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Man uses social media to teach others ASL so kids don't experience what he did as a child

Every child should be able to communicate in a way that works best for them.

Man teaches people ASL so no child experiences what he did

People start communicating from the moment they enter the world usually through cries, faces, grunts and squeals. Once infants move into the toddler phase the combine all of their previous communication skills with pointing and saying a few frequently used words like "milk," "mama," "dada" and "eat."

Children who are born without the ability to hear often still go through those same stages with the exception of their frequently used words being in sign language. But not all hearing parents know sign language, which can stunt the language skills of their non-hearing child. Ronnie McKenzie is an American Sign Language advocate that uses social media to teach others how to sign so deaf and nonverbal kids don't feel left out.

"But seriously i felt so isolated 50% of my life especially being outside of school i had NONE to sign ASL with. Imagine being restricted from your own language," McKenzie writes in his caption.


The dad explains that he was the only deaf child on both sides of his family and no one spoke ASL to him outside of school. Because of his experience feeling isolated within his own family, he decided to build his social media platform around ASL literacy, his followers look forward to his daily lessons. Parents and teachers of deaf and nonverbal children thank him for the work he's doing and often request certain signs to help them communicate.

McKenzie advocates that ASL become a language taught in elementary schools as a standard part of curriculum so students are able to effectively communicate with everyone around them. In one of his more recent videos, he teaches parents how to sign basic words children may need to know like, "pizza," "don't touch," and "follow me."

Parents and educators jumped into the comments to ask for help learning more signs.

"I work in school, and I would like to know school materials like: paper, crayons, pencil, paint, brushes, or words like: homework, test, recess. Thanks," someone writes.

"Can you do “gentle” or “careful”? Like for a toddler with a new baby at home," another asks.

"I love this so much. My son is non-verbal and struggles with learning any way to communicate. I feel me trying to learn ASL is something that will help him- I appreciate you, we all do," a commenter reveals.

Not everyone will pick up ASL quickly, but McKenzie's approach to repeat the signs three times and give signs for different situations that people frequently incur is likely most helpful. When learning a language, even our first language, we pick up on words used the most in familiar situations so giving context to the signs can help it stick. Hopefully more people are inspired to learn from McKenzie to make the world more accessible to others.

17 -year-old entrepreneur Mateusz Mach had a simple, fun thought: He wanted to make an app that would allow him to send ironic hand gestures to his friends.

The idea was that he and his friends would know what the signals meant, but anyone else who happened to see the message wouldn't.



Photo via Mateusz Mach, used with permission.

So in May 2015, Mach launched Five, an app that would allow users to trade custom hand signs by tapping on buttons illustrated with different hand positions.

Image via Five App/YouTube.

Then something interesting happened.

Mach started to get messages from people who are deaf or hard of hearing thanking him for making an app that was enabling them to communicate with each other using American Sign Language.

Image via Five App/YouTube.

This idea that had started as a silly way to communicate with friends now had potential to be, as Mach calls it, "the world's first messaging app for [deaf people]."

With that newfound purpose, Mach immediately hit the road competing in (and winning) local startup competitions and attracting media buzz as a promising young entrepreneur.

Mach delivering a talk at TEDxGdynia. Image via TEDx Talks/YouTube.

Next he started to seek funding. And despite the challenges of being now 18 and still in high school, Mach has raised $150,000 in funding in Poland, and the UN has pledged support for the next version of the app.

Five now reaches 10,000 users who are deaf or hard of hearing, and the company is expecting more than 150,000 in the U.S. within a year. And the best is yet to come. In addition to making the app usable for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, Five App is also planning to reach out to businesses that might want to use the app to communicate with clients in the deaf community.

Mach is a fantastic example of what can happen when young people have access to technology, are able to develop their skills, and are free to create the things they wish to see in the world.

Even when the idea is as seemingly straightforward as emoji-like hip-hop inspired hand signals, the unintended consequences can change lives.

Checkout the video below which explains more about how Five works:

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The way this NBA star gave back to a local deaf school will make you a fan.

Zach LaVine's big donation to a local school for deaf children is a win for humanity.

Maybe you've heard of Minnesota Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine, known for his monster dunks.

He's the kind of guy who can do stuff like this.


All GIFs from NBA/YouTube.

And this.

So it probably shouldn't come as a big surprise that he won the NBA's Slam Dunk Contest for the second year in a row.

Even better? He took $10,000 of his slam dunk prize money and donated it to the Metro Deaf School in St. Paul, Minnesota.

After getting drafted by the Timberwolves in 2014, he was on the lookout for a way to give back to the community. As it turns out, LaVine took American Sign Language classes in high school and college, and what he learned there made him want to help the MDS.

The school didn't have a kitchen, so LaVine donated his dunk contest winnings to build one.

Not only that, but he was there on the first day helping serve the school's students:


"The biggest part for me growing up was interacting with kids during lunch time and recess," he told ESPN. "They get all their meals catered in. I just thought it would be cool for them to be able to socialize and be able to hang out with each other, eat food together, instead of having to sit in class and eat."

The kids were surprised to learn LaVine knew sign language, making him an even bigger hero in their minds.

"The kids were like, 'He knows how to sign!'" Susan Lane-Outlaw, the school's executive director, told ESPN. "That's the biggest thing. He knows American Sign Language. I think the kids connect with that. From there it just blossomed."


It's always cool when athletes give back to the local community, but this was truly a *ahem* slam-dunk move on his part.

Way to go, Zach LaVine! Good on you!

You can watch LaVine take on Aaron Gordon in this year's Slam Dunk Contest finals below.

When Adele's latest single "Hello" dropped, people were having feelings.

Lots of feelings.


When @adele puts out a new single... She's done it again! 💔😭🙌#Hello #25 #SheHadMeAtHello
A photo posted by Kate Hudson (@katehudson) on

Adele explained that "Hello" is "not about an ex-relationship, a love relationship, it's about my relationship with everyone that I love. It's not that we have fallen out, we've all got our lives going on and I needed to write that song so they would all hear it, because I'm not in touch with them."

It turns out a lot of people can relate to that.

Adele's original video was beautiful — beautiful enough, in fact, that it's been viewed over 264 million times so far.

But there's another version of "Hello" that's memorable and beautiful, too — and it's making us have those feelings all over again. It's a sign language interpretation of it.

GIFs via Molly Lou Bartholomew/Vimeo.

Molly Lou Bartholomew is a professional nationally certified ASL interpreter. She shared on her YouTube channel that her "number one passion in life" is "artistic/theatrical interpreting in ASL (American Sign Language)."

We're glad she shares her passion, because she's sooo good.

You probably want to watch the whole thing while listening to the lyrics, right? Enjoy the feelings all over again!

It's estimated that there are 500,000 to 2 million American Sign Language users in the U.S.

Just last week, a video of a woman named Rebecca King uploaded to Facebook went viral. King, who is deaf, was placing her order in ASL at a Starbucks, where the barista communicated with her using ASL on the video monitor at the drive-through. The video has been viewed over 10 million times, bringing a lot of exposure to the value of communication using ASL.

Bartholomew's stunning interpretation of "Hello" just exemplifies the beauty of the language.