:: Deaf instructor teaches the culture of sign language (Post-Tribune) ::
April 20, 2007
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent
CROWN POINT — Steve Miller smiled as he stood before a small group of students at the South Lake County Resource Center in Crown Point, waiting patiently for a response to his question.
The classroom was quiet, but Miller had his answer. His smile broadened, and he gave his class a thumbs up. Yet no words were exchanged.
The students’ response came via the same method he posed his query — American Sign Language.
The spoken word is discouraged in ASL classes offered by Deaf Services Inc. of Merrillville.
Miller, 82, co-founded the group 29 years ago and still teaches two or three nights a week.
The Crown Point class was the first sponsored by Deaf Services in South Lake County.
“If everyone knew how to sign, the world would be a better place,” Miller said through his interpreter, Debbie Pampalone.
Pampalone is a staff interpreter for Deaf Services, and is Miller’s daughter.
Miller, who lost his hearing at age 5 due to spinal meningitis, explained that his inability to hear is not a problem.
“The problem is communication,” he signed.
Deaf Services offers sign-language classes to help bridge that communication gap.
Pampalone said ASL is considered a language in and of itself. Some local high schools, such as Munster and Highland, offer ASL in their language curriculums. contined