This is a short article but I wanted to discuss a topic I find very important. Over the summer I decided to take an American Sign Language class and it is one of the best classes I've ever been in. I’ve learned so many things that I will actually be able to use throughout my life, unlike what I've learned in any geometry class, Western civilization class, or any other class that I was forced to take while growing up.
I decided to take this class for a number of reasons. One reason was because when I was in second grade, I was diagnosed with cholesteatoma, a growth in my ear canal, which required three four-hour surgeries to remove. As the growth was eventually completely removed, each surgery caused hearing loss in my right ear. My doctor feared that if the growth continued to reappear I could go completely deaf. Now it's been several years since I've had any ear issues, but you never know what can happen in the future. Also, over the past couple of years I've encountered quite a few deaf people (or people that have deaf relatives) who sign, which fascinated me and urged me to learn ASL.
The things I've learned in this class are so important because now I can hold conversations and communicate with people that are hard of hearing, which can prevent awkward encounters and also give me more options in my future career. Being able to communicate with someone who is deaf is a great skill to have. Also, while taking this class I've learned how to act and react to someone who cannot hear. If I were to have a child that was deaf or going deaf, I would know to not try to change them. You can’t make a deaf person a hearing person, that is just not who they are.
I’ve also learned about the deaf community, which is extremely cool. It's incredible how deaf people communicate with each other, watch television, know when their phone is ringing, know when someone is ringing their doorbell, know when their baby is crying, etc.
I highly recommend taking an ASL class because learning a new way to communicate is extremely interesting and inspiring. I believe that more middle schools and high schools should offer it as a language that students can choose to take.