ASL Students Experience the World of Deaf and Blind
By Dawn Jackson
Day of Silence
Spring is a perfect time for American Sign Language (ASL) students to put what they have been learning into practice for one 12 hour day (8am-8pm). By observing this day, students get an idea of what the world looks like from a Deaf person’s perspective, and find other ways to communicate with those that do not know ASL. The Day of Silence is done every year during the second semester and each year students grow to understand more about how they are treated by their peers, family and staff because they have “different abilities.” Some ASL students wrote it was frustrating when their peers would tease them because they couldn’t talk, while others were excited for them and want to learn whatever they could. At home some families learn a great deal of patience while figuring out new ways to communicate with their child. Even some of the teachers would put the ASL students together in a group so they can freely sign to each other. Since ASL is offered to 8-12th graders, this day also brings awareness throughout our communities and our Middle School and High School Campus.
Deaf Blind Experience
As students advance to ASL 3 they learn more and more about the Deaf culture from Children of Deaf Adults (CODA), to individuals that are Deaf-Blind. After the students learn how Deaf-Blind people communicate and guide each other, they are able to participate in a Deaf-Blind experience. This experience is done one day during our 55 minute class, students will be blind folded with ear plugs and first learn how to navigate around the classroom. They will learn how to communicate with other classmates without seeing or hearing them, as well as put their trust in their partner as they become their “eyes & ears” while being guided around campus.
These experiences are so impactful because it really allows the students to step out of what they feel is their “norm” and truly see what others go through on a daily basis.
“They may forget what you said but they will not forget how you made them feel.” –Carl W. Buechner