Sign language used for more than just communication at Meeting Street

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — It’s an interesting way to communicate, sign language.

It’s a moving, three dimensional language created by deaf people, used by deaf people, but it’s also a gift to hearing people.

American Sign Language is part of the curriculum for students K-8 at Meeting Street in Providence and it’s giving kids a unique way to communicate.

Manny Martin, an ASL teacher at Meeting Street, expressed the importance of sign language for many people worldwide, saying it’s a necessity to communicate with others.

“Communication is not a luxury. It’s a human need,” Martin said. “Kids naturally just love to sign language.”

Martin has been an instructor at Meeting Street for several years. He said when he first walked in the door, he was amazed.

“The first week I was here, I went to my car and sat there,” Martin said. “I couldn’t believe the atmosphere here. Students with disabilities sitting next to students without disabilities and everything seems so natural.”

Meeting Street believes in the power of inclusion with a goal to create a world where people of all abilities learn to play, work and live together, and sign language is part of that mission.

Martin said the kids at Meeting Street gravitate to sign language because it’s a self form of expression that’s very different.

Mercy, one of the Co-Hosts for the 2019 Meeting Street Telethon said she loves to sign.

“It’s cool to know another language, to be able to communicate with people outside and inside of school,” she said.

The 43rd Meeting Street Telethon will take place Saturday from 7-11 p.m. and will be broadcasted live on WPRI 12.

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