ASL with Carebears is an app designed for children to learn basic signs along with their favorite Care Bear characters. When the user opens the app, they can choose from one of several different categories and start learning to sign right away! Categories include Meet the Carebears, Filled With Colors, Care About Your Feelings, and Let’s Have Fun!
When the user chooses a category, they will see the target phrase signed for them. A screen will then appear allowing for a repetition of the sign, a repetition of the sign at a slower pace, an option to “favorite” the sign, and the option to move to the next sign. The repeat and favorite options are also available on screen in real time as the sign is being demonstrated. The dropdown menu on the lower right hand side of the screen brings up all the signs in this category if the user is searching for a specific sign they want to practice. The app also features picture representations of the ASL ABC’s for children to practice the alphabet.
ASL with Carebears is free to download but certain content requires the purchasing of bundles through the app. It is available now on iOS.
Just like learning any foreign language, ASL requires the user to focus on learning the specific signs and how they fit together within ASL grammar structures. The user needs to pay attention to how a word is signed much like they would need to pay attention to how a word is pronounced or spelled in a foreign language. For users who struggle with focusing skills, starting with fun signs that will motivate them to want to continue may be a way to keep them focused for learning more complex signs later on. The user could also start with signs that are simpler in nature and work their way up to longer sentences with grammar rules, etc.
Learning any new language requires the user to practice their working memory skills. Because the user needs to be constantly checking their knowledge and accessing their understanding while speaking, reading, or writing, this is a great way to practice this important skill. Learning ASL is no different. The user still needs to access their working memory because they need to see the sign being demonstrated and assign it a meaning by looking at the word on the screen. They then have to repeat the sign and perform it correctly while recalling what the vocabulary word or sentence is that they would like to convey. For users who struggle with working memory, playing the signs at a slower pace can help process this information at a more acceptable speed and could lead to greater success with sign recognition and retention.
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