Sensing this curious little guy was friendly, I bent down to pet him. “Aw, he’s so cute. What’s his name?” I asked.
The woman couldn’t see my lips moving but assuming I was talking she said, “I can’t hear you. I’m deaf.”
I stood up and signed to her, “I know some sign language. When I was a younger I learned at church and interpreted for awhile in the children’s program.” She was surprised I could communicate with her and I was surprised that even though it had been years since I’d signed, just like that it was coming back to me.
We chatted for a bit and I joked to her that there was no way I could interpret again without taking classes again. There are so many commonplace words today that had no meaning to me back then, like Internet and iPad. Then she taught me how to sign a few words like computer and email. Now when we pass each other in the neighborhood walking our dogs, we have a conversation and I usually learn a new sign or two.
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Rio Salado College is an accredited online community college. They offer open entry/open exit Internet classes for American Sign Language courses. Webcam and microphone are required; classes start Mondays.
Phoenix College is also an accredited community college, located downtown in the heart of the city’s business and cultural centers. They offer several different sign language courses, including:
- Fingerspelling: Focus on numbers and the manual alphabet.
- Speedy Sign Language: Learn fingerspelling, numbers, and basic sign language vocabulary.
- Introduction to Deafness: An overview of deaf and hard of hearing children’s education, legal rights of the deaf, and common adaptive devices used by the hearing impaired.
- American Sign Language: A more in-depth course that includes syntax, grammar, and culture.
Maricopa Community Colleges is comprised of “(t)en colleges specializing in university transfer, continuing education, career and job training programs.” Browse certificate programs or find a class today.