In the news
Lois Frame has been a communication line between the deaf and the hearing for more than three decades.
Her experience is why she is teaching the sign language class on Thursdays at Muskingum County Starlight School. The class runs from 6 to 8 p.m. for 10 weeks and there are about 80 people participating.
Frame has a degree in deaf education and taught with Zanesville City Schools for 31 years before retiring. She noted about 1 percent of the population, whether state or country, is deaf.
"There are many different sign systems, but I want to teach people the signs in English so they can communicate," Frame said. "Anyone can benefit from this. Learning signs can help people who have trouble with speech or language skills, and it makes communication less frustrating for the deaf."
She has taught at Zane State, Ohio University-Zanesville and the Muskingum Valley Educational Service Center and has worked as a deaf consultant to help schools work with deaf students.
The students were watching a film where a person signed letters to spell out people's names in class. Frame focuses on repetition and enjoyment to assist people in learning the signs.
"I review what we did last week then we play games or activities to practice what we've learn," Frame said. "We also sing kid songs, since they're basic, and that helps with fluency."
Most students were caregivers or working for Starlight. Tammy Jude, a bus driver and aide for 10 years with Starlight, had a knowledge of sign language from being in the classroom. She knows this class will assist her when driving students home.
"I wanted to learn more and make it easier to talk to the students when we're on the bus," she said.
Kelley Settles and Beth Long have familiarity with sign language by working for the school. Each hopes to gain a better understanding to clear up any miscommunication.
"Everyone can get frustrated," Long said. "This will help us have a better understanding of what the students are saying so we can communicate better."
Kasie Simmons has worked as a Direct Support Staff worker for Midwest Community Services for about a year. They work with developmentally-disabled adults, and with several being hearing-impaired, this class will be beneficial.
"I knew the basics," she said. "But, I wanted to become more fluent so I could understand them better."
For others, sign language is the only way to communicate with family members. Ria Masterson is participating so she can better communicate with her 11-year-old daughter, Abby, who is deaf.
Frame was impressed with the interest and believes Starlight will try to offer more opportunities.
"About a month before we started, we had 40 people signed up then it was up to 70 the week before," she said. "That is a lot for one class, but it also shows how important this is to our community."
This article has been reproduced for educational purposes only and appeared in the Zanesville Times Recorder. The original story can be found at: http://www.zanesvilletimesrecorder.com/story/news/2017/09/29/breaking-down-barriers-communication/714833001/
Send this page to a friend