Ever since I decided to include American Sign Language (ASL) into my book, I've had numerous people ask me a few questions about ASL. What is ASL? Why did you include ASL in your book?
What is ASL?
American Sign Language (ASL) is a visual language. With signing, the brain processes linguistic information through the eyes. The shape, placement, and movement of the hands, as well as facial expressions and body movements, all play important parts in conveying information.
Sign language is not a universal language -- each country has its own sign language, and regions have dialects, much like the many languages spoken all over the world. Like any spoken language, ASL is a language with its own unique rules of grammar and syntax.
Like all languages, ASL is a living language that grows and changes over time. ASL is used predominantly in the United States and in many parts of Canada. ASL is accepted by many high schools, colleges, and universities in fulfillment of modern and “foreign” language academic degree requirements across the United States.
Courtesy: National Association of the Deaf (NAD)
Why did I include ASL in my book?
The "Aha!" moment came when I was at a book seller's conference and that's where I met Barb Blakeslee. Barb is a 15 year veteran special educations teacher. She looked at my book and said, "Wouldn't it be nice if we had books like these in ASL?". It piqued my interest and I asked her more about it. Much to my surprise, most books that included ASL were more along the lines of a "manual" or a "teaching aid" than a story book that used ASL as one of the languages used in the book.
The primary purpose of including Spanish and ASL are to embrace inclusion and diversity. As I spent more time researching ASL, the more I become convicted about including ASL in my book. I hope my book helps those who are deaf, hard of hearing and to people surrounding them and part of their lives.
To moms learning ASL to communicate with their infant child, to parents looking to communicate with their kids, to high school kids learning ASL and get recognized for learning a language and get college credits, this book is dedicated to you all!