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Girl helps paramedics through sign language skills

Ten-year-old Yesenia Diosdado is revising an English assignment. But it turns out the language that's proven to be most valuable is the one she knows that's silent. Yesenia's mother started teaching her sign language when she was just a year old.

"I have always explained to me kids -- even if you may never use it -- the importance of sign language is everywhere," her mother Susan Mulidore told CBS News.

A little over a week ago Yesenia found out her mother was right all along. She was playing outside with a friend in Lenexa, Kansas.

"I heard a weird sound so I wanted to go look," she told CBS News.

It turned out the sounds and commotion were a car accident. Yesenia saw the paramedics trying to talk to a woman who'd been hurt and was still in the car. She could see they were having trouble communicating. That was until the brave girl rushed in and started signing with her. "Are you hurt?" she asked the woman using her hands.

The woman told her that she was indeed injured, and with Yesenia's help also instructed the paramedics which hospital she wished to be admitted to.

"We would not have even been able to establish what her injuries were without significant delays of having to establish another means of communication," said Chris Winger, one of the paramedics who was present at the scene of the accident.

While it turns out the woman wasn't seriously hurt, Yesenia did help ease the transfer to the hospital. In recognition of her heroic efforts, the paramedics presented her with a certificate and medal of appreciation. While Yesenia was surprised by all the attention, it's now undeniable that learning sign language was well worth the effort.

"Just knowing the simple alphabet of sign language can be a huge benefit, especially in a situation like this," said her mother.