Why I Sign

It is my hope that we will all love and guard our beautiful sign language as the noblest gift God has given to Deaf people. ~George Veditz, 1913

When I was in elementary school, my mom shared with me that there was talk that one of my great-great grandmothers was born in Spain and may have even been of royal decent.

Royal decent? As in…a princess?? For a little girl, that was a dream and I could not wait to tell my friends.

The next day at school I ran to my friends with a big smile on my face and told them that my great-great grandmother was a princess in Spain. My friends started giggling. But I was serious, and this…this was no laughing matter. So I stood there with a perplexed look. My friend, Eva, then pointed out that it sounded like I had said, “My great-great grandmother was a princess in pain!” Because of my hearing loss, I had a hard time hearing ‘s’ sounds and thus, I sometimes I did not make the ‘s’ sound.

hearing aids
A close up of hearing aids.
As an oral deaf, I have more stories like this where I either misunderstood someone or said things a little “off.” I mean, who decided to pronounce pizza with a ‘t’ sound in the middle? {rolls eyes} Nonetheless, I was able to function in the hearing world and I had a happy, content childhood. But there was always a desire to learn ASL in my heart.

The summer before my senior year of high school, I attended a workshop for deafblind teens. This was the first time I had met anyone with deafblindness, so this was a big deal. Most of the participants were oral like me, so communication was relatively easy. However, the one girl who had Usher Syndrome like me was completely deaf and used ASL to communicate. I wanted so badly to be able to talk to her directly without an interpreter. I knew what I needed to do: learn ASL.

That evening, we went to a banquet to celebrate Helen Keller’s birthday. There I met more deafblind people. I had the pleasure of talking to many of them, but again, I was not able to directly converse with those who used ASL as their primary mode of communication. This confirmed what I needed to do: learn ASL. And I did.

i love you hand
The “I LOVE YOU” sign pointed toward the sky. The sun peeks through the leaves on a tree.
So why do I sign? I sign so that I can communicate with all of my fellow deafblind peers.

 

 

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6 thoughts on “Why I Sign

  1. I was born with inner-ear deformities and I’ve had numerous surgeries to correct the problem. The surgeries helped my hearing to improve over the years. However, I still prefer ASL. Being able to talk with someone and not worry about background noise or filling in the blanks for the words you missed is nice.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have always wanted to learn to sign. My grandma lost her hearing around 10, but ultimately only read lips and rarely signed. I really enjoy your posts.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. She did when she lost her hearing, but my mom says she didn’t want to be treated differently so she didn’t use it. I know a couple words, but that is it.

        Liked by 1 person

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