Samantha T. Indiana

The Importance of Sign Language

A look at why sign language is important and should be taught in schools.

Dear President,

Imagine a deaf father of a little girl, that will never hear is his baby say “I love you, Daddy”. If she could sign, she could tell him that with her hands. Or picture a young girl who fell in love, but never gets to hear the words “Will you marry me?” Every parent wants their kid to be happy and be connected to life but if no one can understand them or they can’t understand anybody else, how are they supposed to talk to people. Not every parent can afford a Cochlear Implant or surgery to improve hearing that doesn’t always work. No one wants to go to a special school or feel “different” like an outsider from the people around them.

1 in every 5 teens is deaf. A school of 300 kids means 60 kids are by themselves, not to mention the trouble of listening to school lessons. Try being in a music class, Future President, and not being able to hear the pitch or tune of a song. That’s what the kid next to me struggles with on a daily basis but has such a passion for music and feeling the beat of a song that it drives him. Sadly, the rest of us in choir have a hard time communicating with him. He’s the only person out of 40 members of our choir that finds difficulty in hearing our conductor’s instructions. Yet, he doesn’t have an interpreter or somebody to tell him in his own way what’s going on. I’m not sure of the number of people aware of his condition but I don’t think he has a problem with it. He tends to observe the choir members more so to see what is happening. Sometimes, however, I think he feels alone. No one knows how to help or communicate with him. The best way we can talk to him is to talk slowly and hope he can read our lips well enough. Why is it that many schools in the country, let alone in Indiana, do not teach Sign Language? It’s just as much a part of America’s culture as English. Children are taught Spanish in schools so why isn’t Sign Language? Children are the future, aren’t they? Why can’t we help them, Future President?

I strongly encourage you, President, to consider this argument. 50 million Americans per year are reported deaf. 360 million people worldwide report similar cases of deafness. There’s only 6 million in the state of Indiana. The total amount of deaf cases is enough to fill Indiana 600 million times. Future President, I don’t know what your plans are for this country but is there a way you could include the deaf in your plans? There’s always a family or school who suffers from deafness and they need your help to communicate. It takes one person to make a difference, let that person be you. We’re not asking for total silence in our school systems where everybody just uses sign language but just a chance to learn a language every person can use.

Make this country the best you can make it,