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Deafness Part 3: Sign Language

The day I found out about my hearing loss, I decided to start learning sign language. At that point, I didn’t know if the hearing loss was stable, or if it would progress. All I knew is that I needed to learn to sign. I went home, Googled “American Sign Language free sites”, and started learning. I am going to say right now, it is the best decision I have ever made.

The first six months of learning was primarily online. Then I was able to take ASL 1 at school in 2012. At that same time, someone I know was also learning sign because her son is deaf. I was invited to their house for their Saturday ASL classes. I started using ASL interpreters in my classes in the Fall of 2012. When I had first asked about using interpreters, I was told I should learn some more ASL first, and after I took ASL 1, I could start using interpreters in my classes. They served two purposes. Going deaf while being in college was quite the issue. There’s so many options for when a child goes deaf. But an adult? There aren’t many options. So my interpreters were not just there to interpret, but they helped me learn ASL. They didn’t have to help teach me, but because of my situation, they were happy to. At that same time, two Deaf girls started taking classes as well, and a couple of my classes were with them. I became good friends with them and they helped me learn more sign. Then, in the Spring of 2014, I was finally able to take ASL 2, and I also tutored for ASL 1. I feel very lucky that things played out this way. It really helped me learn ASL faster.

Learning ASL has improved my life in so many ways. I started passing my math classes! I understand math so much better when its taught to me in ASL. In general, I am able to understand things so much clearer. I don’t have to constantly ask “what”. I understand immediately. I feel like a whole new world has opened for me. I have always been a visual person, and ASL brings communication to life in a way that I wish I had had access to my whole life.

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