Speaking in Hands

ASL students, Bailey Hudson (senior) and Austin Spence (junior), practice their signing skills to prepare for their upcoming vocabulary and fluency test.

Many different types of students can be found here at Lyman. Tall and Short. Male and Female. Hearing and Deaf. Straight, Gay, and Everything in Between. There are multitudes of unique people with their own idiosyncratic backgrounds on campus. Although, one very important group that tends to be forgotten about by the majority of the student body is the deaf community.


The deaf community mainly includes hard of hearing and deaf students or teachers. These people cannot hear, or can only hear very little on their own, which makes it hard to communicate with other students and teachers in a world designed for hearing people. This does not make these students any less than hearing students. They are just like everyone else except the way they communicate is a little different.


Deaf students/teachers primary way of communication is a language called American Sign Language (ASL). This is spoken using hand/body movements and facial expressions. Lyman actually offers ASL classes to all students hearing, deaf, and hard of hearing. These classes teach students about deaf culture, how to communicate using ASL, Gloss (written ASL), song interpretation, and much more.


“I like expanding my knowledge and knowing I can hold a conversation with with someone who doesn’t speak English,” junior Austin Spence, an ASL 2 student, said.


These classes have helped bridge the gap between hearing and deaf students. As well as open up a space for the hearing and deaf communities on campus to merge.


“[The classes] have helped me interact with hearing students. I think that we all work well together,” junior Melanie Austin, a deaf student, signed.


Hearing students agree with this. The ASL classes are helping these students learn a new language that they can use everyday, compared to Latin or Spanish. As well as introducing hearing students to a whole new world full of all sorts of different people.


“It’s pretty interesting learning how to connect with someone in a different way,” senior Bailey Hudson, an ASL 2 student, commented.