The University community celebrated American Sign Language (ASL) Week during the first week of April. The week consisted of multiple events sponsored by CES. There were presentations, guest speakers, a Sign Jam and a viewing of the Oscar Award-winning movie “CODA.”
American Sign Language is the main sign language used by the Deaf in North America. ASL is 205 years old and was created using mixtures from Old French Sign Language, Martha’s Vineyard Sign Language, home sign systems and signs from Indigenous village tribes.
ASL is an integral part of communication for the Deaf community today. There are roughly 600,000 people in the United States who are legally deaf.
Abby Clayton, a junior Health Science major, said that the events were very special to the campus community and are a big part of their ASL Program. She is pursuing a minor in ASL.
“I feel like it is an important skill to learn and it is very rewarding when you finally understand it,” said Clayton.
Sign Day was held on April 3. At the event, students in grades K-12 from schools around the area visited campus and participated in numerous activities. Those in attendance learned the alphabet and the national anthem in ASL. They also played various sign games.
It is very exciting to be a part of these events,” said Clayton. “Bringing awareness to a great cause is extremely rewarding.”