Sign language class beginning soon

By STEVEN CALHOUN/Staff Writer

A six-week American Sign Language class will start Oct. 6 at Clanton First Assembly of God.

Sarah Boartfield organized and will teach the class. Boartfield is passionate about ASL and helping others communicate with people who have disabilities. She interprets on Sunday mornings and nights at her church, and taught her children to sign before they learned to speak.

“I grew up knowing ASL. I started when I was 10 years old, having deaf friends. I went with my mom to college classes … and fell in love with the language,” said Boartfield.

She said she sees a need in the community for people to learn to communicate nonverbally.

“You think of police officers, teachers … what do you do when you come across someone who can’t see, can’t hear … how else would you communicate?” said Boartfield.

She noted that something as simple as going to a restaurant to order food could be improved for someone deaf if an employee there knew ASL.

“It makes a difference when the person across from you can communicate with you on your level,” said Boartfield.

The class will be structured like a college course, according to Boartfield. There will be six weekly meetings, homework, tests and a final. The cost is $30 for materials, and ages 15 and over may participate.

Boartfield claims the class has advantages over teaching oneself with a book. She said having the signs shown with proper grammar and expression is important to understanding the language.

She would like to encourage people in retail, teachers, police officers and medical personnel to take the class.

“It’s pretty concentrated. I’m gonna hit you hard with a lot of information,” said Boartfield. “Come prepared to work hard and have some fun.”

To participate, contact Sarah Boartfield at boartfield6@aol.com or call Clanton First Assembly of God at 205-755-7844 as soon as possible.

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