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Learn sign language while social distancing during the coronavirus

Beth Wagmeister (left) and WPTV anchor Ashleigh Walters
Posted at 2:05 PM, Mar 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-24 10:52:00-04

As you’re staying home and looking for ways to keep you and your family busy during the coronavirus outbreak, WPTV NewsChannel 5 anchor Ashleigh Walters has a great idea -- learn sign language!

It is one of her passions, and she recently posted on Facebook a first lesson to learning this unspoken form of communication. American Sign Language can be learned using video conferencing.

ASL is a great language to know, not only can you communicate with people who are deaf or hard of hearing, you can communicate through windows, chat from a distance and share love without touching.

Ashleigh’s former ASL teacher, deaf advocate and interpreter Beth Wagmeister, gave a free first ASL lesson.

It is complete with the alphabet and some signs for some nice words to know. You can email Beth for lessons at home or interpreting services during this time of crisis: wagmeister.beth@gmail.com

Here’s your first lesson, done from a distance:

There are several other free resources online to continue learning.

Gallaudet University offers lessons and resources.

ASL Deafined, an online ASL video textbook, has online courses, lessons and quizzes.

The ASL App can be downloaded for free, it offers basic instruction to get you started. Dr. Bill Vicars also offers videos on YouTube and at www.Lifeprint.com

You can watch Ashleigh’s stories and videos through her Facebook page. Below are some of her favorites:

* New Starbucks barista is deaf, inspiring others

* Bridging the gap between deaf and hearing

* Singer who is deaf on "America's Got Talent" moves to finals, inspires fans in path of hurricane

* America's Got Talent performer shares inspirational story