American Sign Language (ASL)

  • defines American Sign Language as "a visually perceived language based on a naturally evolved system of articulated hand gestures and their placement relative to the body, along with non-manual markers such as facial expressions, head movements, shoulder raises, mouth morphemes, and movements of the body."  ASL is a language with its own unique rules of grammar and syntax.  In Texas it is the third most studied language, behind Spanish and French.  

    The Clerc Center offers the K-12 ASL Content Standards to guide classroom instruction on ASL Development for Deaf students.

    The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) offers information on American Sign Language (ASL) that includes:

    • a description
    • a brief history
    • a comparison with spoken language
    • recent research findings
    • additional resources for more information

    Hands & Voices provides an explanation of what American Sign Language (ASL) is, issues surrounding its use, questions parents should be asking, and additional resources.

    Through Your Child's Eyes: American Sign Language 

    American Sign Language: Language Acquisition/Developmental Milestones  - from the American Society of Deaf Children

    15 Principles for Reading to Deaf Children - from Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center

    Free Online ASL Classes, ASL Connect

    Baby Signs

    Baby Sign Language presents background information, a baby sign language dictionary, wall charts, flashcards, a blog, and discusses that supports using sign language with your baby, regardless of the child's hearing status or the primary mode of communication you may choose. The research suggests that using sign language with your baby, will:

    • allow them to communicate their wants and needs as early as 6 months old
    • improve cognitive and emotional development
    • increase the rate of verbal development
    • foster the bond between parent and child

    Other programs include Baby Signs Too and Signing Time


    • views ASL and English as equally important languages
    • teaches both ASL and English, typically with ASL as the primary language and English as a second language
    • values both the Deaf and hearing cultures presents the goal, benefits, disadvantages of, and resources for the Bilingual-Bicultural Educational Approach.

    Visual Language & Visual Learning (VL2) created a Research Brief on the topic of ASL/English Bilingual Education.

    National American Sign Language and English Bilingual Consortium for Early Childhood Education - an organization focusing on the development, management, and coordination of ASL/English bilingual early childhood programs

    Contact Signs

    Manually Coded English

    International Sign Language (ISL/Gestuno)

    • constructed sign language for purposes of communication during international conferences and sporting events
    • a committee of the World Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf was given the task to devise and standardize a system of international gestures
    • approximately 1500 signs

    Information about Gestuno is available on the Lifeprint website.