Breakthrough Achieved: In-Depth Post 5


So today is a great day, I have finally found a mentor to help me with ASL this year. It took a long time but I did it.

As to date I have been in contact with 4 different organizations and sent out dozens of emails with either no reply or people saying they can’t commit for whatever reason. So over the break I did a lot of work to find a mentor before I left for vacation. I ended up getting in contact with a girl named Laura Ceron that went to my middle school. Her older sister Andrea, who studied ASL throughout high school and university, is going to be mentoring me this year. She’s super nice and should be able to provide me with tons of material and support. With her being so young we have a lot more in common I feel and I think it will make it super easy for us to work together. We have been talking and should I am trying to meet next Wednesday because I am super busy this weekend. With players billeting at my house from Saturday to Wednesday morning I won’t be able to meet until that afternoon.

I’m super excited about this, even though it’s super late to have found a mentor at least I have one and I can continue to move forward with what I have. The other thing about finding her so late is that I’ve had a lot of time to learn the basics on my own, so when we do meet we can go over more complicated ASL skills which is something I really want to do. Other than just practicing with my mentor, and as I have said before, there are tons of resources to help my learning. I’ve been using the ASL app which has been super useful and because it’s on my phone I can practice wherever and whenever I have free time. I’m super excited that my ASL classes start in two weeks at Pinetree Community Center. The books and CD’s I found in my mom’s old collection, despite being super old, have been helpful too. Although when I watch the CD’s I usually end up laughing at the way people dressed 15 years ago. The ASL dictionary, like any dictionary, is a bit dry but is super useful for explaining how signs that look very similar mean different things.

ASL Green Books

This is one of the books that my mom used when she studied ASL

ASL Dictionary


Getting Close To A Breakthrough: In-Depth Post #3


So, it’s week six and I’m still without a mentor which is pretty frustrating but I am really trying everything I can to get one. So far everyone I’ve tried to contact is either moved away or is too busy to help me which sucks. But I have not given up! This week I got in email contact with Max Vincent from the Hearing Resource Department of SD43. I gave him the details of the project and he is searching for someone who would be available and able to meet my needs. Once again I’m awaiting a response, so fingers crossed. This week I also talked to Ms. Cridge at Gleneagle about finding a mentor. She also offered to get me in contact with some people she knows that sign. However, she did stress that the people she knew were very busy, one of them being pregnant.

Nevertheless, I am still learning sign whenever I can between searching for a mentor or doing other school work. In the last week I started learning some basic gestures such as “Hi, how are you?” “Good morning,” “Good afternoon,” and “Good night.” My finger spelling has also come a long way in the last little bit, which is exciting. I tried to upload another couple videos but my computer wouldn’t let me. So I’ll try to get them up in my next post.

As for answering some of the questions here are some of my answers to the questions that I could answer.

  1. How many times are we going to be meeting? How regular? How long is each session? Time commitment?

Although it depends on my mentor’s schedule, I’d like to be meeting at least once every week or two. Meetings, depending on how much content is being covered, will probably be around an hour or two. If that doesn’t work with my mentor we could meet every, say, three weeks or so for a longer time and cover a couple blog posts.

  1. How are we going to be communicating? Online? In person? Over the phone?

Preferably, I’d like to meet in person. I think with something like ASL which has so many components that are hands on, it’s best to learn it in a face to face environment. Over the phone definitely would be my last option as I wouldn’t be able to see them. Perhaps Skype or some other kind of video chat would work too.

  1. How do we maintain our connection with one another?

The best way to keep connection would be over email. It’s safe and reliable, and allows me to keep track of what has been said.

All in all, it’s been definite challenge this year with the mentor situation. But I think I’ve learned a lot from this experience. Although it’s frustrating to be looking with no reward, it’s shown me that I can’t expect everything to always come together easily. It’s also helped me meet some of my goals for this year. One being raising my confidence levels and not being afraid to reach out and talk to people. This is something I’ve had to do a lot because I’ve been trying to get in contact with complete strangers. Anyways that’s just little update on my progress so far, hopefully I get to that breakthrough.


Alphabet Aerobics: In-Depth Post #2


Over the past few weeks I have been working on two main goals; finding a mentor and working on my ASL skills on my own. As for finding a mentor I haven’t been very lucky. I tried to get in touch with several potential mentors, and all the options lead to dead ends. I have however recently found a couple more possibilities for mentors that look promising. Rob Luinenberg, a retired hearing impaired educator and friend of my mom, may be available. The phone number my mom had for him was out of service, so I tried him on email and I am awaiting a response. Just in case that doesn’t work, I am trying to find a new phone number for him.

On to my progress so far I have learnt the ASL alphabet, and have begun to finger spell words like my name and favourite colour. There are tons of ASL apps out there, a few of which I downloaded and have been using. You can play memory games and watch videos that help with finger spelling and word memorization.

Here is a video of me finger spelling the ASL alphabet…

It didn’t me long to learn the alphabet itself, but putting the letters together to form words is a bit more complicated as you’re not just going through the motions of the alphabet and you don’t have the song to go along! However, I have been making lots of progress and I’m super excited to keep learning. It’s also helpful to learn these basic skills before I meet with my mentor, because this way when we do meet we can focus on the more challenging things I want to learn.

ASL alphabet



Signing in to In-Depth 2016

For this years In-Depth I have chosen sign language or more specifically american sign language (ASL). Sign language is the use of hand shapes and movement of the hands, arms, and torso as a means of communication. Although it is used primarily by the deaf community, sign language is used by people who can hear but may not have the ability to orally express themselves as well. ASL is the main sign language used in (you guessed it) America, as well as in Canada and also in many countries in Africa. ASL was founded in the early 19th century at the American School for the Deaf and is said to be used by around 500,000 people.  It is commonly misconceived that all sign language is the same, but just like spoken language there are many different forms of sign language. For example Mexico and Spain have completely different sign languages even though Spanish is the primary language in both countries. Last recorded in 2013, there are 137 different sign languages used worldwide.

I had a bit of a hard time picking and In-Depth this year. I started off with the idea of doing power-lifting because of my interests in sports and fitness, and I think it would have been really fun. However it wasn’t very far out of my comfort zone. Sign language on the other hand, was more out of comfort zone, and was also something that I was highly interested in learning about. ASL has been something that I’ve always been interested in learning. It has also been something that I never got a chance to learn so it is perfect for In-Depth, and I’m super excited to start this project.   signlanguageimage

Lastly on some goals for this project and the matter of a finding a mentor, I am currently still trying to find a mentor. There are a few possibilities that I have looked in to. My mom took an ASL course at night school and then Douglass College so she has some connections that may put me on the trail of a mentor. There are also a ton of apps and online courses to keep me busy and learning in the meantime. They will also help with my goal of being able to have a regular conversation in ASL with someone else. This involves knowing hand shapes, gestures, basic grammar, and sentence structure. A short term goal that I want to fulfill in the next month or so is to learn the entire ASL alphabet. Overall I’m on the right track, just need to secure a mentor and I’m good to go. Should be a great final In-Depth!