I started taking up ASL because of my sister. She started it taking as a freshman and I would always see her signing around the house. I grew interested in the language she took up. I knew sign language was a unique language and I thought it would be easy to take up when I entered high school. My sister always insisted that I should take it up to learn something new. My first class seemed easy at first, but I didn’t know how much I had to remember exactly.
Learning a new language is always hard to take up at first, but if you always watch and listen it can stay imprinted into your mind. Introductions are really simple as long you remember how to finger spell the alphabet. It took me a long time to remember the specific letters and with the words that came after them. Aside from fingerspelling, I had a bit of trouble signing in complete sentences and getting involved in a conversation. I felt stiff when I was signing and I wasn’t very expressive with my emotions. ASL 1 was more of an intro to the basics of American Sign Language and the Deaf community. Up until now, I never knew how much the Deaf community had to offer for everyday society.
Deaf people don’t usually have the luxury of having a normal life. They are usually ridiculed for their hearing loss. It’s as they were all shut out of society just because of their disability. Fortunately, my teacher taught about our class about Deaf gain, where people don’t see deafness as an obstacle but as a benefit to a whole new perspective.
Deaf people are seen differently just because they are missing of the five senses. That one fact doesn’t stop them from trying to accomplish their goals in life. Take Mandy Harvey, for example. One of the finalists of America’s Got Talent for her musical talent, Mancy lost her hearing when she was 18 years old, but she still kept performing. She can perform while feeling vibrations to keep up with the pacing of the music. She even earned the Golden Buzzer for her amazing audition. I was so inspired by the courage of this young woman, and many others like her. There are so many deaf celebrities who were not afraid to stand out.
Being a hearing student and learning ASL, my teacher told my class to keep learning sign language so that we could have to communicate to those who need it most. We are given the chance to experience a whole community with what we’ve been taught. My sister doesn’t take ASL anymore, but she still keeps up her signing in order to keep practicing. I keep practicing on my own time, in class, and at ASL Coffee.
I recommend learning this language to anyone who wants to be involved in a whole other community and whoever wants to communicate to gain a new perspective.