Kingwood College... A Sign of the Times

American Sign Language (ASL) is arguably the 4th most commonly used language in the United States. Enrollment in ASL classes is greater than ever, with many high schools and colleges allowing ASL to satisfy foreign language requirements. Lone Star College-Kingwood offers both credit and non-credit options. 

There is not an official statistic on how many persons with hearing loss or deafness live in this country; the U.S. Census Bureau stopped including deaf demographics in 1930. Individual surveys are rarely conducted, and they are not done on a large enough scale, however, the National Center for Health Statistics reported in 1991 that there were as many as "4.81 million deaf and hard of hearing people in America."

According to the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders, nine out of every 10 children who are born deaf are born to parents who can hear. People who are deaf cannot learn to hear, but hearing people can learn how to communicate. Society has come to understand that hearing impaired individuals deserve the same rights as the hearing, yet deaf people in America are still excluded from mainstream society because of the serious lack of communication.

Although a fairly new language, ASL is rapidly gaining recognition.  The necessity of ASL is rapidly being understood throughout the country, and more and more schools, like Lone Star College-Kingwood are choosing to add Sign Language to their curriculum.

Schools aren't the only places that ASL comes in handy. Sharan Lacy, a deaf ASL instructor at Lone Star College-Kingwood, states "The majority of Deaf people, including me, work in a hearing work place. We are left out at most times. Now with more hearing people learning and knowing ASL, we have better access everywhere."

Lisa Prusak, Executive Director of Village Learning & Achievement Center, a non-profit group providing day programs, residential options and Home and Community services for adults with disabilities, sees the need to train her staff in becoming proficient at sign language. 

"The sign language course that we requested from Lone Star College-Kingwood is important for us because we have several adults in our building that are deaf.  It enables us to communicate on their level and not just wave wildly and make up signs.  It is important to show our Villagers that we care about them as people and we are here to make their experience with us as meaningful as possible.  It would not benefit them to have a program where none of us felt it necessary to learn how to communicate with them.  We enjoyed the teacher!  Sharan Lacy made learning the alphabet fun and the signs easy to remember with the facial expressions and her ability to make it fun and informative at the same time.  It really kept us engaged!"

Lone Star College-Kingwood offers many training opportunities, on campus to onsite. They provide excellent instructors and a myriad of courses.  For more information on training or American Sign Language, contact the Continuing Education department at 281-312-1660. 

Looking to update work force skills or just want to take a class for fun? Lone Star College-Kingwood's Continuing Education Division provides a variety of certificates, courses and experiences that encourage professional development and lifelong learning. And don't forget our popular summer youth program, Discovery College! For more information, visit kingwood.lonestar.edu/goto/ce or call 281-312-1660.

It's never too late - or too early - to register for classes at Lone Star College-Kingwood! Registration is going on now for Lone Star College-Kingwood's summer terms I and II and fall semester classes. The first session of summer classes begins June 4 through July 11 with the second session beginning July 12 through Aug. 16. For more information about summer classes, call 281-312-1600 or visit kingwood.lonestar.edu for a complete schedule of classes. Students are encouraged to register as early as possible to ensure the best selection.

The Lone Star College System is among the largest and fastest growing community college districts in Texas. It comprises Lone Star College-North Harris, Lone Star College-Kingwood, Lone Star College–Tomball, Lone Star College–Montgomery, Lone Star College–CyFair, six satellite centers and The University Center. For more information about Lone Star College System and its programs, visit www.lonestar.edu or call 832-813-6500.