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Basic sign language class for families offered weekly at Sally J. Pimentel Deaf & Hard of Hearing Center in Fort Myers

Sally J. Pimentel Deaf & Hard of Hearing Center will offer free weekly American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf Culture instruction for families with deaf or hard of hearing children. The sessions are free every Tuesday from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. during the school year at the center located at 1860 Boy Scout Drive in Fort Myers.

The sessions are led by a parent of a deaf child and are designed to help parents and siblings learn basic ASL to understand the needs of their deaf or hard of hearing family member.

“Three out of every four parents who have a deaf child do not learn sign language and have very little communication at home,” said. Alicia Miller, executive director of the center. “Our goal is to help families bridge this gap by instilling the skills they need to communicate effectively. A short time after starting classes at the beginning of the last school year, our weekly attendance multiplied from just a couple parents to nine families, including children, aunts, grandparents and cousins. As interest in these classes continues to grow, we are thrilled to extend this learning opportunity to more and more families within our community.”

Parents will learn basic communication and sign language, deaf culture and the struggles of raising a deaf child. Siblings play and learn to communicate with their sibling with sign language. Families come together at the end of each session to practice what they learned. Guest speakers, such as other hearing parents who have had success raising their deaf child and learning sign language or teachers who talk about educating deaf children are sometimes scheduled. Families are encouraged to attend the sessions as often as they like, as education is ongoing.

For information, call 239-461-0334 voice phone, 239-247-5821 video phone, or visit dhhc.life.

About Sally J. Pimentel Deaf & Hard of Hearing Center

Founded in 1983 as The Deaf Service Center, we are the only organization of its kind in SWFL — specifically working to improve the quality of life for the deaf and hard of hearing citizens and their families through education, advocacy and community involvement. A wide range of services are offered to deaf and hard of hearing children and adults of Lee, Charlotte, Collier, Hendry, Glades and DeSoto counties, including interpreting services, free telephone equipment loans, deaf mentor program, American sign language classes, information and referral services, employment assistance, family education, community outreach and education, and adaptive equipment sales. For information, call 239-461-0334 voice phone, 239-247-5821 video phone, or visit www.dhhc.life.

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