Learning sign language in rural Minnesota or Wisconsin could be a challenge, according to American Sign Language interpreter Jennifer Lohman of Red Wing.
There is not a large deaf population, so there are few opportunities to practice, and there are also limited opportunities to take lessons.
She said it is easier to find sign language classes in the Twin Cities or in Faribaultk, which is home to the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf. However, there are some options for people to learn sign language no matter where they live.
The University of Wisconsin-River Falls continuing education program offers an online course called Discover Sign Language. It is a six-week course with 24 hours of instruction and teaches the basics of sign language and an introduction to deaf culture. More information about the class, including a course syllabus, can be found at www.ed2go.com/riverfalls/online-courses/learn-sign-language.
The Minnesota Department of Human Services, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Division, has a web page that contains links to sign language organizations, as well as links to colleges and universities which teach sign language. There are multiple online courses -- some free -- and links to several apps that can help with sign language instruction. The MDHS web page can be seen at mn.gov/deaf-hard-of-hearing/learning-center/asl-resources.
Lohman said there are many books and videos available that can help people learn to express and receive in order to communicate in American Sign Language.