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How To Learn Sign Language

Signing Savvy | Michigan Business


“I’m Jillian Winn and I’m John Miller. And
we’re the co-founders of Signing Savvy. It’s what we like to call the most comprehensive
sign language resource on the web. I was an educator for years of children who are deaf
or hard of hearing. And so when you’re working with the children at school, they have that
language and can see it working with the teachers but then when they go home, they are going
home often to parents who are hearing. So they would go home and that communication,
that language education would just stop. And so it was my passion to be able to take what
we were doing in school and be able to create a tool that was a communication link between
home and school, and so that’s what we did. Prior to this, when we first started, you
might have to look into a book to see what a sign looks like, which could be really difficult.
Since it’s a visual language, it’s much easier to look at it through video. You could type
in a word like ‘apple’ and it’s going to bring up video showing you basically John, the man
in the blue shirt, signing ‘apple.’ In addition to that, you can find a lot of other information
about the signs, so description of how to make the sign, an example sentence, an ASL
gloss, and there’s also other tools so you can create word lists and then you can test
yourself using flash cards and quizzes. Really, it’s unique. You can type in the words, you
can see the different variations of one sign, you have the option to look at variations.
And plus there’s not just one meaning. Each variation shows you the different meanings
that go along with that sign. We’ve actually had different students come to our studio
and sign different children’s stories. And that has been awesome because lots of parents
out there want to sign stories for their deaf children. So they can watch on our website
the actual story being signed, you know being modeled, and they’re able to copy those stories
for their children. Which is just very unique and very cool. We’ve had over now ten million
people using Signing Savvy so it’s really grown to a much larger scope and audience
than we originally intended. We have a lot of great people we work with in order to make
it work. And Michigan is a great place where we have people we can trust. There’s a lot
of different reach that we have locally where we have a lot of experts and people that we
trust and can depend on to really help us out and Michigan offers us all of those things.
The goal is always about people, about our customers, our users, those ten million people
that are coming to the site. What are we doing for them and how are we helping them. And
that’s really where the entrepreneurship drive comes from, is really just helping those people.
And everything else really falls into place. And when you get letters and emails from people
who say, you know, ‘we so appreciate your site’ or ‘we’re out in the middle of nowhere
and we really don’t have opportunity to go and take a sign language class or meet up
with people but we can go on your site and we can see it from anywhere or now we can
access it from our phone,’ or that type of thing. It’s really cool to get those letters
from people and not just from here in Michigan but like we said, from all over the country
and all over the world. People might say, ‘Where is this company? In Michigan?’ And
we’re like yeah, it’s in Michigan and we’re proud that we started it here in Michigan
and it goes all over now.

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