I’ve just started my ASL II class at my university, because I want to be in both the capital d Deaf world and the hearing world. (Never mind that it counts for foreign language for both my majors! 🙂 ) Often, when I was growing up, I would feel alienated because I was of neither ‘world’. I knew no sign, and had difficulty understanding with my hearing aid. Plus add to the fact that I wasn’t diagnosed as deaf until age 2, and so missed out on a lot of language development. It wasn’t really until a few years ago…actually in early ’05, if I remember right, that I realized that perhaps I am of both worlds, only if I choose to be. (That was about the time I got my CI, to be honest.)
So, I’m learning ASL. In case you were wondering, I’ve never asked my parents why exactly they taught me to hear instead to sign. But I do know it wasn’t because “it’s too hard”, because it was hard for them to teach me how to hear. It was hard for them to get the money to buy me hearing aids, and thank goodness they got a grant for speech/listening therapy! My first audiologist said my parents should teach me sign language, but she also said that I’d never learn to talk, or hear, or speak, or read, or amount to much of anything at all. I think that was what did it for my parents…after all, what parent wants to hear that? Plus, my parents had heard about how cliquish the Deaf can be, so all these little things most likely affected their decision.
I don’t begrudge them their decision to raise me as hearing. It proved to the world that I am amounting to something! I am a “sucess story” so to speak. But now I feel like I should honor my deaf side by learning ASL, so as to not make Deaf people angry at my parents’ decision (I don’t know whether that’s an unfounded fear or not). And by being of both worlds, I hope to serve as a bridge, especially if I can help Deaf children enjoy reading! And especially if I can get others excited about learning ASL so as to bring more of a service to the community (I work at a library). So far I’ve encourage two people to learn ASL. 🙂
I also would love to learn how to sign songs, esp. the popular culture ones, like Christmas/other religious songs, and American patriotic songs. Right now, I really want to learn how to sign the Star Spangled Banner…but have yet to find a gloss of it. So, if any of you happen to know a website that helps me do that, that would be great!