To help us find out if our sign classes help you improve your ability, we ask that you take a short evaluation before the classes start and then one again at the end of the semester.
Q: Who can participate in this program?
Q: Can children participate?
Q: How much does Family Signs cost?
Q: What are the technical requirements for the computer, webcam, and the high-speed Internet connection?
Q: Why might I need an audio connection for the classes?
Q: How many people can participate in a video class?
Q: How often do the classes meet?
Q: How do I obtain curriculum materials?
Q: I am interested in participating in Family Signs, what do I do next?
Family Signs is funded to support parents or guardians of deaf and hard of hearing children (ages birth to 21 years old) in Texas. If there are vacancies in the program, the Family Signs Coordinator may consider including other family members or caretakers of deaf and hard of hearing children. Parents are called the "Students" throughout the Family Signs website.
Family Signs is designed for adult family members or legal guardians of deaf or hard of hearing children. This includes parents, and as instructors are available, can include extended family members such as grandparents, uncles/aunts, or adult siblings.
Family Signs instruction is free. However, students will be expected to have their own:
If the student has a computer with high-speed Internet connection but does not have a webcam, we may be able to loan one. Classes are usually conducted from the student's home although other locations with high-speed Internet access may be used.
Internet service should provide a consistent connection of at least 1.0 Mbps. (download and upload).
Go to Bandwidth Place to test the speed of your computer.
Instructors and students might find it useful to have an audio connection available during the class. Many of the students will not know enough sign language in the beginning to use the video connection alone to ask detailed questions. Deaf instructors and students can use text chat on the selected video conferencing applications.
The technology we will be using is conducive to one-on-one classes or group classes of up to 3 students. If more than one member of a family participates in the program, each student may be assigned his/her own instructor.
Most instructors schedule classes with their students for one half-hour each week at a set day and time. The actual schedule will be set by each student/instructor pair.
Family Signs follows typical school semesters:
*Family Signs is funded annually and summer classes are offered only when funds remain after the Fall and Spring semesters.
Most students start with the Bravo Family Series curriculum, which is a series of 15 lessons that focus on developing basic American Sign Language (ASL) conversational skills. However, if a student already has advanced sign language skills or requests SEE, other curriculum options are available.
Students are not required to buy any curriculum materials but some have found it useful to have access to personal copies of the materials. There are several options to access materials.
Students can borrow sign language videotapes or DVDs from the Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP) . Many of these can also be viewed online using streaming video on your computer. All DCMP services are free. You will need to register as a member to watch media online or order a DVD copy to be shipped to you.
If you would like to be a student, fill out the Student Registration. You will be contacted by email after your registration is received.
If you are interested in teaching for the Family Signs program, review the instructor information.