By Liandre De la Uso
American Sign Language and interpreter students donned ear muffs and blindfolds before walking the campus the afternoon of Sept. 18.
Students were divided into pairs with one acting as the interpreter who guided the other student experiencing what it is like to navigate the campus as a deaf and blind student would.
“This is one of their favorite things to do all semester,” ASL Instructor Michelle Theiss said. “They like the real-life experience. Most of them have never had the opportunity to work with a deaf-blind person in real life, so they really enjoy the practice.”
Students in the SLNG 2311, Interpreting in Specialized Settings, participated.
After taking part in the exercise, students learned the importance of their profession to those who are deaf or blind.
“I learned how dependent they are on interpreters,” said ASL interpreter sophomore Elisa Paramel. “They’re trusting these people that they’ve never met, and I think that’s a big responsibility.”
Students doing this exercise for the first time found it exciting and gained a new perspective from the experience, they said.
“It was definitely a challenge, and it helped me see things in a different way,” said ASL interpreter sophomore Krystal Ayala. “When you’re deaf and blind, you start feeling your steps and hearing your breath. It was very different, but I liked it.”
Students gained more insight into their field of study as well as what it may be like for people who are deaf and blind.
“It’s cool to see both sides of it,” Paramel said. “I think it just gives us more of an idea of what we need to be watching for when we’re interpreting for people.”
The American Sign Language and interpreter program prepares students to be certified as ASL interpreters on the state level. Students can earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in American Sign Language Interpreter or as a
Deaf Support Specialist, which requires passing a certification exam.
The ASL Connections Club will staff a table at the annual Antojitos Festival 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Sept. 26 in the mall.
The department also will sponsor a Thanksgiving turkey drive for 25 families with a member who is blind or deaf.
Official dates have not yet been announced.
For more information call 210-486-1106.