| Special to the Ledger
ELLWOOD CITY — Bonnie McConahy of Ellwood City retired from classroom teaching in 2021, but her love of teaching remains strong.
In 1992, McConahy studied American Sign Language at the Lawrence County Career and Technical Center, and now is using her skills in teaching some basic sign language to waiters and waitresses that will enable deaf customers to get a better dining experience.
“I like to keep myself moving and I want to give back to the community,” she said recently.
Using American Sign Language, a complete and organized visual language that is the predominant sign language of the deaf community, McConahy teaches just the basics they need to serve customers.
She said deaf people are no different than any other customer, so the server should smile and greet them as they always do.
“Some deaf people speak and some will tell you they are deaf by making the sign for D and touching to their ear and mouth. By using your index finger, make an X on your palm which is asking them if they want paper and pencil and they can respond by nodding,” McConahy said.
In some restaurants, they can point to the items on the menu posted on the wall or items on the printed menu, but they may need pencil and paper for preferences such as steak medium-well or no cucumber on their salad.
“I want to put up a sign that says ASL Spoken Hear,” McConahy said.
Currently, she is training the staff members of Chive and Second Ward Sanctuary and is available to give free instruction to other eateries or businesses that want it.
McConahy also does private tutoring for reading and can be reached for tutoring or ASL at 724-991-7682.
She said her tutoring fee is flexible and is based on what the family can afford.
“I’m a teacher. I love to teach. A one-on-one experience is best for me,” McConahy said. “I also have a passion for teaching adults who want to learn to read, and hopefully I will get the opportunity.”
She was inspired to teach by Lincoln High School English teacher Miss Bobin.
“I was at the blackboard to explain the difference between affect and effect. I said it is alphabetical. First …….