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When you have someone who does not understand what you are teaching, the first thing to do is to learn what they DO know. Here are some ways to do this.

1.Ask their name. Asking their name will give you a rough idea of the level of their knowledge of both sign language and practical knowledge. Simply sign “you name?” A quick answer shows they have some knowledge of signs.

Write your name on a paper. Give them a paper and pen and see if they can write their own name. If they can write their name, it shows they have had some schooling.

If they do not answer, ask to see their ID. (Show them your ID and point to them.) If that does not work, see if they have something with their name on it. Their clothes may have their name written on them. If you must use any of these methods, they probably have no or little education in any language.

2. Show them pictures. Show them pictures and see if they can identify anything they see. Start off with single nouns of objects. If they seem to know those, show them pictures of different common verbs. If they seem to have a good idea of simple signs, try showing them Bible pictures. This will give you an idea of how much if any Scripture they know. Continue showing pictures until you have an idea of what they do not know.

3. Watch them interact with other deaf. It will give you a better idea of what they know.

To know how to teach deaf that have a hard time understanding, first find out what they do know.

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