A man from Rochester, New York, named Chad Krohn, has been communicating via sign language before he could even learn how to speak.
Chad’s mother is deaf, while his father is an ASL interpreter, so they are all well aware of the impacts that communication barriers can have. But this is especially true if you’ve been living in Rochester, which has one of the highest per-capita populations of hard-of-hearing or deaf people anywhere around the world.
The very first word that Chad learned was ‘ball’, and since then, he’s become fluent in the American Sign Language, but actually wanted to do more. His wish was for everyone in his city to learn how to sign and be fluent in ASL. So he devised a very interesting plan.
He saw that one of the apps that people use most was Snapchat, in order to send funny pictures or use some neat filters. But the app also proved to be very educational, if you know how to really use it. Snapchat became the perfect medium for Chad to share his lessons on how to sign in ASL. And signing up for his ASL course is free and really easy. All you have to do is get Snapchat on your phone, add his account so he can be your friend, and just start learning the language through his Snapchat stories.
Chad’s main goal is that none of his students are feeling left out, so after he signs a word, and posts the story, he asks all of his Snapchat followers to respond, signing the same word in return. He said that he saw the app as an opportunity to teach people since he hadn’t seen anyone make any effort into teaching sign language this way. He says that he uses his fingers to spell out a word, and have the viewers guess what that means. And then he reposts the correct answer so that he includes as many people as possible.
Chad also says that so far, he’s had to teach people who were in their 70s how to use Snapchat, and he’s been helping parents to improve their communication with their deaf kids. And he’s reached people far outside of Rochester in the two years he’s been teaching ASL. In fact, he has students on five different continents that are learning from him.