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Twin sisters share journey one year after Indiana BMV adds American Sign Language test option

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A set of twin sisters from central Indiana believes there is a freedom that comes with being able to drive.

For Olivia and Sophia Wascher, this freedom comes nearly one year after American Sign Language was added as a driver’s test option at the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

Unlike most of the other drivers on the road, the Waschers are deaf. They take all of their tests at the Indiana School for the Deaf in American Sign Language and say being able to take the driver’s test in ASL is a benefit.

Driver’s tests in American Sign Language were made possible by the efforts of Jennifer Alka with Easterseals Crossroads. She spearheaded research that ultimately moved the BMV to add American Sign Language as an option.

“I’ll read the English question and I’ll translate it in my head into American Sign Language and think, ‘how would I sign this?’” Alka said.

Alka believes that being deaf makes her a better a driver because her other senses are heightened.

“I think we’re more alert than the average person because we rely on our vision and eyesight so much,” Alka said.

The Wascher twins say that before ASL driver’s tests became available, taking the test in English was a hassle. Now, they say more of their peers feel a bit more comfortable trying to take their driver’s tests.

“We both have encouraged our friends and other students here at the Indiana School for the Deaf to go take the test,” Olivia Wascher said.

With their licenses in hand, the twins are excited about the road ahead.

“In my dreams, I want to go to Colorado,” Olivia Wascher said through an interpreter.

“I want to travel, but we’ve got school, so I can’t take off just yet,” Sophia Wascher added.

Visit the Indiana BMV website for more information on American Sign Language driver’s tests.