Tuesday, September 9, 2008

ASL Classes...Part 1!

I took SEE (Signed Exact English) waaaaay back in 197something when I was a little bitty thing. There wasn't a lot of need for me to use it, as I could hear well enough with my hearing aid to get by in a mainstream school environment (if I remember right, I didn't even get a teacher's aide until second grade). Signing is one of those "use-it-or-lose-it" things...very easy to get rusty...and it is an ever-evolving language as well. Years of neglect has made me way past rusty...I had forgotten all but the most basic signs. I've had an interest for a couple of years now in re-learning and have even picked up a couple of books on the subject. I have learned quite a few signs from Deaf and hard-of-hearing friends and it has just made me interested in learning more. I couldn't take the ASL 1 class last year because of a scheduling conflict, so I was thrilled when it fell on a Tuesday night this year...I am totally free on those nights :).
Tonight was the first class, and I am going to love this. There's the teacher, nine women, and one boy that looks to be around 20ish or so (definitely outnumbered). Two mothers with CI kids, one grandmother of a CI child (although she doesn't look old enough to be a grandmother!) and quite a few teachers' aides for a local school make up the bulk of the class. There are a handful that are there just because they want to learn the language, but most of us have a connection to someone who is deaf and/or hard of hearing and are working on communication skills. I am the only deaf member of the class...so that will be kinda interesting :).
We talked about the history of ASL...the different kinds of sign (SEE, cued speech, Pidgin Sign, etc), syntax, customs, body language, etc. We learned quite a few signs, but mostly we just covered it from an informative point of view tonight. We have a good group...everyone loosened up fast and we all had a good time...and I am looking forward to the next nine classes!
I really think we have a good teacher...Jackie started learning ASL in 1992, I believe she said, and has a college degree in it. She works for a video relay operator as an interpreter, so she has had a lot of experience and is just a gold mine of information. She will occasionally take a sign from the book (a newer edition is coming out this month, I believe) and say, "that's not how they sign it now...here's the short form" or something to that effect, and I like that. I know it will take me a long, long time to get either fluent or really comfortable with it...but I feel like she wants to help us get a really good grasp on it so our communication skills will be the best they can be.
This class ended up being my birthday present to me this year...I turned 37 today. It was a great way to spend the night. It is in a small town outside of Nashville that has nothing but a Sonic, but y'all know me...Sonic is all I need, really :).
The new ear is still healing great...I sleep on it all night, every night, stitches and all, and no pain. The incision occasionally gets kinda sore and the skin over the implant gets tender occasionally...since he moved it up it's taking a bit of getting used to again, but that won't last long :).
Off to bed...night, all! :)

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