It wasn’t very long ago that I asked my kids some questions about having a deafie for a mom. But it’s been long enough that I thought I should ask again. Here’s the information they shared with me:
- Are you ever embarrassed that your mom is Deaf?
NATALIE: No. I don’t see why anyone would be. I find it a good opportunity and a cool experience (Isn’t she the greatest?)
MOLLIE: No. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about. (I’m so happy they feel this way!)
- Have you ever had a time when having a Deaf mom helped you?
NATALIE: It helped to know who is who at Silent Celebration. (Silent Celebration is a big Deaf/HOH get together each summer with dozens of deafies, lots of conversation and games.)
JACOB: Yes. My ASL Class. My mom helped me with ASL grammar, new signs, and doing a song for my end-of-class project (Which he was great at).
MOLLIE: I have met and talked to many deaf people and helped with sign language. It also helped in getting a job.
- What do your friends say when they meet your deaf mom? Are they intimidated?
NATALIE: At first, they’re scared and nervous, but they think it’s really cool and eventually it doesn’t phase them.
JACOB: Not to my knowledge, but I’m not in their head. Most of them don’t have a problem as long as I am there to interpret.
MOLLIE: Everyone is intimidated by coming into contact with something they don’t know…someone from a different way of life. But, after a while, they like you and get used to it.
- Name a time knowing sign language helped you.
NATALIE: When I’m able to communicate with people like you, the family and deaf and hard of hearing people.
JACOB: It helped me communicate with other deaf people at Silent Celebration (See above for an explanation of what that is).
MOLLIE: When I come into contact with Deaf people who need help, I can voice for them or sign with them.
- Do you consider yourself bilingual?
NATALIE: Yes, because I learned ASL before I learned to speak.
JACOB: Yes, because ASL is now being recognized as a real language.
- How will you use your sign language skills in the future or with your future career?
NATALIE: I want to be a therapist and id a parent or kid is deaf, I can help them.
JACOB: To communicate with other people.
MOLLIE: In art, it helps to have knowledge of different cultures to draw from. It’s inspiring.
- What would you say to kids who have a deaf relative and are embarrassed?
NATALIE: It’s a good experience and in this society with friends, they’ll find it really cool. Embrace it with an open mind. You shouldn’t disown them for things they can’t help. Be proud.
JACOB: Don’t be. They’re just like you and me. Nothing to be embarrassed about.
MOLLIE: Why be embarrassed. That’s stupid. (LOL Her words,,,not mine.)
- Have you ever used ASL in class when the teacher wasn’t looking?
NATALIE: Yes. In math class I taught my friend, Anna, a few words and the ABCs. We could spell to each other across the room. We talked in History class all the time.
JACOB: I’ve shown my friends signs, but I don’t use them in class.
MOLLIE: Nope. (She’s just being difficult.)
So, as you can see, being a Deaf mom doesn’t necessarily have to have reprocutions for the kids. Just help them keep an open mind and embrace your language and culture and all will be OK.