by Deanna Cantor
ASL Interpreter; Baby Fingers Friend & Teacher
Whenever people ask why I became an interpreter, or what led me to ASL, I always say the same thing- “I had a great teacher”. I was introduced to sign at the age of eight years old (learning songs in church) and then again in 7th grade when I had a basic ASL class… It wasn’t until high school, with Ms. Bishop as my teacher, that I fell in love with the language and culture. She got us involved and fully immersed in such a short period of time.
From there I went on to double major in American Sign Language & Organizational Communication at Keuka College, an incredible institution that promoted Experiential Learning in every course, team, field period or club students were involved in. It was a phenomenal four years.
Now fast forward to the present. I’ve been an ASL interpreter for the Unified Court System for twelve years, and I feel very blessed and grateful to have this position. I’m fortunate to have excellent mentors and wonderful co-workers and am so happy to be working in such a collegial environment. It’s a constant learning and growing experience and for that I am thankful.
I now have two boys who I plan to teach ASL to. My oldest son, Luke is almost three. I taught him the sign for “more” when he was about 10 months old. My friends could not believe it when they saw his little hands requesting more of something – whether food, a ride on the swing or anything else that he wanted “more” of. I can’t wait to teach my 3 month old son, Dean even more.
I fell in love with Baby Fingers from the first workshop I attended with Luke – and even more during my training with Lora at her NY classes. I absolutely love being involved with Baby Fingers and hope to bring it to my neighborhood in Staten Island one day!