Monday, August 2, 2010

Random Deaf

Someone told me it didn't matter if a hearing child learns to sign because they may never meet a deaf person in their life time. This seemed so odd to me on so many levels. The reason I am thinking about this is the other day just made this statement come back to me. I am never surprised at how often we meet people who sign, often at random times.

My mother is ill and staying at a skilled nursing facility. I visit often with my daughter but my son doesn't come often. My mother has never learned to sign. There are many reasons for why he doesn't visit a lot but that is one of them. When we found out he was deaf my husbands family all signed up for ASL classes. My mom made attempts but just couldn't get past "hi". The other day he asked to go visit her.

We were walking down the hall on the way to see her, the three of us signing. A woman walked up and in ASL asked if I was related to my mom. She was chatting away with me and it turns out she is deaf and volunteers at the facility. She gave me her contact info so she could help us get Haddy a volunteer opportunity in a local deaf nursing home. I have been meaning to check into this. Random.

We left and stopped by the library. I see someone waving off to my right. It is an interpreter friend. We stand signing even after my son walks off. Random.

So I was thinking this person who thought deaf people are rare doesn't realize how big the community is here. You can't tell if someone is deaf by looking at them but if you happen to be signing in public you will find there are deaf people and people who sign all over the city.

Just a random thought


  1. That is the excellent random blog post you ever published!

    Random, indeed!

    There are SO many people who are able to sign, and we need to give them 'permission' to allow signing in the public. Listening and talking dominates, but signing enhances communication to the greater levels that people never expect that it would.

    Amy Cohen Efron

  2. In my opinion, the person who cited " didn't matter if a hearing child learns to sign because they may never meet a Deaf person in their life..." has already shut the doors with that type of mindset to actually meeting a Deaf person and is being ignorant to the fact that a hearing child can benefit significantly from learning sign language; not to mention how it can have the capacity to help that hearing child by opening more doors to both the Deaf community and the job force (interpreters) in the future that this person (with that type of close minded mindset) isn't even cognizant of.

  3. Awesome post (though I'm sorry to hear about your mom).

    Truly, I wish my own signing was better (I'm such a speller & lip reader -- need to improve my signing -- you know my limits). Even so, I'm so grateful for what I do know -- it's been such a blessing and has opened up a new world to me.

    One last thought...A friend once shared a cool insight with me, "Learning a new language is like getting another soul." So much in that idea and so true.

  4. Great post. Totally destroys that "Deaf ghetto" myth. Deaf people are all around, interacting with Deaf and Hearing people alike, in Hearing and Deaf settings. As you say, "totally random"!

  5. They aren't rare! In the past week I've seen Deaf people three times.
    1. in line at a pizza place
    2. at a grocery store
    3. while driving down the road they were walking on the side. These were all different people, and we live in a smallish community. (the biggest "city" nearby is about 50,000 - but ours is closer to 1,000.)

  6. southwest is running a commercial on low fares...not the point! but the woman in the commercial answers the question of how much do snacks cost onboard and she answers nothing while gesturing with two hands making what looks like owels in sign...had they infused ASL in the commercial to accompany the word "nothing" , it would have enhanced the commercial tremendously..

  7. Ok, sorry this is completely off topic, but I am throwing a "woodland fairy" party for my daughters birthday. I have to a very very small budget. Do you have any ideas for games/decorations?? I'm going for the all natural woodland fairies :)

  8. Erika, my whole life is off topic! Email me.....

  9. random acts of kindness

    since when has knowing more than one language been a bad thing - oh yeah since ICED Milan 1880 but that is dead now so RIP and viva ASL and multilingualism