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Students share love of Christ through sign language on International Day of Sign Languages

MOUNT VERNON, Ohio (September 23, 2022) — Students in the Mount Vernon Nazarene University’s Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology (Communication Sciences and Disorders) program partnered with the Center for Global Engagement to recognize the importance of sign language on International Day of Sign Languages on Sept. 23, 2022.

Student Sophia Hudson is hard of hearing and has been teaching American Sign Language to CSD students culminating in the creation of a video of students signing and singing “Jesus Loves Me” and reciting scripture John 3:16.

“Growing up, American Sign Language was not a vital part of my everyday life,” said Hudson. “Coming from a hearing family, I did not utilize or learn much ASL as I relied on my hearing devices and lip reading for communication. However, through attending a high school that housed a mainstreamed D/deaf and Hard of Hearing Educational Service Program, I saw firsthand the importance of ASL, not only as a means of communication among the D/deaf community, but also as a bridge between hearing individuals and deaf individuals who may face communication barriers.”

Worldwide, over 70 million people utilize sign language to communicate. The United Nations General Assembly created International Day of Sign Languages in support of the D/deaf community. It was first recognized in 2018 in conjunction with the International Week of the Deaf.

“One of the main goals of the Center for Global Engagement is to help raise awareness of global issues and to recognize the significance they have to the MVNU community,” said Christy Taylor, Coordinator of Global Learning. “It was such a joy to work with Dr. Hardjono and our CSD students to highlight International Day of Sign Languages and to recognize its importance to the D/deaf, hard of hearing and non-verbal community both globally and right here on our own campus.”

The ability to communicate with patients who have hearing difficulties is a critical skill in speech-language pathology.

“Learning American Sign Language is important because it helps us understand and communicate with those who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have another disability where speech does not come easily to them,” said Lucy Beaulieu, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology (CSD) student. “Knowing ASL gives us an opportunity to foster a relationship with these people in our community who so desperately want to be heard and understood.”

The Center for Global Engagement partners with departments across campus to highlight dates on the United Nation’s List of International Days as an opportunity to bring global issues to the campus level. This project is just one of those partnerships.  Click here to view the video.

“American Sign Language is a tool that gives people with speech or language impairments an alternative way to communicate,” said Dr. Florence Hardjono, Assistant Professor and CSD Program Director. “Our program is so excited to have two students who are fluent in ASL, and we had so much fun creating the video for our MVNU community. ASL is a beautiful language, moreover, ASL is also an effective therapy tool, especially for non-verbal pediatric patients.”

For five consecutive years, MVNU’s Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology (CSD) has placed 100% of its graduates into graduate degree programs for speech/language pathology and audiology. To learn more about the program, click here.

Mount Vernon Nazarene University is a private, four-year, intentionally Christian teaching university for traditional age students, graduate students, and working adults. With a 327-acre main campus in Mount Vernon, Ohio, MVNU emphasizes academic excellence, spiritual growth, and service to community and church. MVNU offers an affordable education both in-seat and online to more than 2,100 students from 42 states and nine foreign countries.