I had back surgery in December (2011), and one of the first things I remember doing in the recovery room was baffle the nurses by signing to them (spelling) “Sorry for snoring.” LOL. It was funny to hear them exclaim to each other, “Is she hearing impaired?!”
I’ve been talking to myself in the American Sign Language (ASL) alphabet for years — just walking along signing things as I think (OK, weird, I know). I learned a bit of ASL when I was 14, as a volunteer at a school for mentally disabled children. Several of the kids couldn’t speak clearly (esp. those with Down Syndrome), so we used some basic ASL phrases and spelling in order understand each other better (one of their favorites to sign at me was “You are weird” — I have that sign down cold!).
Since then, I’ve always wanted to learn sign language. I bought a book when I was a kid, then kind of forgot about it until I woke up in the recovery room in December. I figure if it came that naturally to me, I should find a way to gain some more fluency. That’s when I found this site: Lifeprint.com, which opens directly to videos teaching ASL. The instructor is Dr. Bill Vicars, who I learned in watching the videos is hard of hearing. He is accompanied in the video by a student who works through the lessons with Dr. Vicars and the classroom (both real and virtual).
Another good ASL resource on the Web is “Signing Savvy,” which even includes a video “sign of the day.” It’s a sign language dictionary with thousands of videos featuring the instructor, Dr. Joseph Valente, who describes himself as “very deaf” in this TEDx talk, “Hearing the Unheard.”
I find sign language to be fun and interesting and, as I said, to come rather naturally to me. I’m looking forward to a new adventure in learning!