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After the classes are over -- what next? How to keep learning ASL without formal instruction:
An ASL learner writes:
"I enjoy your online classes so much since I'm not able to take formal ASL classes. Do you have any suggestions for students who have taken approximately 6 semesters of ASL? I don't know exactly what to do now, since I don't have any formal high level classes near me."
After you've established a basic foundation of American Sign Language it is time for you to supplement your learning and education through direct interaction in the Deaf World.
Google "Deaf Events near me" and see what turns up. Start (or continue) watching Deaf Newscasts.
Do searches online for your state's "Association of the Deaf" and then go.
Seek out your state's RID (Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf) chapter (if you want to become an interpreter)
Search for "Deaf Church near me" (if you are into religion).
Check "meetup (dot) com" for any "ASL meetups" in your area -- or pay the fee and set up your own ASL meetup and see who shows up.
Hire a Deaf ASL private tutor. Just do a search for "ASL Tutor" online.
Hire a local Deaf ASL instructor and offer small-group ASL classes in your home or some other location.
Check Facebook for any Deaf hobby groups such as "Deaf Hiking" groups, etc. Search for the word Deaf and the name of your City in the Facebook search box.
Search for "ASL socials near me."
If you can't find any ASL socials near you -- set up your own "ASL Social" and invite a Deaf person to come. Be clear with that person that they are the "anchor" (main draw) for the social and as such you will pay for their coffee or meal. The cost of a meal is a tuition bargain considering the amount of sign language you will learn. Ask them to inform you ASAP if for some reason they can't show up to the social. Consider setting up an email news list for those who do show up to the social to let them know of any changes to the schedule, location, or other related information.
If you enjoy working with young people, consider volunteering. Contact any local well-recognized long-succeeding youth-focused organizations and provide them with your contact information and desire to become a mentor for any local Deaf youth who might appreciate or benefit from an additional caring adult in their life.
Check to see if there are any Deaf Education programs in your area and then apply to become a volunteer. Get fingerprinted and the whole bit. Do fundraisers for that program. Consider buying and donating a large screen monitor or projector or some other needed equipment to the program -- but ask first so you don't saddle them with an unwanted item. If you do donate money or equipment -- give with "no strings attached." Your money doesn't buy you anything other than warm fuzzies.
If you are amazing at fundraising and/or organizing (or if you just have a lot of grit and persistence) consider forming a local Deaf-centric team to support any local Deaf Summer Camps, Deaf Space Camps, or other events serving Deaf youth in your area.
If and when disappointments happen, shrug your shoulders, sign THAT LIFE! -- and set your gaze on your next ASL-related adventure.
Also see: Meeting and Interacting with Deaf people
Also see: Meeting People who are Deaf
Also see: Negotiating a Conversation with a Deaf person
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