Waubonsie Offers ASL Courses as Part of World Languages

by Delilah Scheiber & Stella Sander, Reporters, Warrior Update

AURORA – World languages offers a unique course that relies more on body language and facial expressions than verbal language. American sign language courses introduce students to ASL and the deaf culture and community for students.

Senior Aryan Sharma signs in Waubonsie Valley’s ASL course. (photo credit / WVTV)

“ASL communication happens not through listening with your ears but listening with your eyes and like you speak with your hands rather than speaking with your voice,” said Waubonsie Valley Kinsey Kelch. “So I thought it was a really cool and unique language that was a lot different than any of the other opportunities offered at Waubonsie.”

“Our layout is like a u-shape which is super cool because a lot of the time we’re not speaking, we’re signing, and you can see everyone in the classroom like that so you can talk to everyone around you which is super fun,” said Waubonsie Valley senior Aryan Sharma.

“It’s amazing,” said Kelch. “It’s a really positive environment because like one of the main themes that we focus on throughout all four years of ASL is that being deaf is not a disability but rather it’s like a gift and kind of this opportunity to be a part of the deaf Community.”

“It’s really important to consider communities outside of your own, cultures outside of your own,” said Kelch, “because I feel like even today there’s still a lot of common misconceptions about deaf people and about ASL so it’s really important to take that time to learn about something outside of yourself and be able to explore this community and to appreciate this community.

“The most important lesson is like how to treat people that are different than us,” said Sharma, “because deaf people have very specific needs and it’s important to know like their community and like Deaf culture and the deaf Community.”

“ASL, even though it was one of the most common languages that’s used in the United States,” said Kelch, “there’s still a lot of schools that are only recently starting to offer it as a language at school and starting to consider it as a part of the curriculum, so I think it’s really important and really cool that Waubonsie has this opportunity offered because since it is such a common language being able to have this skill and develop it and be able to communicate with other people is super important and super cool.”