Great news! We will no longer be using ASL (American Sign Language).
It’s been *almost* five years since finding out our only child was deaf. A lot of people seemed to take it really hard. I mean, who wants to have extra stress piled on top of an already stressful situation (i.e. becoming a parent for the first time)?? Who would intentionally choose to delve into the near impossible task of learning a new language when we could just fix what’s broken with the kid anyways?
I mean, we already chose to have her implanted when she was 19 months old. And even though she hates the thing and it gives her headaches, it’s MUCH easier to force her to wear her cochlear implant and teach her how to hear and use her voice than for Jon and I and the rest of our family to learn a WHOLE new language.
She’s *almost* five, what harm could it do anyways?
She speaks in full sentences, tells stories in detail, uses her imagination to play pretend, can tell me what she wants, why she wants it and where it is that I can find it. She is excelling in school and social skills because we decided to teach her (and learn ourselves, how stupid…) ASL so she could have full access to language development. But all of that is really unimpressive when she could be speaking those sentences by now, you know? It’s like she’s trying to disappoint us.
We get it. It was such a hard and selfish thing for us to ask the people around us to join us on this new language venture from day one. I’m truly ashamed of myself for being so inconsiderate. For sharing articles, videos, books, classes, tutors, anything and everything so everyone could keep up and learn ASL with us… I mean, I practically just shoved it down everyone’s throats.
That’s why I hope to make amends by no longer allowing Edyn to communicate through ASL. We will strictly be a spoken language home, and if she falls behind in school, feels excluded, feels abandoned, feels worthless, if she starts to fail academically…well that’s really her fault for being so selfish to require a different language than the one her family is most comfortable with.
While we’re at it, the 10,000,000 Hard of Hearing and the 1,000,000 Deaf people in the United States alone, why don’t you guys go ahead and hop on the train, too? Hell, why not go all in and just grab the whole bunch? All 328 million adults and 32 million children across the world who are perfectly fine using the language they have created, perfected and have thrived using over the past 200 years, can ya’ll just get with the program and understand that ASL is TOO HARD for parents and extended family members to learn?
Now, if you read that and (heaven forbid) believed me for one second, I’m sorry for the blood vessels that popped and brain cells that burst :). THAT WAS SARCASM, meant to be effective.
Yes, learning a new language can be difficult. It can be time consuming and often frustrating when you (if you’re like me) feel like you should be so much BETTER at it by now! But I’d like you to close your eyes for a second and think about something… how much is the child responsible for their own wellbeing?
We will not now, nor ever, strip our daughter (or anyone else for that matter) of the opportunity to excel in anything she puts her mind to. She is a happy, thriving, wonderful, talkative (as I’m sure all of her teachers can attest to), imaginative, thoughtful …the list goes on… little girl. And she’s not the only one! I watch her interact with her friends, both hearing and Deaf, and these kids are able to have amazing and flourishing relationships with each other because they can COMMUNICATE.
Being someone who has and DOES struggle with social anxiety, being put in new situations, feeling like everyone is watching and judging every move I make…I get it. I completely level with anyone who has planted their seats firmly on the sidelines with no intention of moving or progressing forward. It’s too scary and uncomfortable, amiright?
But learning a new language for someone you love, and I say this from the bottom of my heart and with all that I am, is the most rewarding feeling you can experience. And if it feels that good for you, imagine the WORLD of difference you can make, even for just one kid.
A Mom who’s just trying to figure out this life and parenting thing and hopefully raise kids who don’t need therapy because I can’t afford it 🙂 xx.