Teacher Spotlight: Sign Language teacher Ruth Hedges living the best of both worlds


American sign language and English teacher, Ruth Hedges, grew up living in a world of noise and silence.

Children can lose their hearing when they’re young because of an illness or in other cases medicine they take. Loud noises and old age are also common factors in losing one’s hearing.

“Basically, if a toddler has a really high fever at that age for a long period of time they can either become deaf, go blind, develop mental issues or they’ll die,” Hedges said. “I became deaf at three or four with a really high fever.”

Freshman Kiaya Stokes recently began signing again after her two year old half brother became deaf from and high fever and seizure.

“I began signing when I was five years old,” Stokes said. “As I got older I stopped signing but once my brother was born I started signing again.”

Over time most families will develop the language and get to see the culture their deaf child will grow up in. They won’t experience both cultures fully but it will give them a chance to understand deaf culture and what it has to offer.

“It’s actually really interesting to learn how he learns things and how he’s growing up in the world,” Stokes said. “And it’s interesting for me because I like the deaf culture now because of him.”

Hedges’ life in the deaf and hearing world has not been such a negative thing as most people think it would be; she has met double the amount of people she would have by just living in one world, educating young minds all about herself and her culture. Many will focus on the negatives but other will know the true positives of the deaf culture.

“It’s really cool being two cultures at the same time so, you have the hearing world and all that it has to offer,” Hedges said. “And I have also the benefit of being part of the deaf culture and having deaf friends who I can communicate with and celebrate the other half of me so it’s really cool being in a blended world.”