Category: ASL

Have an ASL Mother’s Day!

It seemed only appropriate that I honor Mom’s everywhere by sharing some of my favorite photos of Signing Families kid models demonstrating signs for MOM/MOMMY/ MOTHER, LOVE/ I LOVE YOU and CARE/ CARING/ TAKE CARE.

To learn more sign language please visit YouTube and Ustream for our SIGNING FAMILIES free access videos.

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When my children were young I use to sign them up for many different interactive and educational camps.  I recall waiting on a long line to get a “slot” for the AMERICAN GIRL doll camp being offered through our local parks and recreation center.  From sports to creative art camps my kids sampled them all.  Most of the time they were fun and no complaints were heard.

It is because I think learning at any age should be FUN and INTERACTIVE that I am offering this summer via my company SIGNING FAMILIES  an online LIVE sign language “camp”.  This will be for kids and their families to learn the basics of sign language as an “online summer camp program”.


The online camp dates now available are the week of June 17th or the week of June 24th. If there is great interest then  more online camp dates will be added.

The camp will be for one online hour per day for five consecutive days. It will be group instruction. Time TBD but most likely 1pmET, 11am PT


All you would need to do is have the ability for video chat online.  We will most likely use SKYPE or a comparable system such as GOOGLE HANGOUT.


The class will have up to 9 students involved which will make for great conversation and practice.  Each student also will have an extra 60 minutes during the week for one on one questions and practice.


In addition, each person who signs up will get our  SIGNING FAMILIES ASL FOLDER, ASL POSTER and one DVD from our catalog (either Baby, Toddler and Preschool Sign Language  or Sign Language for Emergency Situations).


 * Basic greetings in ASL

* People an common places

* School words

* Alphabet and numbers

* Basic animals, transportation and action words


The total cost for the online camp AND the materials mentioned above is $79 ( EARLY BIRD special $69 if signed up by May 1, 2013)


If you are interested in learning more about the camp or to sign up as an EARLY BIRD.. please comment below or connect via the FACEBOOK post, too.   


Once confirmed that you are signing up for a camp session you will be invoiced via PayPal.

 A non-refundable down payment of $25 reserves your spot. Down payment must be received within one week of signing up.  Payment in full will be required by June 1, 2013.  



Yes, I offer 30 minute SKYPE sign language lessons or tutoring.  The rates are $20 per session.  No materials are included in this price.  Adults and children may request individual sessions.  I also welcome families with children who have special learning challenges and need adaptive sign language.

We are sorry that this offer is for US residents only.

Off Voices… a Groundbreaking SWITCHED AT BIRTH EPISODE


What happens when a deftly drafted television program script has lots of lines for actors to say.. but not to voice?


Well, if you are a fan of the ABCFAMILY  show Switched At Birth you have probably heard the buzz that this coming Monday, March 4th, the episode will have lots of lines for actors.. just in SIGN only!

This all ASL, no voice episode, is groundbreaking, innovative and thrilling for those of us who live, love or work within the deaf community!

Check your local listings about when this episode will air near you.

Video rebroadcast is via the ABCFAMILY website.  There is additional content that includes video interviews that are voiced, signed and captioned.

Others have commented on this episode as well, including LATimes, Backstage and National Association for the Deaf.

I hope readers of this blog will join me in watching this show and supporting the pioneer cast and crew involved.

Have a groovy weekend!



I have this dream. That one day I will be flipping through my cable TV guide and there it will be … a list of TV channels 24/7 programming in American Sign Language.  Each one with news being delivered in sign language, a full cast of deaf actors or signing characters in animation.  These shows will have captions for the hearing, such as was the case in UNIVERSAL SIGNS.    I yearn for daily signed content  available to anyone to watch on their TV set.

I know that there are already front runners in this endeavor. Some cable networks have slots for deaf content and there is much online TV in sign language. I LOVE and video channels such as D-PAN (Deaf Performing Arts Network). But, what I am campaigning for are channels equivalent to Telemundo or CCTV where live content streams all day, everyday!.

Why? Well, in the United States American Sign Language is the fourth most commonly used language. (Behind English, Spanish and Chinese).  All of these languages and respective cultures are represented with a mainstream TV presence. Where are the ASL channels? The Deaf Community Channels? In addition, many excellent deaf actors seek employment but find this road much more challenging than their hearing counterparts due to limited roles or maybe even understanding.  (The same can be true of others with unique challenges.)

So, bravo to ABCFamily and others who put shows with content that demonstrates the deaf culture, sign language and employs deaf actors!  Now let’s see if we can expand to 24/7 deaf networks on public / cable TV.  I know I am not alone with my dream.

Your respectful thoughts are welcome.


Sign Language Lessons with Louise – Via USTREAM


Hello All! Starting this Friday, January 4, 2013,  at 5pm ET, 2pm PT I will be offering FREE SIGN LANGUAGE lessons via USTREAM. To learn more visit USTREAM HERE –>   USTREAM SIGNING FAMILIES EVENT

The lessons will be for novices and those who are experienced signers.  Each lesson will be less than 30 minutes with plenty of interaction via the CHAT option on the USTREAM wall.

Hope to see you this FRIDAY!!


Others way to connect with SIGNING FAMILIES




Visit us online as SIGNING FAMILIES –> 

2012 Holiday Newsletter from Signing Families

 Just in case you missed our annual holiday newsletter here it is.. 
Happy 2013!

**Happy Holidays to ALL!

As we enter in to 2013 SIGNING FAMILIES will be offering ONLINE SIGN LANGUAGE interactive lessons via USTREAM

Watch for our special announcement early January and learn how you can participate- FREE!**

Happy Holidays from all of us here at Signing Families! May your year be full of the best of health, prosperity, love and joy!__

soleil ILY

Our heartfelt sympathies to all who lost a loved one or was impacted by the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School this month. Also, our deepest thank you to all who responded to assist those during this disaster and many more during 2012.

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The Cochlear Implant and Sign Language – One Mom’s Viewpoint

Louise’s note:  I have long been an advocate for all deaf people to know sign language, even as a “back up” when they are the recipient of the cochlear implant. Christy Garrett is a mom and a follower of the SIGNING FAMILIES FACEBOOK page. She asked if she could post this blog as a guest.  I gladly obliged.


Sign Language is a Useful Tool for Cochlear Implant Recipient’s

 by Guest Blogger, Christy Garrett

As a young mom, it was very overwhelming to discover that my daughter was born with a severe to profound hearing loss.  She seemed so perfect.  However, when she was a month old it seemed like she was responding to typical household noises but after multiple hearing tests the doctors confirmed that she was deaf.  This news crushed my heart and I began to blame myself for her imperfection.  Then I realized that she was born deaf for a reason.

She began learning American Sign Language around 9 or 10 months old.   A speech therapist would come to our house from the Early Intervention Services, a program that is designed to help families who have children with special needs.  They provide services free of charge and help find care that they can’t provide for children ages birth to three years old.  Also, the Early Intervention Team can refer to the local school district your child  who may continue to receive services within a school environment.

Early intervention specialists began teaching my daughter sign language using play therapy.    She was able to learn basic sign language for common words such as apple, shoe, mom, dad, and more.  I remember the first time that she finally signed back to us, that day was a huge milestone as she was finally able to starting to learn how to communicate!

At the age of 3, I decided that she should have the opportunity to receive a cochlear implant so, that she could communicate orally with her baby brother that was on the way.  When she received her cochlear implant, the speech therapist and doctors recommended that we drop the sign language all together.  They felt that if she relied on sign language that she wouldn’t take interest in learning how to hear and learn to talk.  However, the opposite happened.

Sign language has been a great tool and has benefited her more than I think the doctors and speech therapist realized.  She is now considered bilingual and is fluent in two languages.

However, her knowing sign language has been useful on more than one occasion when something on her cochlear implant has failed or she is having a hard time understanding.
I can count on my hands how many times over the years that her implant was damaged or broken and had to be returned.  Sometimes it would take a week or more to get it back, without her cochlear implant she was deaf.  Sign language allowed her to continue learning without skipping a beat.

Technology is great but it isn’t perfect.  She was born deaf and having a cochlear implant has allowed her to join the hearing world; however, it doesn’t change the fact that without the device she is still deaf.  So in certain situations her implant has no use:

  • showering/bathing
  • swimming
  • some sports
  • loud background noise
  • her batteries die and she doesn’t have spare ones with her
  • cochlear implant isn’t functioning properly

I asked my daughter what she would recommend for a parent who is contemplating on teaching their child sign language and they have a cochlear implant.  She is 16 years old now and didn’t have a say in the decision that I made when she was younger.  However, now she is able to share her opinion and is able to help others.

She said, that knowing sign language has allowed her to learn more vocabulary words and improve her word knowledge.”

Christy Garret, is a wife to her loving husband of 4 years and a mother to three beautiful children – Ages 15, 12, and 18 months old. I am the owner and founder of Uplifting Famiiles. In my spare time, I enjoy blogging, spending time with my family, going to church, and playing games. I can be found on twitter at @upliftingfam

First Signs to Introduce to Young Children

Today I received an excellent question on my SIGNING FAMILIES FACEBOOK  page.  It was a very caring grandmother requesting information about First Signs for her young four year old granddaughter who is having sensory and learning challenges.. Where should they start? How can the school support their efforts and vice versa?

I have added a slideshow at the end of this blog to help answer this question. 

Here are my basic rules for teaching sign to children whether they are deaf / hard of hearing or have developmental challenges.  (These rules also can apply to teaching children “just because”.. which makes me all happy inside to think that so many are learning ASL for fun and to make communication bridges.)

1- Introduce signs that are in the child’s enviroment. Concrete signs.  Daily activities or objects.  Nothing that is abstract or not pertinent.

2- I always suggest learning a few signs such as MORE, WANT and FINISHED at the onset of ASL learning, too. These not only help with transitions but also can help with promoting positive behaviors.

3- Signs like I LOVE YOU and GOOD JOB will help the older child who is learning sign language feel comfortable.

4- Don’t use ASL in isolation. Have everyone in the child’s immediate environment learn ASL so that the child is an equal member of the family. Nothing is worse than a holiday celebration, an incidental conversation or a trip to the store where people are chatting all around you but you understand virtually nothing or very little. This is the scenario that has been retold to me time and time again by my deaf friends.

5- Learn only FIVE to TEN signs at a time.  Your child will be able to tackle more, but try to learn and introduce the new  signs in to your basic everyday conversation. Anymore than that and you may feel overwhelmed.

6. Involve your child in to the local deaf community. And, yourselves!  There is a wonderful deaf community waiting to embrace you and share the rich culture that has been part of the fabric of Deaf Life here in the United States.

7. Read up on great resources and also indulge in social media to help you explore for more.  See my resource link page on Signing Families for more info.






















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FUN with ANGER MANAGEMENT!? A guest post by Wendy Young, Founder of Kidlutions

I am giving over this weeks blog to my  friend and colleague, Wendy Young, of Kidlutions. She and I just had a wonderful time at the MIAEYC conference.  Now you can read her “take” on the event. And, if you missed our presentation, don’t panic.  Just comment below and we will be in touch and let you know how to get a copy of the materials.  Read this original post here:


Fun with Anger Management for Kids

It seems like an oxymoron, doesn’t it?  Fun with anger managment for kids?  But that’s exactly what we had went one of my twitter BFF’s and I met up (for the first time ever) in Grand Rapids, Michigan, for the Michigan Association for the Education of Young Children’s Spring Conference.
Louise Sattler from Signing Families and I have been long-timefacebooktwitter and coffee-drinking-early-morning-phone-connectors.  It was high time that we meet in person.  Louise is everything I thought she’d be and more.  Sweet, petite and a powerhouse of information and energy.  She’s a firecracker!  (We never did have a cup of coffee while we were together, so we’ll have to definitely do so the next time we meet up!)
Beach Ball, Bubbles and Bugs (and MORE)
Our attendees learned creative interventions for angry children which included, beach balls, playdoh, bubbles, bugs, magic wands and more!  Louise provided the grand finale regarding using ASL in the classroom to help prevent behavior problems.  I had a hoot watching Louise do ASL in person.  I’ve seen her do it on her award-winning videos, but if you ever get a chance to see her live, don’t miss it.  She doesn’t disappoint! Ohmigosh…and the prizes that the audience was treated to!  Phenomenal!
Teachers that Make a Difference
In our top picture, you’ll see our attendees give us “applause” at the end of our session.  This group of educators was top-notch and it was an honor to spend the afternoon with them!  They learned how they can help change brains, and improve outcomes for kids at-risk due to problems with self-regulation!
It was a great day, indeed!
Louise and me prior to our workshop!
To book a speaker for topics relating to education, and almost everything else under the sun, be sure to check out411Voices.com  The speaker’s bureau covers a wide range of topics with seasoned experts on multiple topics.
To get your free copy of our signature Anger Toolbox for Kidsintroduction (including an MP3, printables and more, go here!
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