The American Sign Language Department celebrated ASL Week this week. The week-long celebration consisted of multiple events, including presentations, various speakers and a Sign Jam.
A showing of the Oscar Award-winning movie “CODA,” a cornhole tournament, and a Deaf/ASL Jeopardy competition were also included in the festivities.
American Sign Language is the language used by the hearing impaired throughout North America. The beginnings of the language are unclear, but according to the National Institute of Deafness, ASL was first used almost 200 years ago. The language was created using mixtures from French Sign Language.
Sign Language is an integral part of communication for the deaf community. There are roughly 600,000 people in the United States who are legally deaf.
“It is very exciting to be a part of these events,” said freshman health science major Abby Clayton, who is pursuing an American Sign Language minor. “Bringing awareness to a great cause is extremely rewarding.”
Clayton said that the events organized during Sign Week are a big part of the ASL Program. She said she also appreciates the value of being able to sign.
“I feel like it is an important skill to learn and it is very rewarding when you finally understand it.”
Sign Day was held last Wednesday, April 6, in conjunction with other Sign Week activities. On Sign Day, students ages K-12 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.
At the Sign Jam with Rodney Watson on April 2, participants learned to sign and dance with a song.