TCNJ hosts ASL Fun Day for students who use sign language

School of Education students facilitate fun and games during the annual ASL Fun Day for young deaf and hard of hearing students. Photo: Anthony DePrimo.

Last month, the College of Education at the College of New Jersey brought together more than 100 members of the hearing and deaf community, including local high school students and members of the college’s Deaf Hearing Connection student group, for its first-ever ASL Fun Day.

The event featured a variety of activities including a deaf business expo, a scavenger hunt, a challenge room, trivia about ASL and deaf culture, and classic board games such as Guess Who? and Scattergories, which allowed participants to interact solely using American Sign Language.

“One of the best things about this event is that it was a barrier-free experience,” he said Wrzos Osowski, assistant professor at the TCNJ School of Education’s Center for Sensory and Complex Education. “We did not use interpreters, so everyone could practically use their knowledge of the language during the day.”

The engaging nature of the day was appreciated by participants who came from four high schools from across the state.

“The day was well planned and provided a wonderful opportunity for hearing students learning ASL to meet and interact with their deaf and hard of hearing peers, something many students would never have had the opportunity to do without this day sponsored by TCNJ,” said Deanna Perry , deaf teacher at Mountain Lakes High School in Mountain Lakes, New Jersey. “The advisors, staff and students did a great job of creating activities to suit the different levels of engaged students, and all participants had a great time.”

Melanie Phillipscoordinator of the deaf and hard of hearing education program at TCNJ, hopes this will become an annual event to raise awareness of the value of learning ASL not only in a communication context, but also in students’ professional contexts.

“It’s usually an eye-opening moment for students to realize how knowing ASL can make the world more accessible, no matter what their career interests are,” she said. “Some majors require knowledge of a world language, but many others are truly enriched by students who add ASL to their studies.”

More information about TCNJ’s offerings in education for the deaf and hard of hearing can be found on the program’s website.

Łukasz Sacks