Livia C. Alabama

Life is hard for the Functionally Deaf

The Functionally Deaf in the US have hard lives since many citizens don't know American Sign Language.

Dear Mr. or Mrs. President

I must talk to you about a very important matter that no one focuses on. 4,022,334 of the people in the USA are Functionally Deaf, meaning they are legally deaf and cannot hear at all. Therefore these people’s only way of communication is American Sign Language (ASL). Unfortunately much of our country’s population does not know American Sign Language, making life harder for the deaf people.

I am almost completely fluent in ASL, and each Friday of the first month in my city we have something called Deaf Socials where deaf people can go and socialize, and people who can hear also come and have normal conversations with the deaf people, and even have the deaf people teach them ASL. The first time I went, I was shocked at how many deaf people were even in my city; it shocked me. I live in Alabama where there are 83,376 Functionally Deaf people.

The matter I’d like to bring to your attention is that life for the Functionally Deaf is hard. I know this from experience. One day, my family and I were eating out at Panera and we were getting ready to go when an elderly African American man walked towards us. He was mumbling things none of us could interpret. Mom was rather frightened by him but that was when I realized that he was deaf and trying to tell us something.

I walked up to him and signed the words, “Something wrong?” and he replied by signing the words, “blue car trunk open”.

He then pointed outside towards a blue car and its trunk was wide open! We then found the person who owned the car and he thanked us for letting him know. Honestly, he should’ve thanked the deaf man who was able to get our attention.

ASL should be taught in schools as a foreign language. It would make life easier for deaf people and help them to communicate with other people. Then the people who are deaf would be able to order a drink at Starbucks or Burger King without having to scribble down their order on a napkin and hand it to the barista. Making ASL a foreign language that would be taught in schools could make life easier for the people who have to talk with their hands.


Livia Cole

Booker T. Washington Magnet High School

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