Hi, I thought I would tell my story as a hearing person on how I learned ASL and Deaf Culture.
I started volunteering with the deaf at St. Francis Deaf Community and Holy Name Church in 1970. I remember that I would attend the Mass on Sunday morning and then join in for Tea and Coffee after. I knew the alphabet from being a young girl and having one deaf girl who lived on my street that I would go and visit and play with. At that time the alphabet was all we used and oral communication. When I sat with the Deaf having Tea and Coffee they were a little hesitant to speak or teach me signs as I was a young girl of 16. the more I kept coming to Mass for the Deaf and Social events slowly they accepted me and communicated with me.
At the same time I was a volunteer with the children in teaching Religion. That had to be done Orally as per the government regulations. During this time a met a young deaf women who loved music and wanted to learn the words etc to songs she had heard / felt the music for. I became friends with her and after classes on Saturday afternoons with the children, would go to her place and write the words to the songs and then try to sign them or learn the signs. This was very helpful to my learning ASL as it made my signing a little smoother.
In the early 1970 's there was no formal Sign Language Courses so you learned from individuals and being involved. As time went on I became very fluent in signs and when there was any course I could attends to develop my education, I tried to attend.
Learning ASL is a continuous journey and I thank the Deaf for this . I meet many Deaf from all over Canada and the USA which has helped me so much.
I now consider the Deaf as part of my Family and THANK them for allowing me to be part of their world.