“Deafness is not the opposite of hearing. It’s a silence full of sound.” ~ Mark Medoff
I began my ASL journey by watching instructional videos online. I started with basic lessons of the alphabet, fingerspelling and later transitioned to grammar rules. Once I had an understanding of the language, I began translating poems, monologues and songs in ASL and Pidgin Signed English (a combination of ASL and English). I have now been signing for five years.
Why I Sign
This semester I had the incredible opportunity to volunteer at the Area 10 Special Olympics Basketball Tournament hosted on Ouachita’s campus. I volunteered with the Women of Tri Chi knowing that we would be cheering for the athletes. What I did not know was that I would have the opportunity to serve as a translator. I received a phone call from my friend, who told me that I was needed on the basketball court to translate, as one of the athletes was Deaf. I was filled with excitement! When I found him, he looked confused and overwhelmed. When I started signing, Philip was instantly calmer and tears filled his eyes as we communicated. I translated the rules for the games and cheered for him at each station. The reason I sign is for moments like these. It was truly an incredible opportunity that I will never forget!
Some advice in case you ever encounter a Deaf person:
I’ll “sign” off with this: remember that God does not make mistakes. They may not be able to hear, but they do not need to be “fixed.” The problem is not that Deaf people do not hear, but that the hearing world does not listen.
Check out how Kat announced Ouachita as her college decision!
“Hello friends and family! I am SO excited to announce that I will be attending Ouachita Baptist University in the [fall]. I will double major in political science and social justice and minor in legal studies. I am so excited! (Clap) I love you!”
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