Generous Fifth-Graders Give Up Recess To Help Deaf Classmate

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Source: Alyssa Paldo/Facebook

Source: Alyssa Paldo/Facebook

Fifth grade student Rhemy Elsey has been deaf since birth – a fact that has made it hard for him to socialize in school. Elsey relies on American Sign Language interpreter Tammy Arvin who follows him around in school to help him communicate with others, which often makes conversation awkward and short-lived.

However, thanks to a new school club started by his classmates, Elsey is starting to feel much more at home. The club is a weekly ASL learning club led by Arvin where the students trade their lunch and recess time in an effort to better communicate with Elsey.

Elsey told ABC News that his classmates wanted to learn ASL because “they want to be like me.” He also admitted that they think sign language is cool.

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Arvin said that since the club began a few months ago, the kids have already learned basic vocabulary for things such as school, food, clothing, and family members. The students also learn about deaf culture.

Arvin also told ABC News that Elsey has “gained confidence with his classmates and with expressing himself, and it’s made it easier for the other students to approach him.”

In deaf culture, a person comes up with a sign to denote his or her name. Elsey has taken it upon himself to give most of his classmates unique signs for their names – a sign of true friendship.

Check out my story on these awesome 5th graders that are learning sign language–all so that they can communicate with a friend and classmate. I think these children stand to teach us an amazing lesson that we can all take something away from–about kindness and accepting others 🙂 Happy Friday! http://www.centralillinoisproud.com/news/local-news/students-learn-sign-language-for-friend

Posted by Alyssa Paldo on Friday, February 19, 2016

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