[bksvol-discuss] Re: OT Sign Language

  • From: Barbara <barbarab65@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 30 May 2007 23:21:42 -0700 (PDT)

I hope that the training center has changed its policy today and has instituted 
Jaws on their computer so that people who are blind, deaf or deaf-blind can 
communicate with each other.
  Even though you are no longer at the training center, you could go back there 
and try to get the director to install the software so that the current 
students can communicate more effectively.
  Before electronic material became available, I, like many of you, had to rely 
on readers and if I was lucky books from RFB (before the D). Now, by 
volunteering for Bookshare, we are in a new position of helping others like 
college students, who don't have much time to scan, to be able to get material 
quicker and more effectively. You can do the same thing at the training center 
by helping to make changes in their system. It is never too late to do 
something to make things better in this world.
  I think that I might try my hand (pun, Ha-Ha) at learning sign language, 
again. Cheers!

siss52 <siss52@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
  Bless your heart, Monica.  I am sure the people enjoyed getting to know you 
as much as they could under the circumstances.  SMILE  Also, thanks for 
explaining more about ASL.  
  Sue S.
  ----- Original Message -----   From: Monica Willyard 
  To: bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
  Sent: Wednesday, May 30, 2007 8:31 PM
  Subject: [bksvol-discuss] Re: OT Sign Language


   Sue and Laura, I took a class in sign language about 15 years ago.  There is 
even a Braille book to teach blind people how to sign correctly.  I was in a 
training center with both deaf and blind adult students, and I wanted to bridge 
the gap between our cultures.  From what I understand, ASL sign language is 
like reading grade 2 or even grade 3 Braille.  ASL uses letters, gestures, and 
symbols to represent entire words or phrases.  The deaf people I worked with 
gave me a sign for my name.  It's the letter m that drops from my chin to where 
my heart is.  They said it was a symbol that shows that I try to talk with them 
and kept my heart open to them.      
   ASL has a looser flow of hand movements.  It also does not use standard 
English grammar as the English sign Language does.  For example, in ESL you 
would say "John is going to the store to buy a book."  In ASL, John has a 
symbol or gesture that his friends have given him, sort of like a nickname.  
They would make the sign for John, and the grammar would be something like, 
"John goes store book."  I think ASL is faster to do, and that is a major 
advantage.  I would guess that its disadvantage is that its grammar structure 
leaves some room for misunderstanding about the tense of verbs.      

Until I met the people at the training center, I had no idea of how being deaf 
can isolate people, making basic communication difficult.  I begged the 
training center's director to let us put a computer with Jaws in the lounge so 
we could at least type back and forth to get to know each other.  He refused, 
and it is still one of my deepest regrets that I could not get to know my 
neighbors beyond the surface.  I know for sure that two of them were wonderful 
people and that we could have had a deep, rich friendship if we'd been able to 
really communicate.
                "Don't let yesterday use up too much of today!" Will Rogers
Monica Willyard, rhyami@xxxxxxxxx
Add rhyami to your Skype if you'd like to chat. 

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