus, you will sense the passion and commitment that define our school, our teachers, and our students. Here at FSDB, we prepare students to become literate, productive citizens who contribute back to their communities. Our expectations are high and our enthusiasm for our students to do more, be more and achieve more is boundless.”
ASDC is a national, independent non-profit organization founded in 1967. They support and promote total communication (use of ASL, SSE, spoken English, gestures, etc.) for deaf and hard-of-hearing children. We have found it to be a great educational resource.
This, I think, is many parents and children’s first introduction to learning sign language. Rachel Coleman, mother of a Deaf daughter, produces amazingly engaging and entertaining videos that are designed to teach ASL to children. However, it is impossible to watch these videos and not get the catchy tunes stuck in your head. You will be singing along and learning with your child. Also, this is the series of videos that Leanna watched on PBS before Michael was born and what encouraged her to learn ASL to teach Michael.
This one is actually for your kiddos. It uses fun, educational games to teach kids to read with phonics while incorporating a lot of sign language
“Start ASL is the fun way to learn American Sign Language… for free! We offer everything you need for your ASL journey in a fun and easy-to-follow format.” We have used this site a lot to learn sign language at home. They have great, structured lessons that, incorporating a lot videos, that you can work through at your own pace.
Another great website to learn ASL at your own pace and in a structured format. LifePrint.com also has a pretty good ASL dictionary with videos.
ASL Pro is an online ASL dictionary with video demonstrations of each word. They have categories for Main, Religious, Conversational, and Babies.
“Signing Savvy is a sign language dictionary containing several thousand high resolution videos of American Sign Language (ASL) signs, fingerspelled words, and other common signs used within the United States and Canada.”
Silent Blessings is “…a nonprofit Christian outreach and evangelistic organization, formed in 1996 by the hearing father of a Deaf child.”
We love this show! It is produced by Silent Blessings Deaf Ministries. It is captivating, entertaining, and educational. It uses all ASL and an all Deaf cast. It is captioned in English as well which makes it a great to learn more sign language, as well! “Dr. Wonder’s Workshop is a program for members of the whole family…young and old, hearing or Deaf, Dr. Wonder was made with everyone in mind! All members of the cast are Deaf, and the storyline is delivered in both ASL and then voiced over (it’s even broadcast with both English and Spanish captioning!).”
Here are a couple of fantastic books that we used to learn ASL. Amazon.com also has a great selection of other books about Deaf History and Deaf Culture, as well.
By Martin L. A. Sternberg, Ed.D.
In addition to the online dictionaries, it is great to have a printed dictionary in book form. This one is the best. There are many, many ASL dictionaries, however, this is the one we use the most. It is comprehensive, well written and well designed. Just get it!
By Jason E. Zinza
This is a great instructional textbook for learning ASL. It is used by the instructors who teach ASL to parents of children at FSDB. By the way, they offer online ASL classes for parents of children enrolled at FSDB. It you need information about this, please contact us and we will be glad to direct you to the right person who can get you registered. We love these classes and they have really helped us a lot!
Documentaries & Other Movies We Like
We love this documentary! We have watched it several times. It is well worth owning on DVD.
“Through Deaf Eyes explores nearly 200 years of Deaf life in America. The film presents the experiences of American history from the perspective of deaf citizens. Interviews include actor Marlee Matlin, I. King Jordan, other community leaders, historians, and deaf Americans with diverse views on language use, technology and identity. Six artistic works by Deaf media artists are woven throughout the documentary that complement the core of the film.”
“You might expect that the cochlear implant, a device that can give deaf people the gift of hearing, would be embraced by the deaf community. Josh Aronson’s Sound and Fury, a compelling and often devastating documentary, tells a different story. Two brothers, one deaf and one hearing, grapple with a decision concerning their deaf children, and the debate that rages through the extended family turns less on technology and medical concerns than social politics and culture. The deaf parents of a school-age girl fear what the implant would do to her unique identity, while the hearing parents of a toddler see no question at all. Aronson gives all sides their say, but ultimately the increasingly angry arguments reveal prejudices and fears from both sides and split the once-harmonious family, much like they have split hearing and deaf communities across the country.”
“A powerful and rare glimpse into the lives of deaf artists, SEE WHAT I M SAYING focuses on four deaf performers actor Robert DeMayo, singer TL Forsberg, drummer Bob Hiltermann, and comic CJ Jones over the course of one year as they endeavor to cross over into mainstream culture. Together, their fascinating and intertwining stories showcase the talent and the universal human appeal of their gripping journeys. Illuminating and inspirational, SEE WHAT I M SAYING opens a door into America s vibrant deaf culture for those who are signing impaired.”
If you are a parent of a Deaf child, there is no way that you will not feel the emotion of hopelessness, as well, as triumph and victory in this awesome film. Also rated PG-13.
“Inspired by the life of deaf UFC fighter, Matt Hamill, The Hammer tells the story of what it takes to be a champion, on and off the mat. The Hammer is a coming of age drama depicting the struggles and successes of what it takes to become a champion. Raised among those with the ability to hear, Matt later finds himself no less an outsider amidst the Deaf Community. But through sheer determination, he uses his ‘perceived’ disability as an asset, and becomes not only the first deaf wrestler to win a National Collegiate Championship, but an inspirational force to both hearing and deaf alike.”
A heart warming drama about a musician, turned music teacher, torn between his passion for music and his love for his Deaf son. Ultimately, he discovers that the tow do not have to be mutually exclusive. Additionally, the emotions of the mother are very well portrayed as she learns that her child is Deaf and struggles with accepting this fact as well.
“An earnest and at times overblown story of a music teacher’s impact on those around him, Mr. Holland’s Opus is at times a genuinely touching drama in the vein of It’s a Wonderful Life. Richard Dreyfuss (Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind) plays an aspiring composer and musician who takes a job teaching music at a local high school to save money while he composes his music. But when his wife (Glenne Headley) becomes pregnant, Glenn Holland must put aside his dreams and address the everyday realities of his life, from the melancholy and sometimes tragic fates of his students to the discovery that the son he cherishes is deaf. Building to a highly emotional climax in which the teacher sees the impact he’s had on the world around him, Mr. Holland’s Opus is a showcase for a fine Oscar-nominated performance by Dreyfuss and an engaging, heartwarming story.”
This film was produced in 1979 and it shows. However, it is a great drama that accurately demonstrates the extremes of emotions experienced by parents of deaf children, as well as, those of the deaf child. We really enjoyed it. Have you Kleenex handy though!
“Jonah is a lonely deaf child who has been misdiagnosed as mentally challenged. Jonah’s mother and father struggle to establish communication from their withdrawn son.”