August 25, 2015

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSU Continuing Education Builds Bridges With Survival Sign Language

VALDOSTA — The Regional Center for Continuing Education at Valdosta State University will open the doors of communication when it presents Survival Sign Language Aug. 31 through Oct. 5. The class will meet from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. every Monday, except for the Labor Day holiday.

Over the course of five weekly sessions, Dr. Jennifer Beal-Alvarez, an assistant professor in VSU’s Department of Middle Grades, Secondary, Reading, and Deaf Education, will introduce class participants to Deaf culture and teach them finger spelling, basic signs, and common phrases. She will also help them grasp the general concepts and structure of American Sign Language, the predominant sign language of Deaf and hard of hearing persons in the United States.

“American Sign Language is not word-for-word signed English,” said Sue Bailey, program coordinator. “It’s a language all its own with its own rules of grammar, syntax, and so on. Continuing Education offers classes like this to help build bridges to the community and provide opportunities for members of the community to build their own bridges to new people, places, and experiences.”

Registration is $105 and includes one continuing education unit of credit. Area educators who wish to participate can register at a discounted rate of $75.

Survival Sign Language will meet in the Regional Center for Continuing Education, located at 903 N. Patterson St.

VSU Continuing Education’s mission is to enhance the quality of life in the region by providing educational, artistic, cultural, technological, and economic development activities and programs. It works to develop and present programs and activities for professional and personal enrichment of community persons.

Contact Sue Bailey at (229) 245-6484 or to learn more about Survival Sign Language or any of the other personal enrichment and professional development programs available this fall.  

On the Web:

Note: Deaf and deaf are two different words in Deaf culture. Capital D Deaf is the culture/community of the group of people that consider their diagnosis not a disability. They are very proud of the way they are. Not capitalizing the D in Deaf would be considered disrespectful to the Deaf culture. Lowercase d deaf is the diagnosis that medical personnel have given to the disability. If a person misuses these two terms, it could be the difference in offending someone and calling them disabled rather than actually respecting their culture.

Fun Facts

About 2 to 3 out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with a detectable level of hearing loss in one or both ears.

Approximately 15 percent of American adults (37.5 million) aged 18 and over report some trouble hearing.

One in 8 people in the United States (13 percent, or 30 million) aged 12 years or older has hearing loss in both ears, based on standard hearing examinations.

— Source: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

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