Many people express an interest in learning American Sign Language yet rarely pursue it because of a fear of difficulty or cost.
However, there are many ways one can learn a good deal of ASL alone. For those of us who are deaf/HoH and rely on ASL to communicate and have friends or family members who truly want to learn on their own time, these apps and websites can help tremendously! And it is especially helpful for parents who want to communicate with their toddlers.
Keep in mind that these are only tools and are not a replacement for actual in-person learning, whether through a classroom or a tutor. They can be a supplement for classroom learning but won’t ever replace the comprehensiveness of that classroom setting. Still, their usefulness in teaching basic to intermediate ASL is, without question, a God-send.
- Marlee Signs: Featuring Oscar-Winner Marlee Matlin, this free app helps you learn at your own pace how to fingerspell and sign words and phrases in ASL that most people commonly use in spoken English. THere are also in-app purchases for lesson packs to help you further along in your learning journey. Each lesson pack is about $1.99 each, though you get your first one free. Available exclusively on iOS.
- ASL American Sign Language: A free app in the Google Play Store, it uses games, facts and history to help you learn more and at a great pace. You get the alphabet, numbers and conversational phrases like most apps but you also get quizzes to help you not only retain the knowledge but it helps you understand it more.
- The ASL App: This is another thorough app that lets you learn at your own pace. Featuring Deaf celebrities such as America’s Next Top Model winner Nyle DiMarco and performance artist Kriston Lee, this fully featured app lets you save favorites to come back to later, slow motion option and a search index. Like Marlee Signs, it also has in-app purchases, some of which are free. This is also exclusively on iOS.
- Dr. Bill Vicars: His YouTube Channel is a great resource for learning ASL. Utilizing a teaching setting to learn how deaf people themselves use the language, the videos offer a comprehensive way to learn ASL in an easy to view way. It helps to have Closed Captioning enabled on YouTube while watching the videos.
- Sign With Robert: This popular YouTube series features Robert DeMayo, filmed by award-winning filmmaker Hilari Scarl, presents ASL in a way that is both informative and fun to learn. From words and phrases to numbers and even stories, you’ll learn more than you thought possible from a video series. With 150 chapters spread out over 30 videos, the series is very comprehensive! You can also peruse SignWithRobert.com and this page with tons of gifs to help you retain the knowledge gleaned from the Sign with Robert series.
- ASLPro: This is a completely free (with optional donation button) website to learn ASL, complete with quizzes, games and a video dictionary of hundreds of individual signs, the alphabet and numbers. One of the best parts about ASLPro is that it has a section called ASL For Babies. This will help your small toddler communicate with you their wants and needs since they can’t yet speak. It is one of the best resources for learning ASL outside of an actual classroom.
- LifePrint: Featuring Dr. Bill Vicars from the YouTube series, LifePrint is another comprehensive website with a lot of content to learn from. From jokes to spreadsheets to ASL Font to even more, LifePrint leaves almost no stone unturned.
This is but a small sampling of resources that one can use in order to learn or supplement your learning of American Sign Language. Whether on your smartphone, tablet, desktop or laptop, you can rest assured to have some form of ASL learning at your fingertips!