Tuesday, March 29, 2011


One of the things that people studying sign language need to learn about is the people who actually use the language—the Deaf Community. They even have classes just about Deaf Culture and I definitely recommend one, if you get the opportunity.

Within the class, undoubtedly one thing that will pop up is attention-getting procedures. Most of you should already know these things. Lightly tapping (NOT POKING) the person on the shoulder; flickering the lights; stomping on a wood floor; etc. I’m sure you all have your own special way of getting your deaf and hard of hearing friends’ and relatives’ attention.

I thought I had experienced them all, too. With three young children, it’s amazing what they will do to try to get my attention while not having to get up out of their chair or miss part of the television program they’re watching. I’ve seen my 11-year-old jump up and down on the couch, doing jumping jacks and banging on the wall. I’ve watched this with my peripheral vision, so she doesn’t know I’m actually watching. It amazes me that she’ll continue to do this for 10 ten whole minutes, when all she has to do is walk 8 feet and touch me on the arm. To be honest, it’s fun. I love making them squirm. And squirm, they do.

Still, I was met with an interesting surprise the other day. I was at the neighborhood Speedway (which is basically just a really big gas station with eats inside). I left the kids in the car as I rushed inside to pay for the gas and pick up a couple of Little Debbie snack cakes as treats. This is when things went awry.

I paid for the gas and the cakes and turned to leave when someone grabbed my shoulders and started turning me around. At that exact moment, I got pelted in the forehead with…you guessed it…a snack cake that I apparently had left behind. I’m serious! No touching my shoulder gently. A big thud and I was cross-eyed for three minutes—stunned and unable to comprehend what just happened. I’d been caked.

So, I’m thinking, maybe now I’ve experienced it all. Although something very strong inside tells me I’ve got lots to look forward to in the future.


  1. touching (deaf) people to get their attention was such a foreign concept to me. The whole "personal space" thing.

    Any answers to saying goodbye/hello to someone who's in a conversation?

    one of a bunch of reasons, including an inability to do small talk in sign, that keep me away from Tuesday's at the mall.

  2. When I'm out chatting with other deaf people and I need to leave the group, I simply wait till the person is done and let them know I'm leaving and where I'm going. But let's say I'm at a party and I need to leave. The host or a friend is having a conversation with another person, what do I do? I simply go stand next to them and put my hand at chest level. This let's them know I'd like to say something when they have a chance to break from the conversation. Then I say hello or goodbye and leave.

    I know that it is said in the Deaf Community that we have long goodbyes. I don't fit in in that area. When I'm ready to leave, I'm outta there. LOL

    I don't do the mall either, but that's because 1. I'm shy, 2. I'm socially inept. LOL 3., it's mostly students practicing and I'm not usually enthusiastic about always teaching. You went on the Art Prize tour, didn't you? How did that go socially?

    Thanks for your input.

  3. Ive had people make noises at me (whistles, hollers, loud grunts--I don't know why thy think I'll hear that when I cant even hear my own name!), Ive also had a few folks throw things at me, which I LOATHE, and sometimes people go and put their faces or hands IN MY FACE to get me to look at them.


  4. You make very good points here and I'm sure every deafie at one point has experienced these things. But one thing I will not tolerate is people grabbing my head or face and forcing me to look at them. I've even had this happen with there's an interpreter right there. Geesh!

  5. At work...I get snapping the fingers, waving in my face and whistling.
    Whistle and snap away...I can't hear you!!

    But, in all honesty, a co-worker recently was snapping her fingers by my 'hearing aid wearing ear' and she tells me to turn my aid up all the time. I turned around and politely EDUCATED her on hearing aids/deafness, that what she was doing was inappropriate.
    And if it continues, I will file a complaint about her for discrimination. So far she's been quiet.