Boy learns sign language to help deaf student make friends

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Being a new kid is hard. Being profoundly deaf can make it almost impossible to fit in and make new friends.

That's why what year six student Ross Kelly did was so important.

The young man learned an entirely new language to become friends with the new kid, Isam Gurung.

The classmates in Amaroo School in Canberra, Australia, initially struggled to communicate.

"We started out writing notes to each other and I decided this wasn't very efficient because there was always a delay," Ross told ABC News.

He knew he was going to have to take drastic measures to be close to his friend, so he took the plunge and learned Auslan (Australian sign language).

But he didn't stop there. His teacher, Sara Jayn Middleton, told Mashable that Ross uses his skills to interpret school assemblies, pass messages to Isam and sign at Scout events.

"His attitude towards inclusivity is one many can only be in awe of," she said.

Though the school provides an interpreter, there's something special about having a friend communicate with you and help others.

"We played a game with Auslan, we taught all the hearing Scouts the signs and the Auslan alphabet and the numbers up to 10," Isam's father, Indra Gurung, told ABC.

Ross has been recognized for his good deeds with a Fred Hollows Humanity Award -- a major service honor for Australian students.

The win allows Ross to nominate a charity for a A$5,000 (US$3,779) donation. He's chosen a school eye-health program in Cambodia run by the Fred Hollows Foundation.

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