IM this article to a friend!

August 11, 2004

News Release: Students develop sign language skills

From: Gallaudet - Aug 11, 2004


For more information, contact:
Darrick Nicholas
Media Relations Coordinator
Gallaudet University
PH: 202.448.7136


Gallaudet program allows new students to develop sign language skills

(WASHINGTON) For some deaf and hard of hearing students, communicating via sign language is commonplace. For some new students at Gallaudet University, sign language is as foreign as French.

Aware of this issue, the university conducts the New Signers Program (NSP), which targets incoming students who may need extra aid in American Sign Language (ASL). Scheduled to take place from July 22 to Aug. 20, the program allows students to hone their ASL skills as well as become more comfortable with life on a college campus. This year, twenty-four students are enrolled in the program.

"More deaf and hard of hearing students attend traditional high school and colleges than in previous years," Darrick Nicholas, the university's spokesperson, said. "They grow up not knowing ASL. Those students want to attend Gallaudet, in large part due to the university's high level of prestige and its dedication to delivering quality education. The New Signers offering makes it possible for them to attend Gallaudet by erasing communication barriers."

In the program, students are placed in ASL classes based on their current level of sign language knowledge as assessed by the instructors. In these classes, students can improve their ASL skills, with an emphasis placed on acquisition of receptive and expressive skills as well as knowledge of the deaf community and the development of cultural awareness. In addition, NSP students also learn about Gallaudet's history and traditions.

The four-week immersion program is available to freshmen and transfer students who possess little or no skill in signing. The program ensures that the new students learn basic signing skills by the beginning of fall classes to help them communicate more effectively with other Gallaudet students, staff and faculty.

In addition to sign classes, students participate in Learning Through Discovery, an adventure-based outdoor activities course that focuses on developing teamwork, decision-making, and conflict resolution skills.

Upon successful completion of the program, NSP students receive three credit hours for ASL 101, (American Sign Language) and one credit hour for PED 222 (Learning Through Discovery).


About Gallaudet University

The mission of Gallaudet University is to serve as a comprehensive, multipurpose institution of higher education for deaf and hard of hearing citizens of the United States and of the world. In addition to its undergraduate and graduate academic programs, the University also offers national demonstration elementary and secondary education programs. The only liberal arts university in the world designed exclusively for deaf and hard of hearing students, Gallaudet University is located in Washington, DC.