Masters Thesis

Free community ASL in Humboldt County: resources and access to services

The focus of this project is to provide a free class that introduces American Sign Language (ASL) and raises awareness of deaf culture to the community. Social network media and word of mouth was utilized for recruitment. Family members of deaf and hard of hearing individuals need to learn ASL to be able to fully communicate with one another. However, it is not uncommon for parents and other family members of deaf and hard of hearing individuals not to learn ASL, resulting in children who are not getting to fully engage in relationships with family members, and it can lead to difficulties socially and academically. Nine out of ten deaf children and born to hearing parents and of these approximately 88% of parents with a deaf child will not learn sign language. Resources in our community are limited due to our rural location and low population density. As such, the best outcomes may come from providing in home ASL classes for family members of individuals who use ASL including people who are deaf or hard of hearing.