Happy National American Sign Language Day! On National ASL Day, Therapia celebrates the amazing work of Sign Language Interpreters (SLI) everywhere. Read on to learn more about this special day.

ASL History

National American Sign Language Day is celebrated every year on April 15th because on this date, more than 200 years ago, the American School for the Deaf (ASD) opened its doors in Hartford, Connecticut.  

The school’s opening was inspired by the 84 deaf children living in New England in 1817 that did not have appropriate resources for education. Parents and doctors in the community brought the school to life and it has since seen more than 6,000 deaf or hard of hearing students through their doors.

In the 1970s, Interpreters began working within public schools to help remove the barriers that prevented deaf or hard-of-hearing students from attending class among hearing students and thus, the Sign Language Interpretation profession was born.

The work Sign Language Interpreters do is life-altering for students in need and helps children with academics as well as bolstering communication in social settings. Teaching sign language in schools benefits both hearing and deaf students by bringing awareness to the deaf culture, but there are a few more benefits that might surprise you!

ASL Benefits

American Sign Language has been statistically proven to lead to higher reading levels in children and brings long-term cognitive benefits.  The biggest reason for this is because ASL provides an additional dimension to expressing and understanding the concept of words.

Native ASL signers have also been shown to develop incredible spatial reasoning. ASL is inherently geographically, giving fluent signers a strong relationship between objects and space. But one of the most incredible developments with ASL is how babies are able to communicate with signs before they ever even speak a word.

Many babies learn early on how to communicate “more”, “all done”, “water”, “milk”, and more, prior to forming a vocabulary for those words. They learn by connecting the sign to the object or action and are then able to clearly express this to their parent or guardian. 

Celebrating Sign Language Interpreters!

At Therapia, we currently have six SLIs helping students around the country, and today, we get to celebrate them! Our incredible SLIs are:

  • Kristina L., in Missouri
  • Nicole N., in Missouri
  • Armando G., in California
  • Millecia R., in Georgia
  • Michal S., in North Carolina
  • Isaiah R., in New Mexico

We want to thank each of you for all that you do and honor you on this day!