As you may or may not know, my current work-in-progress (working title: Yellow Bike) involves a deaf family.
So on Wednesday, I am going to the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf to take my first class in ASL. Finally.
I have always been fascinated with American Sign Language. When I was in third grade, my best friend and I taught ourselves the alphabet as well as a few simple signs from my mom’s 1987 2nd edition of, “The Joy of Signing.” My most distinct memory about that is getting yelled at in library class for talking to each other while we were supposed to be reading, hehe. Yes, that is the same library where we were volunteering our time.
Anyway… I am so nervous I feel like I’m about to meet the royal family or something.
I have done a ton of research over the past few months. I’ve found so many sides to the CI (cochlear implant) debate. I know a lot of the ADA laws and requirements. I know the top ten things you should never say to a deaf person (*ahem* a deaf teen boy is allowed to own and operate a motorcycle). I am trying to learn the distinction between Deaf and deaf. I thought it was pretty clear as I started the first draft, but it seems to be getting increasingly blurrier. I am subscribing to blogs and watching youtube videos and all kinds of things… but I’m still afraid that I’m going to make some horrible, embarrassing social gaffe.
So to all deaf people everywhere:
I am so sorry for the times that I will screw up your beautiful language. You are welcome to laugh at/with me. I am so excited about this class, and I hope that I can hold some kind of intelligent conversation by the end!
I am sorry for the social mistakes that I’m sure are in my first draft- I have a few friends (and I hope to make more friends!) who will help me iron them out. I know that it’s risky and kind of brash to write this story, as the Deaf culture is one to which I am being introduced, not one in which I grew up. I hope that you are happy with the result!
Don’t worry, folks (I know you were so worried), I will keep you updated on my progress. First class on Wednesday! Onward and upward!