American Sign Language class is starting next week at Maysville Community and Technical College.
Cost for the six-week course beginning Sept. 7, and ending Oct. 12, is $50 per person. The class will be held at the Maysville campus in room T114 from 6 p.m. through 7:30 p.m. every Thursday.
Renea Trabue is teaching the class and has a unique connection with ASL and deaf culture though she is not deaf.
“My grandparents were both deaf so I grew up in the hearing and deaf world. People ask all the time how long it takes to become fluent and it is always hard to answer that question because I grew up with it and am bilingual, I was around my grandparents and their friends and picked it up more and more. My grandparents and their friends enriched and blessed my life with the deaf world,” Trabue said.
This class will be teaching the basics in ASL such as the alphabet, numbers and common phrases Trabue explained.
Trabue noted attendees of the class should not expect to become fluent in ASL from the six-week course, fluency takes multiple years with the minimum likely being three years.
“American Sign Language opens communication barriers, even without fluency, being able to say things like ‘hello’ or ‘how are you’ is a start to taking down those barriers. It really is best to learn ASL from a deaf person, I am a huge advocate for deaf people and for them teaching people ASL and think it would be great if a deaf person were to come teach this course though I am happy to do it,” she said.
If a person wants to learn ASL and become fluent, Trabue encourages immersion in deaf culture.
“Get together with deaf individuals, most of them are willing to teach you and it is the best way to learn. This beginning ASL class that I am teaching is just to get you started in hopes of bridging communication barriers between deaf people and hearing people. This class will not make you an interpreter, that takes training and a lot of practice,” she said.
Communication with deaf people can be done through writing and reading lips as well but Trabue encourages ASL.
“Lip reading is not always dependable especially when two different words can look the same on the lips like ‘baby’ and ‘mommy’. ASL can be used to clear up any confusion between two parties,” she said.
For those interested in learning ASL, Trabue advises to register as soon as possible as the class starts in one week.