Signing Up to Talk: The AUS ASL Initiative

AUS ASL Initiative

Tasnim Hasan Volunteering ,,,,,
Normally, one of the annoying things individuals with hearing impairment have to endure is people unfamiliar with sign language staring at them while they try to communicate.

The recent rise of the American Sign Language has been phenomenal.

A lot of people are proactively learning ASL  to overcome communication barriers and bridge gaps for people with hearing impairments. According to Padden from UoC, in 2010,

AUS ASL Initiative

Locally,  Karan Mohan Gurnani and Fiza Abbasi along with other AUS students decided to join this movement, launching the AUS ASL Initiative in October 2014. The initiative is part of an effort from the AUS Community Services Organisation, run by students.

Recently, they marked the launch of the Toy Stories Initiative, where students are invited to make toys for orphans, the underprivileged and children with special needs.

A senior at AUS majoring in Finance, we sat down with Karan Mohan Gurnani to know more about ASL at AUS:

1. How did the idea for the ASL initiative develop?

During our semester break, I wanted to learn something new so I just randomly picked up learning American Sign Language, using YouTube and a few other sources.

I got three friends to join me, after which we formed the ASL Initiative under Community Services at AUS. Now we hold regular weekly sessions where we teach Sign Language. It’s a living, visual-gestural language that’s rapidly growing in popularity.


Image Source: AUS ASL Initiative Facebook page

2. What kind of response have you received from students?

We have approximately 50 students regularly attending sessions every week throughout the semester.

We’ve got a lot of new ideas and collaborations planned for the upcoming semester.

3. What has ASL taught you?

One of the key features of ASL is reading the facial expressions and body language while communicating because they substitute the element of tone in vocal speech. It has made me a better vocal speaker by getting me to focus on aspects of speech apart from voice.

ASL has made me more intuitive.

4. What’s in store for students who want to be more involved?

Next semester, we will continue with our normal weekly sessions and have pop-up events throughout the semester.

I hope we create many more initiatives similar to ASL where students can continually improve, learn, and achieve personal growth while giving back to the community.

The ASL Initiative is spreading sign language awareness and, hopefully, brushing  ignorance away.
Image Source: AUS ASL Initiative Facebook page
Image Source: AUS ASL Initiative Facebook page

Are you a member of the AUS ASL Community? Give us your thoughts in the comments. Here’s a crash course for you folks:

AUS ASL Initiative
Image Source: AUS ASL Initiative Facebook page

Know of any worthy causes that deserve our attention? Comment below.

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