Friday, July 23, 2010

Wave your hands in the air

I have been posting about our trip to DeafNation in Los Vegas. This story is helps illustrate how many people were there.

We were looking at a shopping mall in a fancy hotel and became very hungry. Food in Vegas is expensive so we were pleased to see a food court. It was packed but we managed to find a table. As we were eating my daughter looked around and noticed how many people were signing. She was so excited. She is used to being the only people signing in public. She started to count them. Then she made up a game. We were to wave are hands in the air every time we saw a deaf person. The same way deaf people applaud.

I am sure my seven year old looked funny applauding at our table. My son got up to get a bag for our leftover food and the man next to him turned to see my daughter with a big smile waving her hands. He waved back and questioned about what she was doing. I told him and he looked a bit confused. He was signing something I didn't understand. He then signs that he is from Argentina. He and a friend flew from Argentina for the Expo. Of course we struggled a bit to communicate because we were signing in two different languages but we managed pretty well.

As we were walking out we noticed this packed area was full of deaf people from all over the world. It is hard to explain how that felt. This public place was a sea of flying hands.


  1. I am thrilled that you are there to have a collective experience. Haddy will never forget this event, as I never forget my experience at Deaf Way I and II in 1989 and 2002. Imagine that all of the parents of deaf children have this similar experience as you have, and their worries and fears will go away. That's "Deaf Gain" in our community where we can easily interact with other peers from all over the world. That's something that the general population needs to acknowledge and respect our unique gifts.

    I am even more curious how did the people who can 'hear' and have no connections to the deaf people react to this? Are they piqued? Are they scared? Are they apprehensive? Are they fascinated? Is there any kind of whispering saying "Those people...", "What are they saying?" etc... I kinda wish there is a media attention to this special event.

    Amy Cohen Efron

  2. Hi Amy,
    So since I am hearing and sign voice off it is sometimes interesting what I hear around us when we out in public.

    What was really interesting is maybe because we were so strong in numbers and at times the hearing folks were the obvious minority there was no negative reaction that I saw. We found we didn't need to depend on hearing people for information since there was a deaf person at every turn. That was awesome. I can't remember one time when we were in public and there wasn't some deaf.

    The was also a teacher convention in town and I met a lot of them. They all loved learning more about deaf education.

    One hearing man was suprised it was an event he just thought deaf folks liked Vegas.

    Another thing we noticed was the hotel workers were very at ease with the idea of communicating with deaf people. Haddy really noticed that.

    Of course I wasn't really focused on the hearing people but we didn't hear or experience anything negative.