American Sign Language
Gallaudet University offers free online ASL classes. I encourage everyone to learn language. There is no better way to understand people than to learn their language.
Two things you should know about deaf culture:
- The first thing you should know is that Deafness is not a disability
- When you have grown up in the hearing world, it helps to understand this if you learn about the history of deaf education. This documentary follows a family and their experience, generation to generation.
(After you start the video, you can turn on the closed captions by clicking on the symbol at the bottom of the screen.)
Two of my favorite classes in college:
- Neurology (especially neural plasticity, or the fact that your brain can change and rewire itself.)
- Language (especially psycholinguistics, or the fact that a language can affect culture and how you think.)
My interest in language led me to I apply to Gallaudet University, a famous university established in 1864 for the purpose of learning, teaching and research for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. I ended up going to the University of Iowa, in part because they offered me a scholarship, but I often wish I had chosen Gallaudet. So many things I want to learn. So little time.
"Everybody’s uptight and they’re always building these walls around themselves. All you can do is try and break down the walls and show that there’s nothing there but people. It’s just like looking in the mirror."
- John Lennon -