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Adapting for
Deaf Young Women

* We plan on passing out the hand alphabet the prior Sunday, then having a panel discussion that night with both deaf and hearing signers on the panel, including our Young Woman. ~Lisa

* Use a trained interpreter. Interpreting is definitely hard work and should be done by people who know what they are doing. Deaf people come to church to learn about the gospel, not to be a practice session for a beginner. ASL is a different language and not just signs replacing words. ~Theresa

*Fingerspelling is good and then learn the basic signs. Don't worry about colors, animals, etc. Find the signs that you are likely to use and learn them. There is a great video and book from the church that is full of strictly church terms (i.e. missionary, priesthood, sacrament, etc.) Your ward can order it or you can buy it for yourself at Deseret or through distribution. Don't forget that paper & pen, chalkboard, great for communicating. ~Theresa

* -Try your hardest and make them feel comfortable.

-Understand that many deaf people have very limited knowledge of deep gospel principles (as a result of not hearing any of the lessons and rarely having interpreters).

-When writing back and forth, their English may not be so great. Don't judge. Some deaf people have wonderful English, most don't.

-If you can teach the girls one song in sign and have them do it for a sacrament meeting, it will mean more than you know. To have people learn their language is a real pleaser for most deaf. They appreciate that you would take the time to actually communicate.

-Make sure your library or bishop has a closed caption decoder (a little black box) that will pop up the captions on 99% of church movies. Most movies are meaningless without the verbal exchange.

-Use the chalkboard more. Write big words down. Scripture references too. If you are listing service ideas (for example), take the time to write them. It helps understanding and lessens the work of the interpreter.

-Allow extra time for them to find scriptures. They can't start looking for the book while you are saying the chapter and verse like hearing people.

-A simple wave and a smile will make anyone's day brighter. :-) ~Theresa

* Theresa can provide more information. Email her at (new address)

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