American Sign Language or ASL is a language that many people who are deaf or hard of hearing use to communicate. Deaf History Month is from March 13th to April 15th. In 1960 American Sign Language was officially declared a real language, not simply a gesture system. Just like any culture, the American Deaf community views themselves as a cultural group bonded together by a common language. In the early 1800’s Yale graduate and hearing minister Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet made friends with a deaf girl named Alice and her family. Alice’s father wanted her to learn sign language so they together with Gallaudet traveled to France to learn the language. ASL originated in France. After Alice successfully learned Sign Language, her dad convinced Gallaudet to open a deaf school in the U.S. Through long travels around Europe Gallaudet finally got some assistance from the director of the french institute of Paris. Together they created the first American School for the deaf. Today, there are over 100 deaf schools in the US, the American School for the Deaf (ASD) being the oldest. About 2 to 4 of every 1000 people in the United States are functionally deaf and approximately one million communicate through Sign Language across America. Sign language is its own language and it has become popular in educational institutions throughout the United States. If you get a chance look up some sign language and learn your favorite phrase or your name in sign!