More than a language

Learning ASL can be beneficial in many situations


Right before the school year started, I was at work when a gentleman came in and handed me a piece of paper with his food order on it. I didn’t think anything of it at first. It wasn’t until I asked him a question that I realized he was deaf. He came in knowing that no one would be able to communicate with him.

Ever since I was a kid, I have wanted to learn American Sign Language, or ASL. Something about the language drew my attention. Having an opportunity to learn it this year has helped me learn how to better communicate with others. I highly encourage more hearing people to take the time to learn ASL.

I have the privilege to learn ASL in school and be exposed to it daily. I want to hopefully make the people who use sign language in order to communicate a little bit happier. Deaf people aren’t able to easily communicate with most people around them. 

According to a company who helps support medical supplies, shield healthcare, some special needs kids learn ASL. ASL serves as an efficient way for kids to communicate what they need and want efficiently. When a child wants or needs something they can sign without throwing a tantrum to receive their needs.

I have helped teach the adapted physical education class at SHS for three years now, and there’s one girl in particular who signs when she doesn’t want to talk. ASL allows me to communicate with her on her own terms, help her when she needs help and ensure that she feels safe around me.

ASL teacher Natalie Hendrix-Evans, who is deaf, has told me that when she’s out in public and notices a hearing person signing, it makes her feel empowered and understood.

Communicating with a deaf person as a hearing person also makes me feel empowered. It makes me feel empowered to be able to communicate with someone who I normally couldn’t.

Recently, my manager asked for my assistance. He brought me to a man up front with paper and a pen, and he told me he was deaf. I went over to him and signed, “I know a little ASL.” His face lit up with a big smile, and he immediately signed what he wanted to order. This man, like the one that came in months before, believed no one there would know ASL. But this time, I was able to help.

It’s very easy to learn the alphabet and basic numbers to help communicate with the deaf. It not only makes people feel more understood and connected, but it also makes a hearing person a little happier seeing how their interaction can impact someone else for the better.