- May 4, 2005
LOL! I'll bet that doc got a kick out of watching you signing at each other and knowing just what you were discussing!Whenever I have tried lately, the hearing impaired person just looks all screwy at me. Then I have to wonder, what DID I say? My wife was sick for a very long time. She taught me some signs to use while in waiting room or when hospital staff was around and she didn’t want to be “heard.” Turns out one doctor was quite fluent in ASL. He finally let us in on that fact that he understood us. Fortunately we hadn’t said anything bad
I am actually hearing-impaired but not profoundly deaf. When I was very small I went to a school for the hearing-impaired, an "oral school," where the use of sign language was strictly forbidden. Kids managed to find ways around that, though, furtively signing when teachers weren't around, etc. If a child were caught signing, his or hands were smacked -- signifying that an effort at any sort of communication other than oral was worthy of punishment. Once I was fitted with a hearing aid I began attending my own neighborhood public schools and that was that.....
MANY years later I was working in the branch of the public library which also offered specific services to the visually impaired and the hearing impaired, and it seemed logical that I should take a class or two in sign language (ASL) so that when someone came into the library there would be a librarian able to sign. I also attended meetings of a local group of deaf people and interpreters, which was very helpful, too. What I found interesting was that it took me a while to overcome the hurdle associated with the long-ingrained idea that there was something "wrong" and "bad" about using Sign, especially in public. Thankfully attitudes have changed significantly since the late 1940's and early 1950's!