Imagine Prep community signing up a storm
One million people in the United States are deaf.
In order to communicate, many use American Sign Language (ASL), which is a type of Sign Language that is only used in the United States and Canada. ASL is it’s own language; it has a unique grammar, vocabulary and syntax (the order a sentence goes in). There are also variations of ASL, such as Pigeoned Signed English (PSE) and Signing Exact English (SEE). Recently, there is a group of freshman who have taught themselves this form of communication.
Freshman Ella Rose started learning ASL a few years ago because of her friend.
¨I started learning in February 2014,¨ Rose said. ¨My friend was going deaf, and as a friend group we started to learn. We didn’t want them to feel left out.¨
Rose finds that it is beneficial to know sign language because she can understand people better.
“I find it’s easier to read lips, I can understand people’s body language a lot better, and if my hearing goes out I can use ASL with my friends,” Rose said. “I taught myself using websites, books, and just tried to emerge myself into deaf culture.”
Eighth-grader Avamel Yurtola started learning sign language after meeting Rose.
“I started learning in October 2017 after I met Ella on Mix it Up Day,” Yurtola said. “I learned from her, and online. It helps because if I have a presentation, or speech to remember, I will sign it and say it when I’m practicing. It is sort of a muscle memory thing.”
Freshman Caylie Csar also began learning recently.
“I started learning a few months ago because I found it interesting, and my friend knew some people that are deaf,” Csar said.
Ninth-grader Jaden Durfee started learning over four years ago because her friend was deaf.
“I was in sixth grade when I started learning, so over four years ago,” Durfee said. “I find foreign languages fascinating, and my friend was deaf. I watched videos, and signed with my friend. What I didn’t catch I just learned.”
Hannah Crawford, a freshman at Imagine Prep, enjoys being able to communicate and be part of the deaf culture.
“I began learning in September 2016,” Crawford said. “I learned from Jaden and Ella, and the internet. It is a possible career option because interpreters make a lot of money, and I am partially involved in the deaf culture.”
Students aren’t the only ones at Imagine Prep who know ASL. High School English teacher Hailey Riveroll took sign language in college.
“I started learning in 2009,” Riveroll said. “I started learning because in order to get a degree you need a foreign langugage, and I hardly remembered any Spanish from high school. My mom wanted to learn too, so I would go to class and teach her what I learned.”
You don’t need to learn sign language just because someone you know is deaf. Knowing sign language can help you understand people’s body language better, help bridge gaps between the deaf community and hearing community, and it can be a comfort for those who aren’t comfortable with speaking in social settings.