Want to learn sign language? Do this one thing.

Want to learn sign language? Do this one thing.

15 years ago, I could barely sign the alphabet.

I had never been around the Deaf community and had zero connection to anyone who was Deaf.

I have been where many new parents are.

Learning an entirely new language in a different modality and wondering if I would ever get to the level of fluency I have today.

I used to see people signing with such ease and wishing I could be that good.

But I'll tell you right now...

If I had gone down the path of trying to teach myself by googling sign language videos created by hearing people or engaging with hearing teachers who weren't native...

I would not be where I am today.

In fact, I would most likely still be back at the level I was 15 years ago, with little to show for the hours I would have spent watching videos and trying to learn the intricacies of such a complex language from people who had no business teaching it in the first place.

People often ask me how long it took me to become proficient in Auslan...

It took me 2 years.

Why?

Because from the moment I decided to learn...
I also decided to immerse myself in every element of the Deaf community and their culture that I possibly could.

So what did I do?

🤟🏼I signed up for a course lead by a native Deaf Auslan user.
🤟🏼I signed up for a Deaf awareness program that focused on Deaf culture, history and community.
🤟🏼I volunteered my time at Deaf events and festivals
🤟🏼I threw myself into a job where my co-teacher was a profoundly Deaf person
🤟🏼 I spent hours watching native Deaf people in action online via approved educational websites.
🤟🏼 I paid Deaf people for their time instead of expecting them to volunteer their knowledge, language and lived experience for my benefit
🤟🏼I attended Deaf community events which led me to form lifelong friendships with some incredible Deaf people.

Like I said. I have been where you are.
(And during a time where online learning and community wasn't a thing!)

But what I know to be true, is that without Deaf people, I would still be where you are.

The journey is long and it's not always easy, but I can tell you without hesitation... IT'S WORTH IT.

 

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