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Efforts to incorporate American Sign Language at LSU have been a struggle in the past year, but one group is leading the charge to change that. The Hands That Hear is a student organization dedicated to making campus more accessible for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. The group is only about a year old and has already made it a top priority to bring more ASL to LSU. 

There is a communications disorders class offered that teaches manual communication, but it doesn’t cover American Sign Language. Hands That Hear president Madeline Johnson explains why this course isn’t enough.

“When I took it, it was advertised as ASL, and it wasn’t,” Johnson said. “It was more SEE (Signed Exact English), which is a manual communication, but it’s not ASL...the deaf culture doesn’t acknowledge it.”

The organization wants to create a strong relationship between the hearing and deaf and hard-of-hearing students. Their weekly meetings include ASL classes and they also volunteer with the Louisiana School for the Deaf. They hope to continue to partner with the school in order to better meet the needs of deaf and hard-of-hearing students on campus.

Follow the group on Instagram @hands.that.hear for more information on the Hands That Hear and to get involved.