learn ASL online

The Best Sites to Learn ASL Online for Adults, Kids, Homeschoolers

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This post is about the best sites to learn ASL online. That is, learning American Sign Language online.

It is meant to serve as a resource to others who would like to learn ASL but may not have access to physical sign language classes.

This is available in a downloadable PDF for my patrons, linked here.

It’s at the end of this post for people who benefit from access to PDF’s.

My interest in learning American  Sign Language (ASL) was a long time coming.

Although I am myself deaf, I tried to “pass” as hearing and focused on lip reading to get by.

This is exhausting, and with my profound hearing loss, I would like to be able to relax and communicate with others.

I started learning ASL when I found that I was expecting a child with Down syndrome, and that ASL is supposed to be very helpful for people with Down syndrome (fyi: it is!). I learned through Berkeley City College, and then switched to learning ASL online when we were living off the grid, then traveling in Mexico. I live in Hawai’i now, and there is an awesome, vibrant d/Deaf community around me, so I can learn ASL online on my own, and then just be a community member!

So, here are a bunch of sites that are fantastic places to get you or your child going in learning ASL until the time comes that you can join an actual d/Deaf community.

(note: the links are in the headings)

The Best Sites to Learn ASL Online for Adults, Kids, Homeschoolers

Lifeprint

Super awesome site. Free lessons, fingerspelling, dictionary, the whole shebang. Oh, and my favorite, Deaf Jokes page!!

Two Deaf men are signing to each other.
The first man asks, “What did your wife say when you got home late last night?
The second man replies, “She swore a blue streak”
And the first man asks, “What did you do then?”
And the second man replies, “I turned out the light.”

Lifeprint is awesome, and the guy who does most of it is Bill Vicars, who has a great YouTube channel on learning ASL. It’s linked here: https://www.youtube.com/user/billvicars/videos

ASL Pro

This site kind of overwhelmed me with all the ads and stuff for sale. So far it seems like a lot of dictionaries, including “religious” ones (- if you are wanting to teach your child Bible signs, this is probably your stop).

Described and Captioned Media Program

You are able to “check out” videos, DVD’s and books, a’la netflix.

They even give you a postage paid mailer to send them back. In addition to the DVD’s, they have streaming online videos and offer all kinds of things for ASL instruction, deaf culture and children – really, really cool site.

Check out the lessons available for ASL instruction hereSweeeeeet!

 Start ASL

This has a ton of online ASL classes here – both free and paid courses with homework and everything. I love that they have a section for homeschoolers, they have tutors and an online practice community too!

Babies and Sign Language

This is primarily a site for baby sign – which I am not looking for. But they are some cool links to places to learn other languages – Latvian sign, anyone?

Signing Savvy

It’s an app (see above) and also a site.

It’s a brilliant video-based signing dictionary.

Very easy to use and free.

More Sites to Learn ASL Online:

Deaf Read

This is the Deaf blogging community. It’s awesome because there are a lot of vlogs – video blogs – a great way to interact with real people, virtually.

Signing Time

If you haven’t already tapped into this truly astonishing system of catchy music + signs, well, here’s your introduction now – it is the easiest possible way to teach babies and kids basic ASL, both online and with DVD’s.

They have a slightly more advanced system with sentences and grammar, etc, but it does not go much beyond basic functioning ASL (“what’s your name?” and so forth.

Sign It ASL

This is a comprehensive study program that seems to pick up where Signing Time left off. Coupled together, they are a truly comprehensive system.

Handspeak

“Sign language resources and extracurricular ASL (American Sign Language) materials for language+culture enthusiasts, ASL students and learners, instructors and teachers, interpreters, homeschoolers, parents and professionals for practice or self-study.”

YouTube

YouTube has a lot of kick-ass d/Deaf vloggers now. Here’s a post on some of the best vloggers to check out.

Apps to Teach ASL

There are a lot of fantastic apps for learning ASL online – here are some of the best:

  1. ASL Dictionary: comprehensive ASL dictionary with videos of more than 5,000 signs
  2. The ASL App: a hip app designed by Deaf ASL users to teach ASL (the one that Nyle is in!)
  3. Signing Savvy: learn ASL and join in conversations and more with the membership site
  4. SignSchool: vocabulary builder, dictionary
  5. YouTube: subscribe to Deaf YouTubers, search for classes. Download them through YouTube Red.
  6. Marlee Signs: learn ASL with Marlee Matlin
  7. ASL Translator: type in the English and get the ASL translation
  8. ASL Dictionary: over 5,000 signs, multiple ways to sign the same word and does not require internet

Learning ASL online is not optimal.

American Sign Language is not Latin; it’s a real, living, breathing language. As such, ASL needs to be used with communication between people. That’s the whole point.

Get started with learning ASL online with some of the sites and apps linked in this post!

And then move on and into the deaf community

 

Download the distraction-free PDF bundle for this post here.

Please note: it does cost me time and money to produce these PDF’s, so I truly appreciate it if you become a patron (- even $1/month) and download the PDF’s (and MP3’s, when I have them) that way.

However, I will always keep these as a free option, for those of you who have disabilities that need that access, and who may not be able to afford becoming my patron at this point.

You can become my patron by clicking here.

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Meriah
Meriah Nichols is a career counselor, teacher and blogger. Single mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one gifted 2E), she is also a cat-loving Trekkie who likes her coffee hot and black.
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20 thoughts on “The Best Sites to Learn ASL Online for Adults, Kids, Homeschoolers”

  1. I know you said you wanted more phrases rather than just words, but I really love Baby Sign Language http://www.babysignlanguage.com/. They’ve got videos with captions, charts, flashcards, a blog, and right they are offering their 7 day course (15 minute segments) for free (it’s normally $50). You get the courses sent to you by email. Excellent learning source!

    Reply
  2. Hi Meriah,thanks for this. I only know workshop signs( Stop, break time, go to bathroom etc, work finished), swears, and alcohol signs (jack daniels, beer etc). Comes from working for the old umbrella of depts. of mental health and retardation (back in the distant past when it was PC to use ‘retardation’). Because of brain damage from falls and car accidents which cause lack of coordination memory loss and learning disabilities, my old sign language teacher couldn’t understand my signs and I constantly confuse similar signs like play, silly and yellow. Will check these out when I get off my butt. Cheers, Barbara

    Reply
  3. Have you had a chance to try out Sign It ASL (www.signitasl.com)? It is a newer program that uses a lot of humor to teach ASL to teens and adults. Some of the instructors include Keith Wann, Crom Saunders, Alexandria Wailes, Peter Cook, Maleni Chaitoo, and Sean Forbes. The course is free to parents of deaf and hard-of-hearing babies if they apply through http://www.mydeafchild.org.

    Reply
  4. I recently found your site and it is incredibly helpful. I am currently learning sign language with my 2 1/2 year old son and this has made it so much easier to find all the best sites and helpful tools.

    Reply
  5. I am an educator looking for an online program for a student who has cognitive delays and a hearing impairment. Her guardians would very much like her to learn to sign but we have not found a program that would work. I am looking at your suggestions but wonder if you might give me some guidance. Thank you.

    Reply
  6. I have found that most online courses and most of what is available out there is for basic, first year ASL. There are dozens of offerings that will take you up to an intermediate level. I noticed that once you learn the basics it is very difficult to find courses and good information out there for intermediate to advanced level.

    I took the first year ASL at a college and I found the Signing Naturally Textbooks with DVDs very helpful. Even without having taken a college course, these materials are great for self study. I also bought the Learn and Master ASL 24 DVD course helpful and I am working through it.

    The problem I encounter is that once you are at an intermediate level, it is very difficult to find more advanced self study courses. Do you know of any courses out there that can teach you at a more advanced level?

    Reply
    • I know exactly what you mean – I’ve run into the same problem, and I completely agree with you. I think in terms of courses, the next best option to carry you up and forward would be Gallaudet

      Reply
  7. My name is shyamala. I am working as a special educator in deaf school for the past 14 years Tamilnadu, India. I want to learn ASL interpreter and want to work in American school. Please kindly guide what course I have to study

    Reply
  8. Like everything else in today’s world, learning sign language has also become more accessible. There are all kinds of resources at our disposal now that you don’t even need to walk up to a classroom anymore. Cudoo is another great option for anyone looking to learn American Sign Langauge online: https://cudoo.com/learn-american-sign-language-online. They are also a one for one brand which means when you book a course, they donate a course to someone who is less fortunate and doesn’t have access to education

    Reply

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