Anna Trupiano teaches first grade at Kendall Demonstration Elementary School in Washington DC . It is a special school for children who are deaf, hard of hearing, or blind. Trupiano’s biggest responsibility is to help her students thrive in a society that doesn’t do enough to cater to the needs of the hard-of-hearing. At the same time, she teaches them the usual subjects any student their age would learn, but in sign language of course.
The other day she had to give a lesson on how people can hear farts. The hilarious teaching moment arose because one of her students farted loudly in class, unaware that others could hear what he just did.
When the little kid cut the cheese some of the other students heard it and began to laugh – but the boy who passed the gas was confused. The moment led to a 15 minute discussion, all in American sign language, about why the other students were laughing.
Later on, Trupiano documented the dialogue of and revealed it in a hilarious Facebook post – sharing with everyone the adorable moment that she explained how farts were audible to her stunned, deaf first graders. The post caught the attention of actress Minnie Driver who tweeted it to her followers. After that, it went viral.
Minnie Driver wrote:
“In all the sadness of this weekend, I wanted to share a thread that I know will remind you there is good and laughter and revelation in the world still x.”
Here’s the snippet of the conversation she had with the students:
As funny as this is, the discussion actually points to a serious problem faced by the deaf community.
She told GOOD:
“I know it started with farts, but the real issue is that many of my students aren’t able to learn about these things at home or from their peers because they don’t have the same linguistic access. So many of my students don’t have families who can sign well enough to explain so many things it’s incredibly isolating for these kids.”
Tupiano hopes her funny story about passing gas in public will inspire others to become more involved with the deaf community by learning sign language.
“I would love to see a world where my students can learn about anything from anyone they interact with during their day. Whether that means learning about the solar system, the candy options at a store, or even farts, it would be so great for them to have that language access anywhere they go.”
And this is how you say fart in ASL:
Inspired to learn more? Here’s a great list of places you can start learning ASL!