Promova introduces ASL course to help communicate with deaf individuals when their lives are in danger

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The language laerning platform aims to break communication barriers between the deaf community and hearing people

April 15th, 2024 - On National ASL Day (April 15th), Promova is launching a free American Sign Language course for 466 million people globally who have hearing loss and anyone else who wants to learn ASL as a foreign language. The aim is to make a step towards bridging the communication gap between hearing and deaf people and encourage everyone to learn the special signs to warn deaf people about dangerous situations.

In the United States, there are roughly 11.8 million deaf and hard-of-hearing (HOH) people. But the overall number of people in the country who speak American Sign Language is only estimated to be somewhere from 500,000 to 2 million, a situation that makes effective and clear communication for both hearing and deaf individuals challenging. This problem is most acutely felt in dangerous situations when deaf individuals without hearing aid devices can’t hear alert systems, and hearing people can’t quickly explain what’s happening. 

“The use of emails, text messages, and notes on smartphones became a real help for HOH individuals for expressing their minds and significantly transformed the way deaf and hearing people communicate. Still, the number of people who can actually understand and use ASL is limited. Usually, this is “just” inconvenient for hard-of-hearing individuals. But sometimes, it can cost someone a life — for instance, deaf individuals without hearing aids can't hear a fire alarm going off or gunfire. To navigate a moment of crisis, they may need a heads up from somebody else,” says Andrew Skrypnyk, CEO and co-founder of Promova. “As an advocate for accessible learning, a more inclusive society, and breaking communication barriers between people of different cultures, backgrounds, and abilities, Promova would like to give everyone the option to learn some basic and emergency signs with our free ASL course. Knowing just a few of them could help save someone's life.”

The course initially includes 12 bite-sized lessons that cover the basics of ASL, which allow people to communicate their needs. The course additionally teaches greetings, expressing gratitude, asking for something, and ordering food and drinks to make everyday interactions easier. A valuable part of the course covers communication in emergency situations such as asking for help, warning about fire, and expressing the need to call the police or a doctor. 

Every lesson of Promova’s ASL course includes animated visuals that demonstrate the signs, written detailed instructions with step-by-step image explanations on how to sign properly, and quizzes to practice new words and phrases. The course was developed with the assistance of Corey Wys, an ASL interpreter with 10 years of experience, as well as a bachelor degree in ASL Interpretation and NIC certifications. Wys is an Adjunct Professor at Valencia College, where he teaches the Interpreter Training Program. 

“Regardless of the technological advances in listening devices, ASL will continue to flourish. Technology can’t replace that. Plus, there are individuals who decide not to use hearing aids to embrace the culture and community. They don’t see a reason to use listening devices,” says Corey Wys. “Moreover, ASL is not only a language, it’s also a culture, and an art form. With this language comes storytelling, lore, an outlet to express creativity, etc. The deaf and hard of hearing world has a rich and colorful culture and history. So, learning ASL allows one to connect and interact with a diverse and wonderful community.” 

Beginning April 15, Promova’s ASL course is accessible for free on Android, iOS, and web. 

About Promova

Founded in 2019 as a simple flashcard app, Promova is now a one-stop solution for all language learning needs. Promova offers a variety of tools, such as bite-sized lessons, a community of learners, tutoring, conversation clubs, and progress tracking. Using artificial intelligence and machine learning to create custom learning plans, Promova helps over 14 million people worldwide live their best lives by achieving their language learning goals.  

The Promova team is made up of 100+ lifelong learners passionate about languages, from philologists to professional educators and language learning advocates. They work from Ukraine, Europe, and the US and employ best-in-class teaching methodologies to make language learning accessible to people everywhere.