She lost her hearing when she was 4 years old (that made me 7 years old at the time). My parents made the decision for her to continue on the path of oral communication; that meant that she learned to read lips, continue speaking, and eventually get a Cochlear implant . It also meant that she attended mainstream schools – with support some services.
It also meant that she never learned to sign.
Until she went off to summer camp one year where she did. And it rocked her world. Finally, she had found her tribe…and a method of communication that wasn’t so much work for her to master and one that felt natural.
Meanwhile, her older sister was caught up being a high school senior and junior college student who in her mind was wildly popular and in real life was wildly self-centered. Off to college she went and, eventually, off to college her baby sister went. To the country’s top deaf university, and then to a mainstream university with a tight-knit deaf population, where she would make the transition to using ASL as her main form of communication. Of course she would read lips and speak when she came home to visit her family, and at holidays and on breaks, but really, ASL had become her first language.
But her family was now a day late and a dollar short.
I’m going to learn ASL doggone it. And so are my kids.