In the Community: Online ASL Classes from the Hearing and Speech Agency

Learn American Sign Language from a Deaf instructor in these online courses from the Hearing and Speech Agency, a highly-respected Baltimore non-profit.

Registration now open for

  • Spring 2023: January 23-March 27, 2023
  • Summer Session 1: April 17-May 15, 2023
  • Summer Session 2: May 29-June 26, 2023

 2-hour classes meet once a week online.

Class Descriptions

Beginning Conversational ASL 1

  • In this first class, you will learn the basics of sign articulation. Proper articulation will help you communicate with native users of the language. You will also learn how to produce the manual alphabet. ASL uses the same alphabet as English and words are spelled the same in both languages. This class wraps up with some grammatical tips, stressing smooth transitions from one sign to another, and linking signs together to effectively convey topics such as introducing yourself, exchanging personal information, discussing surroundings, and explaining where you live.

Beginning Conversational ASL 2

  • In this class, you will use all the sign execution skills learned in the Beginning Conversational ASL 1 class in real sentences. You will start with some basic information and a few rules. This class will move to common words and some easy sentences. Finally, you will try out these new skills to sign about the weather, basic numbers, your family, telling about activities, giving directions, and describing others.

Beginning Conversational ASL 3

  • The third class in the series starts with a review of a few key points, such as articulation and linking signs. Then, you will practice making your own simple sentences. All you will need to do is plug in the signs you need. Next, you will learn how to ask questions and additional simple sentence structures. Finally, you will learn some fun slang in addition to making requests, signing about family and occupations, attributing qualities to others, and discussing routines.

Beginning Conversational ASL 4

  • Whether it is your first time in this course, a repeat to refresh your skills, or because you simply wanted to maintain the language you learned in previous classes, this class fosters the needed practice to master the art of conversation while perfecting the finer points of ASL. Students learn through fun and varied ASL activities in this course to improve ASL skills. It’s an excellent way to take your language learning to the next level, maintain your current skills, and develop new ones. Students are encouraged to take this course multiple times.

Conversational ASL

  • This five-week course is designed to help students develop and mature foundational communicative skills to prepare them for everyday conversations in ASL. In addition, students will further master their fluency through the interactive stylized nature of the course. Students should have taken at least one ASL class before taking this class.

ASL Fingerspelling

  • Fingerspelling (spelling out words by hand using the ASL manual alphabet) is an important part of ASL and a valuable tool if you do not know signs in ASL. You will also find an increase of fluency with your ASL execution after completing the fingerspelling lessons taught in this class. This is because proper nouns are fingerspelled in ASL and have been deemed to be part of the foundation of the language. This class will take you through fingerspelling practice sessions on various topics and you will leave the class understanding and executing the manual alphabet in ASL.

Specialized Deaf Culture Topics

  • This is a five-week course providing a historical overview of the American Deaf community and its evolving culture. Deafness as a culture and not a disability is explained as participants are guided into the world of Deaf culture.

To see the complete schedule and register, click here.

Program offerings featured in “In the Community” posts are not affiliated with Stories by Hand and are shared to spread the word about other ASL learning opportunities.

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