Date of Award
One of the most common conditions that affects people as they get older is presbycusis, the gradual loss of hearing (“Age-Related Hearing Loss”). Because of this, components of American Sign Language (ASL) were taught to elderly persons at Stillwater Senior Living assisted living facility in Edwardsville, IL with the purpose of improving access to communication. Helpful words to know in assisted living such as “want, food, hurt, and better” were taught. In addition, students were taught to feel comfortable with gestures such as pointing or thumbs up as a way to communicate. After learning how to sign certain words, students were taught how to form these terms into phrases that could be used everyday. For example, using the words “water” and “want” to form the sentence “I want water.” A Google Slides presentation was created for each class, as well as paper handouts that students could refer to later. The first handout included every letter of the alphabet so that students could practice signing their name outside of class. The second worksheet, given at the last class, had pictures for how to sign some of the most important words learned throughout the class. By the final class, students had formed a strong interest in learning sign language and were able to form beginner sentences as well as introduce themselves in sign language. Students were excited to learn more signs and practice signing with each other even after the class was over.