Monday, July 30, 2012

Loving My Second Language Skills

Over the last year I've taken two semesters of American Sign Language. I've always wanted to learn it, and loved my classes.

My girls were interested in learning at first, but then as with everything, their interest waned. Just to keep my skills up a bit I make them use it at church when they want to ask something. They go to whisper to me, and I sign to them, "No, sign it". Much eye rolling is followed by simple ASL signs. Love it!

So it was so cool when I subbed at a different special ed preschool for a week and actually got to use my skills! There is a deaf girl there. I signed with her a little on Mon. and Tues. but on Wed. the teacher (and main signer) was gone and this little girl was acting very sassy. It was as if she knew no one could really communicate with her so she was pushing her limits. That was until I went over and signed to her to knock it off, among other things. After we straightened things out we had a lot of fun playing and signing with each other. It seemed that she was almost craving someone to sign to. How fun!

Then a few weeks ago I was out with my girls and we made a stop where I was talking to someone, and I noticed the restroom nearby, so I signed to them real quickly asking if they needed to use it. The lady I was talking to, asked, "Are they hearing impaired?"  I kind of had to laugh, and told her, " they're not, but their hearing is selective to be sure!"

ASL is a challenging language, but so rewarding to learn. Imagine being deaf. It would be almost like being in a foreign country all the time. Yes, deaf people can read and write, but usually very minimally. Think about trying to learn English if you couldn't hear it! I never thought about that either until I started learning about Deaf culture. So even if you only learn a few signs, it's worthwhile. A deaf person is so appreciative of your efforts to communicate with them.

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