ASLdeafined Weekly Newsletter – The Brazilian First Lady, Clarisa Vollmar, and more!

ASLdeafined Weekly Newsletter – 1/4/2019



Image result for first lady of brazil michele

Michelle Bolsonaro, via Wikipedia

First Lady of Brazil Signs During Inauguration

President Bolsonaro was sworn in two days ago in Brazil, but his wife Michele really stood out. She used Sign Language to communicate a message to the Deaf community within Brazil, and to show the country she cares. “I would like to specifically address the Deaf community, to disabled people, to those who feel forgotten… You will be valued and have your lives respected,” said the First Lady. “I feel this in my heart and I wish to contribute to the formation of the human being.” 

The First Lady also took the time to thank interpreters in Brazil for their efforts to bridge the gap between the Deaf and Hearing worlds and her husband for his support of the cause. The National Anthem of Brazil was also interpreted along with the entire inauguration in Brazilian Sign Language.

The Daily Moth reports that a deaf woman, Priscila Gaspar, was recently given a secretariat position that works specifically with people with disabilities. Many Deaf Brazilians have high hopes for this new inclusive administration. 



Clarisa, via her Fundraising Page

Deaf Spotlight: Clarisa Vollmar

Clarisa Vollmar, or “Little Pearl”, has unfortunately passed away in her sleep this week. Clarisa had a very rare condiditon called “COMMD,” which is caused by Waardenburg syndrome type 2A. This condition lead to her becoming blind and deaf. 

Clarisa had a significant following on social media: The family kept up a Facebook page so the world could follow her story. We see pictures with Santa, a tactical Christmas card specially made for her, and was even featured on National Geographic! Clarisa was one of the testers for a new vest that aims to help out the deaf and deafblind called the NeoSensory Vest.

Clarisa’s family asks that we all keep them in our prayers as they go through this trying time. The also posted a fundraiser to help with funeral costs here.



Studying with ASLdeafined

Whether you’re a newbie to our site or a seasoned senior, you’ll definitely be able to take advantage of some of our best study tips this week! Learning American Sign Language can be easy and fun if you focus and learn one sign at a time. Here’s how to get the most out of our 300+ lesson strong curriculum:

  1. Faster videos can be slowed down. In the upper left-hand corner of every video there is an option to slow down the video- just click the box that says “Slow Video Playback” and you’ll be able to review each vocabulary word at the right pace for you!
  2. Do ALL the activities. You might think you don’t need to do the activities at the end of the lesson, but we promise you: It HELPS! Students that take the time to complete all the lessons are able to reinforce key concepts in Sign Language, such as the way your hand shapes itself and the locations of signs. These activities also include English-to-ASL translating practice. By skipping these activities you are really missing out!
  3. Utilize the “My Vocabulary” feature. (Shown Right) Need to study up before that vocabulary quiz? This is the best way for a quick review. You can add vocabulary words to your “My Vocabulary” page (accessible via the Dashboard) and then review them all at once, like video flash cards! You can also access this feature via mobile so you can study on the bus, during lunch- whenever you’ve got a spare minute to practice your ASL!
  4. Practice with a friend. Now that you’ve got the hang of the vocabulary it’s time to put it to practice. Buy reviewing with a partner you gain a skill called “retention”, which is basically how well you understand another person signing to you. You know you’ve got it down if you can understand another person’s signs. Want a bit of a challenge? Try going to a “Deaf Coffee” or another meetup and sign with a Deaf person that knows ASL: It’s great practice and you might even make some new friends!

Remember that with learning any language, practice makes perfect! Taking the time to study each lesson will help you remember more down the line. 


Handshape of the week: Flat O!

The Flat-O handshape consists of an O that is flattened a bit, as demonstrated below in the sign for SHOP!

Other signs that use this handshape include: