Bridging Gaps with Sign Language: Talking Hands Host Eager Learners

. May 31, 2018.
sign lang

Young children are receptive to learning a second language. Talking Hands American Sign Language classes at the University of Findlay prove they can also be enthusiastic about it! Talking Hands, introduced during this Spring Semester, wrapped up on April 9th with a performance for the families. Leah Brant, MAE, an ASL Instructor at the University, was told if she offered a program like Talking Hands, it would be a big hit…and it was!

The ASL class, open to children from age three to 5th grade, separates students into two groups: pre-k-1st and 2nd-5th grades. The first session, of close to 20 children, taught the alphabet, their names, common words and songs.

Final performance.

Final performance.

Enthusiastic volunteers

Brant received requests for ASL classes and, with the help of Karen Acuna, a hearing impaired intervention specialist, and student volunteers, the class came together. “I have been so blessed with the students on campus,” Brant commented when asked about finding volunteers.

The classes are student led, making volunteers an important part of the program. While volunteers are studying in a variety of fields, from veterinary medicine to criminal justice, one common theme behind the reason they took Brant’s ASL class was she is a favorite professor.

Student volunteer Morgan Hollabaugh explained that her involvement helped her appreciate others trying to learn about deaf culture and ASL, adding to the excitement of sharing this knowledge with younger generations. Student volunteers Bree Loucks and Stephanie Emerine echoed her enthusiasm.

Enthusiastic learners

For the final class, the children performed two songs for their families as well as sharing things like their favorite foods and spelling their names. They received awards for completing the class and were excited to share what they learned with their families.

Talking hands this fall

The Fall Semester session of Talking Hands does not yet have specific dates. Brant will be looking for volunteers, with the number of children participants determined by the number of volunteers.

To learn more about the Talking Hands program or volunteering please contact Leah Brant at 419-434-5504 or by email at