“Being deaf can become somewhat isolating, especially when others do not know my language,” said Chris Wood, founder of the American Sign Language teaching video series called Sign Like Me. “My hope and dream is that I can help as many people as possible learn ASL to be able to say ‘hi’ to a deaf person at the store, work with a deaf person at their job, or connect with a loved one through American Sign Language.”
Driven by connection and compassion, Wood, a BYU-Hawaii alumni who is deaf, shared how he hopes his Sign Like Me videos will teach simple sign language phrases to anyone interested in learning.
His website, SignLikeMe.com, hosts hundreds of short beginning ASL lessons. “You can fit learning a language into a busy schedule and still make a difference,” Chris said.
Chris’ little brother, Halston Wood, a sophomore studying TESOL, said, “There are families out in the middle of nowhere with a deaf child, nowhere near a deaf community to learn ASL, so Sign Like Me could help these families communicate and grow closer! There are so many possibilities with the impact it could have, from career options, to new friends, and even meeting your new spouse.”
Halston served his mission in the Washington D.C. North mission Spanish speaking, but he said he ended up teaching in ASL as well. During this time, he said he truly felt like sign language was almost his first language.
“I love his videos! They are a great way to pick up some ASL,” said Halston. “Now the impact could be bigger than you could imagine, and I'm not talking about millions of people knowing about this. I'm talking about the personal impact it could have on people.
Chris grew up in Orange County, California. His parents are hearing, and when Chris reached the age of one and a half, his parents discovered he was deaf. They were not quite sure what to do but they made the effort to learn and teach him sign language. This effort on his parent’s part contributed significantly to his success later on in life, said Chris.
“This gave me so much confidence as a kid because I could communicate in a language I could understand. I was also able to reach out to hearing friends and neighbors and teach them a few signs so that we could play together.”
This confidence led Chris to gain a passion for teaching those around him ASL. Chris served a mission in Tuscan, Arizona and later graduated from BYUH while playing for the school’s soccer team. Chris revived the ASL Club when he was at BYUH and was its president. His wife learned ASL without taking any formal classes.
When asked about his life after graduation, Chris expressed his passion for teaching and how he hopes to reach more people through Sign Like Me.
You can watch his videos at SignLikeMe.com and follow it on Facebook to see a daily ASL lesson “pop up in your feed,” Chris added.