Have you ever talked to someone who speaks another language? It’s hard to communicate, right? That is how deaf people feel every day when they try to understand spoken English. The language of deaf people is American Sign Language. It is important to give sign language rights to all deaf people so they can communicate with each other and hearing people.
Times when deaf people do not need to think about communicating are called “deaf events.” Everyone signs. Deaf people can understand everyone. It’s a time for everyone to be proud and be involved in their culture. Deaf people who use ASL and are involved in Deaf culture are called “big D” Deaf. This means that they think of themselves as being part of a culture that has its own language, not lacking the ability to hear.
When people who sign are not around deaf people, it’s still important for them to be able to access sign language. For example, it’s important to have sign language at school because deaf people need to understand what’s going on and what the teachers are saying, so they don’t miss out on anything. If they do miss instruction, then they might get bad grades for not understanding. At my school, I have an interpreter all day and every day so I can communicate with hearing people. Because I have an interpreter, I do not miss instructions and I can communicate with my teachers. This is just one example. Deaf people should also have the right to an interpreter at their jobs, restaurants, doctor appointments, and in the community.
It’s important to give sign language rights to all deaf people because if we don’t, they will never be able to communicate with the hearing world. We don’t want deaf people to feel lonely just because they cannot hear and speak. I’m lucky that I’m Deaf and my family signs. Many deaf children sign at school, I encourage those families to learn sign so they can communicate with their deaf child.
I’m proud of being Deaf and who I am. Let’s start giving access to sign language for all deaf people. We want deaf people to be able to communicate with everyone without limitations and frustration. The International Day of Sign Languages is Sept. 23, 2019. Visit www.nad.org for information about the International Week of the Deaf.