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! Barbara 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.