Published On: December 20, 2021

Olivia and Sophia are twins (Olivia left and Sophia right in above photo) who attend the Indiana School for the Deaf. Like many 16-year-olds, they want to learn to drive. The written test to gain a learner’s permit is now accessible for Deaf people in Indiana because Easterseals Crossroads worked with the BMV to make the computerized tests available in American Sign Language.

“ASL is my first language; I don’t understand written English all the time. Having the questions signed was the only way to make the test accessible for me,” said Sophia. Olivia thought some of the wording was tricky. “I would not have understood the questions without the videos,” said Olivia.

Easterseals Crossroads realized the tremendous need for ASL test options and Stephanie Ritchie and Jennifer Alka from our Deaf services team worked diligently during the past year to make this need a reality. The computerized versions of the tests now provide video links of ASL interpreters signing the questions. “ASL is a visual language; it is definitely different than written English and some words do not transfer well,” said Jennifer.

“A huge barrier for Deaf people no longer exists. An entire new generation of drivers will never realize that there were struggles with testing accessibility. It has been amazing to be part of something this big. We made a change that can benefit every Deaf driver in Indiana,” said Stephanie.