Tuesday, April 08, 2008

I'm an idea man, Chuck...

Lately, I have been teaching Sam some sign language. She already knows her letters pretty well so I've been adding some basic words (boy, girl, beer..). I feel confident that she will soon be able to say, "No I will NOT brush my teeth" without actually speaking.

It must be tough to be the parent of a deaf child because everytime they interupt what you're doing to tell you something (which is about once every 22 seconds by my calculation) you have to actuallly pay attention to them. It's not so easy to just brush them off with a word or two (without looking away from the computer screen) when you actually have to face them and use your hands to say, "No, I don't know what we're having for lunch but I'm sure it won't be ice cream."

At lunch the other day my sister commented that some schools let you take American Sign Language as a second language. I then remebered that ASL is the most widely used language in the world. No matter where you live, if you are deaf, you use ASL. This is because sign language doesn't convey words, it conveys meaning (you point at your ear for "hear" or "listen..").

So, here's my idea. Why not make ASL required at every college in the world. No matter where you live, if you go to college you must take two semesters of ASL. Think of what it would mean! You could go anywhere in the world and talk to any other college graduate regardless of their native language! Why learn French or Arabic when you could just learn ASL and talk to people who hate you in both countries?

Ideally, you would teach it in grade school and reinforce it a little each year. Eventually, any person in the world who had gone to school would be able to communicate to every other person.


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