“I just saw that people were making masks on Facebook for everyone to have instead of the throwaway masks, and I was like, what about the deaf and hard of hearing population?” said 21-year-old Ashley Lawrence.
Ashley is a senior studying education for the deaf and hard of hearing at Eastern Kentucky University, and because of the pandemic, she is living back at home.
“I felt like there was a huge population that was being looked over,” she told LEX18. “We’re all panicking right now and so a lot of people are just not being thought of. So, I felt like it was very important that, even at a time like this, people need to have that communication.”
Together with her mom, Ashley set about making masks that reveal the speaker’s mouth — and therefore their facial expression.
The masks are “For anyone who uses speech reading, lip reading, anybody like that,” she said. “And people who are profoundly deaf who use ASL as their primary mode of communication. ASL is very big on facial expressions and it is part of the grammar.”
In less than two days, Ashley already had dozens of orders from six states.