Return to Headlines

Learning and Connection Found Around the Dinner Table

Two women smile to camera.Students from the Intermediate Sign Language Class offered by the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind (AIDB) Mobile Regional Center recently gathered at El Rancho Mexican Restaurant in Daphne, Alabama to participate in a silent dinner; a group dinner designed to create a “deaf experience”  

Designed to create a “Deaf” experience, spoken language was strictly prohibited! With spoken language strictly prohibited, students had to find a way to communicate with non-signers. Writing notes or pointing at objects was permitted but anyone caught using spoken language had to pay a fine with the money raised over the course of the evening being given to the restaurant’s staff.

“We had a variety of signers attend including people who are deaf, children of deaf adult(s), hard of hearing, and ASL students,” said Alex Tenney, Job Developer and ASL instructor at the AIDB Mobile Regional Center. “I've hosted many of these events and they are always so educational for everyone involved.”

One student, who drove all the way from New Orleans to attend, met a fellow student with whom she shared a unique medical disorder.  For both students, it was the first time they had ever met another person who carried the disorder. “It was very interesting how everybody came together and figured this out using ASL!” said Tenney. 

ASL classes are hosted throughout Alabama at each AIDB Regional Center. For more information on a class near you, visit