Ultimately, communication is a challenge within cultural groups and between groups. As a specialist in the field, All HANDS IN MOTION facilitates that process.
There is no one "neat" definition to describe a person who is deaf (having a hearing loss, does not sign) and Deaf (having a hearing loss, user of American Sign Language (ASL), involved in the Deaf community). Some deaf/Deaf people use their own voices and may or may not sign. There are Oralists, adept lip readers, who, at best, understand a percentage of conversation in context. Speech-reading is a difficult skill to master as many letters/sounds look the same on the mouth.
American Sign Language (ASL) is a complex visual-spatial language.
It is used by people who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Hearing within the Deaf community.
ASL is the preferred language of the Deaf Community in the United States and English-speaking parts of Canada. ASL is a natural language, linguistically complete, and is used to discuss, comment or create the most intricate of conversational demands, whether it be of historical merit, legal argument, poetry, or philosophy. In short, anything that can be spoken can be visually imparted.
ASL is its own visual language.
ASL is not "English-on-the-hands."
It does not contain grammatical similarities to English and is not broken English, mime, or a gestural form of English. While ASL and other sign languages contain gestural components, there are also facial "signals" on the forehead, cheek and mouth areas that complete the grammatical syntax of the language. Further, ASL is a three-dimensional (3-D) language as the space surrounding the signer is incorporated to describe places and persons not present. It is a subtle language. It is a vibrant language.
ASL is not universal.
Many countries have their own signed languages.
Each country has its own language: French Sign Language, British Sign Language, Russian Sign Language, etc. each embracing cultural norms and behaviors. However, as the world "shrinks," ASL is becoming more prevalent in other countries.