American Sign Language (ASL), Sign Language

This section of Info to Go includes information about signed languages and considerations for their use by individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Clerc Center Resources

K-12 ASL Content Standards

Standards for learning ASL that cover expected skills development from kindergarten through 12th grade. Includes viewing, published signing, discourse and presentation, language, fingerspelling and fingerreading (similar to ELA standards for reading, writing and publishing, speaking and listening, and language). Anchor standards for viewing include ASL literature, ASL informational texts, and ASL foundational skills. 

Frequently Asked Questions: Considerations for Using an ASL and Spoken English Bilingual Approach with Young Children who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing 

This FAQ, developed at the Clerc Center, responds to questions related to bilingual development in two modalities. It discusses evidence supporting an ASL and spoken English approach and the planning process essential to implementing this approach with young children. It provides references and resources related to this topic.

Learning American Sign Language: Books, Media, Classes 

This information, compiled by the Clerc Center, provides links to numerous resources for learning American Sign Language.

Sign Language Use for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Hearing Babies: The Evidence Supports It (in collaboration with ASDC)

This document, developed by Tiara V. Malloy and disseminated by the American Society for Deaf Children and the Clerc Center, discusses the evidence supporting the use of sign language with children who are deaf or hard of hearing. It is available in English and Spanish.

Sign Language Specialty Items 

This Clerc Center-compiled list includes sources that sell novelty items, crafts, gifts, and books with a sign language theme.

Language Learning Through Eye and Ear (webcast, 2017)

Two-part research-based webcast, presented by Deborah Chen Pichler, a member of the Gallaudet University Linguistics faculty, addressing how deaf and hard of hearing babies acquire language and why one should sign with babies as early as possible. It provides early interventionists a foundational knowledge to engage in dialogue with parents and professionals about the neurolinguistic benefits of early exposure to visual language for all babies. It also provides research supported data to counter inaccurate assumptions surrounding dual language learning in deaf and hard of hearing children. Included is a reference list to support this webcast.

Dispelling Myths of Language Acquisition (webcast, 2016)

Roberta (Bobbi) Cordano, 11th President of Gallaudet University, partners with Ron Stern, former Vice President of the Clerc Center, for a brief video sharing their mutual passion on the urgency of providing each child who is deaf or hard of hearing, full and early access to language through bilingual exposure to American Sign Language (ASL) and English. This video addresses common misconceptions about language acquisition for children who are deaf or hard of hearing and links to a comprehensive resource list on this topic.

Maximizing Language Acquisition: ASL and Spoken English (webcast, 2016)

Clerc Center and Gallaudet University professionals provide an evidence-based rationale for supporting language acquisition in both American Sign Language (ASL) and spoken English for young children who are deaf or hard of hearing.  They discuss the important ingredients essential to learning language as well as common misconceptions that tend to drive language and communication practices. Accompanying the webcast is a comprehensive reference list

Odyssey: New Directions in Deaf Education
(Annual magazine published by the Clerc Center)

Bilingual Storybook Apps: An Interactive Reading Experience for Children (2015)

Developing ASL Text in the Bilingual Classroom (2015)

Pioneering Program Teaches Families Sign Language Through Tele-intervention (2015)

Deaf Role Models Making a Critical Difference in New Mexico (2011)

Gallaudet University Resources

ASL Connect 

ASL Connect leverages the latest in video and digital technology to provide a rich suite of online offerings available to the public. These offerings include ASL levels one through four online, an ASL certificate program, a nationally used ASL Placement Test, ASL coaching and individualized tutoring, massive open online course (MOOC)-style lessons, and a resource center that serves as a clearinghouse for information about ASL and Deaf Culture. 

Visual Language and Visual Learning (VL2)

A Science of Learning Center at Gallaudet University on "Visual Language and Visual Learning (VL2)" established to advance knowledge and strategies related to how aspects of human higher cognition are realized through vision. They seek to determine the effects of visual processes, visual language, and social experience on the development of cognition, language, reading and literacy.  

Visual Language Visual Learning Center (VL2): Research Briefs 

This series of research briefs on visual language and visual learning was developed as a resource for educators and parents to summarize relevant scholarship and make recommendations for practice. Briefs 1 through 8 are available in English, Spanish, and Mandarin. For a description of, and links to, each of these briefs, and associated descriptions of the briefs in ASL, see: Summary of VL2 Research Briefs

VL2 Parent Information Package

This online information packet developed by the Visual Language and Visual Learning Center (VL2) at Gallaudet University provides a Parent Toolkit to help families and children learn ASL together, bilingual interactive storybook apps to encourage reading to children in ASL, and interviews with parents, researchers, and deaf adults on growing up bilingual, and/or learning sign language in life.

Research Brief 9: Family Involvement in ASL Acquisition

Research brief discussing how parental involvement is a critical factor in deaf children's language acquisition. 

VL2: ASL Assessment Toolkits

Links to information about the measures that VL2 has supported in their goal to build a "one-stop shop" ASL assessment portal.

VL2: Visual Communication and Sign Language Checklist (VCSL) 

A standardized comprehensive checklist, available through VL2, to assist in tracking young children's sign language development from birth to age 5.

VL2 Storybook Apps

Links to numerous stories in both American Sign Language (ASL) and English. Children can watch the story in ASL or start reading it in English. At any point throughout the story in English, children can tap the screen to watch that part of the story in ASL. Children can also touch specific English words to see them fingerspelled as well as being signed in ASL.

Stakeholder Resources

American Academy of Pediatrics Journal article: Should All Deaf Children Learn Sign Language? (July 2015)

Article in the "Ethics Round" of the 2015 Pediatrics Journal. A panel of individuals with varying perspectives discuss what pediatricians should consider in counseling families about what they need to know about various approaches to parent-child communication when a child is deaf. 

American Sign Language (CDC)

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a description of American Sign Language. Included is a video of ASL in action.


An online video library of ASL literature and ASL linguistics research.

American Sign Language Linguistic Research Project (ASLLRP) (Boston University)

Website of the ASLLRP with links to information about their research related to American Sign Language. Included is a link to Publications on American Sign Language.

Common Core Standards (California School for the Deaf, Riverside)

Common Core Standards for American Sign Language Arts & ASL Literacy in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects.

Deafhood Foundation

Website of organization providing education about being Deaf. Included are links to numerous resources on Deaf Culture and ASL.

Deaf/Hard of Hearing Adult Involvement Learning Community (NCHAM)

Learning community of programs involved in providing services that connect families and their deaf or hard of hearing child with deaf or hard of hearing individuals. Facilitated through the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management (NCHAM), the website of this learning community includes links to information on research and published literature, the role of technology and social media, examples of deaf and hard of hearing mentor/adult involvement programs, family stories, and other resources and tools on this topic.

Georgetown University Sign Language Research Lab (SLRL)

Website of the Sign Language Research Lab (SLRL) which is part of the Center for Brain Plasticity and Recovery and the Department of Neurology at Georgetown University. Their research includes studies of American Sign Language acquisition, processing and history, and the evolution and structure of homesign, international pidgin sign and signed languages of the world.

Communication Considerations: American Sign Language (Hands & Voices)

Information about American Sign Language provided in a Q&A format developed by the family advocacy organization Hands & Voices. Links are provided to additional resources and references.

Language Equality and Acquisition for Deaf Kids (LEAD-K) 

A national campaign to promote language acquisition and kindergarten readiness through bilingual language acquisition and learning in both American Sign Language and English for deaf and hard of hearing toddlers and youth aged 0-5. The Nyle DiMarco Foundation is partnering with LEAD-K to support this mission. 

American Sign Language (NIDCD)

Information about American Sign Language provided in a Q&A format from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, part of the National Institutes of Health. 

Salk Institute - Lab for Neuroscience - ASL Studies

Links to research from the Lab for Neuroscience at the Salk Institute about American Sign Language and the brain.

Ski Hi: Deaf Mentor Program

The Ski Hi Institute offers a Deaf Mentor program. The goal of the program is to train mentors in implementing home based training for families seeking to learn more about the cultural aspects of raising a child who is Deaf; including the learning of ASL. Their Deaf Mentor Curriculum (which is currently in the process of being updated) is available at Hope, Inc. Publications.

Through Your Child's Eyes: American Sign Language (CSUN, video, 2011)

Video created by the California Department of Education and California State University, Northridge sharing the benefits of ASL as a language for children who are deaf or hard of hearing.  Experiences of both deaf and hearing families are included.  Available in English and Spanish

Raising and Educating Deaf Children: eBulletins
(Associated with the Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, Oxford UP)

Eyes for Early Language Learning; Promoting Visual Strategies for Deaf Children (2016)

Sign Language Assessment (2015)

Last revised November 2017

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