Anna Trupiano, a first-grade teacher at Kendall Demonstration Elementary School in Washington DC, a school for children who are deaf or hard of hearing, has dealt with a common problem for most teachers: noise. This, however, was no ordinary sound. One of her deaf students loudly passed gas but was unaware of the sound. The child was apparently oblivious to the fact that gas was not soundless. Other students, however, with slighter hearing impairment were, which lead to a fit laughter among those who heard it.
The six-year-old was then engaged in a funny conversation with Trupiano, who got her Master of Science in Deaf Education at Saint Joseph's University in Grand Rapids, Michigan this year, and has taught at Northview Public Schools for the past three years. She discussed with the class about how passing gas can be quite loud. The six-year-old child passed gas so loudly in class that some of his classmates began to laugh. The child was surprised by their reaction because he didn’t know gas made a sound.
The student was surprised that his classmates were staring at him and asked his teacher why he was being singled out, to which she responded, “they heard you fart".
“I know it started with farts, but the real issue is that many of my students aren’t able to learn about these things at home or from their peers because they don’t have the same linguistic access,” she told GOOD. “So many of my students don’t have families who can sign well enough to explain so many things it’s incredibly isolating for these kids.”
Trupiano hoped her lesson in proper social etiquette would encourage others to learn sign language. “I would love to see a world where my students can learn about anything from anyone they interact with during their day,” she told GOOD. “Whether that means learning about the solar system, the candy options at a store, or even farts, it would be so great for them to have that language access anywhere they go.”
American Sign Language (ASL), started in the early 19th century in the American School for the Deaf (ASD) in Hartford, Connecticut. It is the predominant sign language of Deaf communities in the United States and Anglophone Canada, as well as much of West Africa and parts of Southeast Asia. Throughout West Africa, ASL-based sign languages are spoken by educated adults who are deaf. Sign language is imported by boarding schools, are the official sign languages of their countries, and are named accordingly, for example, Nigerian Sign Language, Ghanaian Sign Language, as well as, signing systems in Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Liberia, Mauritania, Mali, Nigeria, and Togo.
In addition to the above West African countries, ASL is the first sign language in Barbados, Bolivia, Cambodia, the Central African Republic, Chad, China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Jamaica, Kenya, Madagascar, the Philippines, Singapore, and Zimbabwe. ASL is related to French Sign Language (LSF). Since it originated, ASL use has been popularized by schools for the deaf and Deaf community organizations. American ASL users range from 250,000 to 500,000 persons, including numerous children of deaf adults.