Why I Sign

Carleton’s American Sign Language (ASL) club offers peer-led workshops for people who want to learn a few basic signs and for advanced signers who want to help other students learn. 

Mara Pugh ’18 (Portland, Ore.): “We talk a lot about diversity at Carleton, but we don’t include ability and disability. A conversation about deafness can help break down stereotypes associated with disability in general.”

Julia Preston ’19 (Washington, D.C.): “As a person who has a disability—autism spectrum disorder—I like to meet and work with other disabled people. The word disabled allows me to accept my limitations in a world that encourages me to see them as negative or to ‘overcome’ them. It also connects me with a larger community and history.”

Benja Reilly ’19 (Upper Marlboro, Md.): “I grew up signing with my mom, who’s deaf. I want to help people recognize and accept deafness, and clear up misconceptions. My mom can do everything a hearing person can, with a few accommodations. She’s proud of deaf culture.”

Sarah Rost ’19 (Seattle): “I’m hard of hearing, so people don’t understand why I keep saying what? all the time. That gets frustrating, and I like having a place where I can talk about it. People who are new to ASL are surprised by how interpretive it is, how you can channel your creativity and style into your use of the language. Teaching people about it is fun!”

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