Most of us don’t realize that when we get together, especially during the holidays like now, that we need to be extra considerate of those who may have a difficult time trying to follow whatever is going on.
Let us just say that almost everyone on both sides of the family can side, maybe not the best as one side of the family is but at least doable.
I do know that I am at fault as well because of my bilingual skills as I was harshly reminded during some muddling of a good number of wine drinks.
Just a message for those who have deaf or hard of hearing folks in your families…be considerate of what you and your family do during gatherings. It is a time of joy and cherishing families, which do not need to be compounded by trying to “force” family members to keep us on track with what is going on. If you can sign (however much), use it. Since this is an informal setting, you can sign and speak at the same time, which is what we deaf and hard of hearing sign language users do anyway during informal settings. Guaranteed that both languages will suffer but it’s just informal.
Some of you may wonder why your deaf or hard of hearing relatives are not so happy during the gatherings…this is one reason why. They would prefer to be with their friends, why? Because they will be talking all night long with no impediments or uncertainty.
For those who do use sign language because of deaf and hard of hearing family members that they grew up with, for Pete’s sake, just sign when you speak, that way we would not be even segregated within the family. It is not the first time, nor will it be the last.
That goes for me as well. I do know this, I will be committed in ensuring that my children will be able to respect both languages at family gatherings. If my husband and I do this anyway (automatically), they can, after all it is only natural that it should happen. Which means, practice what I say.
Also, this link will take you to the poem “You Have To Be Deaf To Understand”. http://www.deaflion.com/people/you-have-to-be-deaf-to-understand/