The importance of compulsory ASL education

Creating a more inclusive society by learning American Sign Language

Chloe Palmiere, News Editor

I have always wanted to learn American Sign Language and I never really had a good opportunity to do so, or so I thought.

In high school we had an ASL club, but it was never taken seriously, and it eventually just did not work out.

I never really encountered anyone who was hard of hearing during my high school years. Since then, I stopped thinking about it as much and sort of forgot about wanting to continuing learning it.

But while I was registering for my classes this semester, I noticed that sign language was offered. Once I saw that it fit in my schedule, I immediately registered for it.

Leading up to this semester, when I would tell people that I was scheduled to take ASL, they all were in awe. They would say that they wished that they could take a class or knew more about it.

It really opened my eyes that not many people really know anything about ASL, and that really saddened me. I know that sometimes it is hard, when you are either working or in school, to find time to try and learn something new, but there are so many different ways people can learn or even teach themselves ASL without doing it in a classroom setting.

Once the class started, I realized how amazing this language really is, and in my opinion, ASL is easier to learn than any other language I have been required to learn.

We have only had three class sessions thus far because it is a once-a-week class, and I feel as if I already know the majority of the basics.

Obviously, I am not some advanced pro in ASL, but I feel as if I could have somewhat of a conversation with someone who is hard of hearing. Even if that means fingerspelling, it is better than nothing.

So many people who are hard of hearing struggle with doing daily tasks that someone who is hearing finds very elementary, whether that be going grocery shopping, going to the doctor, getting a haircut, etc.

All of that can be very challenging because most Americans do not know any sign language.

Imagine if you had to go to the hospital for an emergency, and you tried to explain and express what was going on, but no one could understand you.

That is how people hard of hearing feel. Imagine if you go to order some coffee and the worker just does not get what you are saying. It is embarrassing and upsetting. That is how people hard of hearing feel.

We can prevent this from happening just by trying to learn simple basic ASL.

You do not have to be fluent in this language to make someone’s day better and or to understand them. 


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