First of all, I'd like to start off tonight's post with some good news... My little sister's test results came back yesterday and her heart is absolutely fine!
Since we got the news about my little sister's hearing loss, my mom has been doing everything that she can to find resources online to help us. My mom and I have been teaching signs to Twin A (and the rest of the family) little by little, but we know that eventually she may lose her hearing all together and need to rely on ASL. I'm proud of how much I have learned, but I'm not fluent in sign language. My skills only go so far. This means that we'll all eventually need to take further ASL classes, and my parents obviously want to make sure that my sister is getting all of the help that she needs as she gets older. Twin B was pretty easy; her eyesight was poor, she got glasses, and she's good to go. She may not even need glasses anymore by the time the girls are in middle school. But while Twin B will improve over time, Twin A will not. Twin A's hearing will never get better, and will most likely continue to get worse. I don't know if she'll eventually need cochlear implants or be 100% deaf, but we need to prepare now for anything that may happen in the future.
In all of her research, my mom happened to stumble across an event that was taking place at our local mall tonight. There was a "Deaf Chat" occurring, which my mom wanted to attend with me. We didn't exactly know what we were getting ourselves into... Would there be any other hearing people there? Would we be able to communicate with anyone? Would we be able to find out about any resources to help my little sister? It was all a big mystery. My mom was nervous going into it, just unsure about what was going to happen and excited that she may be able to learn something to help my sister. I was nervous because I don't even talk to people in English, much less in ASL! Sure, I absolutely know enough signs to be able to have a conversation with someone; I talk to my best friend's aunt, who is deaf, via video chat and sign with her for hours at a time. I wasn't so much concerned about the signing part as I was about the actual communicating with people because of my social anxiety. Still, I didn't want my mom to go alone, so I went with her.
I definitely freaked out a little when we first arrived and didn't know who to talk to, but I ended up being really glad that we went to this event. My mom had written down what my sister was diagnosed with and what we were looking for, since we didn't know those kinds of medical signs. She gave her note to a really nice gentleman who we saw signing, and he ended up introducing us to a teacher at my other sister's high school who teaches deaf students. This teacher was able to interpret a little for us, introduce us to some people, and give us a lot of information about resources that we should look into. My mom and I signed our names to some people in introductions, and then I ended up having a whole conversation with this teacher in ASL about where I went to college and where I'm working and whatnot; my mom was really impressed with me because the two of us were signing so quickly and I not only understood the questions but was able to answer as well. I was proud of myself too, because I never got tripped up. Of course, the members of the Deaf Community who were signing all around us were going extremely quickly, so it was difficult to keep up with what was happening all around us, but I was glad that I was able to pick up on some things throughout the night.
We found out that these "Deaf Chats" are held every once in a while at this mall, so my mom wants to go back again the next time. We're going to bring the twins with us so they can see other people signing, since they've only ever seen us sign to them. We may even get the whole family to go... we'll have to see. But in the meantime, we're going to start using ASL much more frequently around the house, starting with tomorrow. My mom wants us to get up in the morning and not speak at all, just sign to everyone.
It sounds crazy, but my mom used to do this to us all of the time when my brother and I were little. We would get up on any particular morning, and my mom would be doing something different to make us crazy. Signing (I could pick it up, but my brother had no clue what was going on), speaking with a French accent, using some Spanish words... you name it, and my mom probably did it. She liked to make us think in the morning. So tomorrow, I'll get to take part in the nonsense and make everyone else go nuts as we only sign. I just hope that we'll remember that we wanted to do this, because knowing the two of us, we'll forget until after lunchtime or something!
I really love that the twins are so excited about learning ASL, and I hope that the rest of the family is as interested in picking it up too. My sister took a sign language class at the high school this year, so she knows a little bit now, but I think it would be great if we all learned more as Twin A gets bigger. You never know what will happen in the future; someday we may be very grateful that we started learning a lot now.
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