Tag Archives: Deaf

The Struggle

I’m about to tie two unlikely things together – my experience working at the Deaf Center in Utah, USA and my experience living in Iasi, Romania.

I used to work at the Sanderson Community Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Taylorsville, Utah. Before, that, I was a volunteer there, which ended up just developing into a job! I loved it.

So many times, I would be working at an event, and there were volunteers that were ASL (American Sign Language) students. Most of them didn’t know that I’m hearing – they usually thought I was Deaf for some reason.

One particular instance illustrates this perfectly. There were two girls who were ASL students from a local college, I don’t remember which one. I could tell that they had a question for me, but weren’t sure how to ask me in ASL. I totally eavesdropped as they slowly walked up behind me…they were talking about how to sign their question. They tapped me on the shoulder and I turned around and signed “Hey, what’s up?”

They then proceeded to sign “We are here to volunteer and…” and then they looked at each other, and I could tell they didn’t know how to sign what they wanted to say next. So, I guided them through the conversation (I knew what they wanted because I heard them talking about it as they walked up to me) as I signed them in and started to tell them where they were assigned to volunteer. I could tell that they were completely lost when they kept glancing at each other and whispering the few signs they understood me signing. I could tell it wasn’t working for them, and after a little bit I ended up just saying “Or we can just talk, I am hearing.” I could see their bodies relax as they gave a nervous laugh and I began speaking to them in English, telling them were they were assigned to volunteer.

Things like that happened multiple times. Both while I was at work at the Deaf Center, and while I was the volunteer coordinator for some events for Sego Lily Center for the Abused Deaf. So many times.

NOW, let’s relate that to my experience here in Romania so far.

I am really trying to learn Romanian. I know I could probably devote more time to sitting down and studying the language, but I am doing what I can with the time that I have. I promise.

I was at a shop the other day and I was trying to ask an employee a question. She was watching me struggle as I used a weird mixture of Romanian, English, and gestures/ASL (sometimes I revert back to ASL when English/Romanian isn’t working out for me, and gestures when ASL isn’t working, either). She spoke Romanian back to me, and I understood some of it, but I was mostly lost, so I did my weird mixture of languages again. She sort of smiled, and then said “I speak English, what do you need?” And my body and brain totally began to relax as I asked her my question, and got an answer.

However, I do not always get that relief. Usually I just have to be left in a state of confusion.

So now, I feel that I am those ASL students that would struggle to communicate with me at the Deaf Center and other events. Except…I don’t always have the ever-so-welcome relief of someone saying “I speak English.”

The moral of the story?

When you are in a situation where you have to use the language you are learning, it’s a relief to discover that the person you are talking to speaks a language you know very well…even if they do get a little bit of pleasure out of letting you struggle for a little bit first.

It is through struggling and making mistakes that we learn.

And I love it. 

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American Sign Language at BYU

Last semester I was a member of ASL Club….I went to a meeting at the end of the semester when they were electing new officers. I was not about to run. I was taking 17.5 credits and I was president of BYU SCEC (Student Council for Exceptional Children), which is another club on campus.
So I entered that meeting with no intention of running.
Then I decided to run for Vice President…and what do you know?
I walked out as President of ASL Club. 

I have learned so much since then! My officers (Diana, Melissa, Liz, and Seth) are supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, which is such a relief. They are very willing to help with anything. PLUS, we have a stellar advisor, Trish – she’s a superstar! I have learned so much about time management. I have such a busy schedule (who doesn’t, though?), so managing the meetings and planning has been fun…I really do love it, though. Also, I wasn’t able to take an ASL class this semester, so being President has helped me keep practicing!

I also love getting to know the other members of club. We have a pretty good turnout each week – between 20 and 30 people! Not bad!

Basically, I love it!

BYUTV came and recorded us a few weeks ago for the show BYU Weekly – here’s the final product! Enjoy!

-Chloe

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Filed under Happenings, School

American Sign Language

As you may or may not know….I am passionate about American Sign Language (ASL). There are many times when I feel ASL can express things so much better than English can.
I believe that ASL is the natural language of the Deaf and that instruction in ASL in schools is key to the success of Deaf students, just as learning the English language was key to my success in school.

I encourage you to sign the ASL petition below. It just takes a few minutes. You do not have to be Deaf to sign it. You do not have to know ASL to sign it. Anyone can. SO PLEASE sign… we need about 4,000+ more signatures by December 12th.

Click here to sign the petition

I hope you have a fantastic weekend!

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6th Grade

I never really knew exactly why I am so interested in ASL and the Deaf community. And I still don’t know. But I did just gain some insight into myself…

I was reading through my mom’s journal entries today and found this from August 21, 2000. “Chloe seems to really enjoy 6th grade. She is making new friends, has no locker or schedule problems, and loves choir. She likes showing me what she learns. There are several Deaf girls in P.E. that she wants to become friends with. I taught her how to sign “my name is Chloe, your name is what?” but she hasn’t done it yet. It’s great that she wants to be friends with someone who is Deaf, I’m proud of her that she doesn’t fear them because they are different.”

I don’t remember much from before I was 16, so I am forever grateful to my mom for writing in a family journal.
I am curious to know if I ever did end up talking to them…I’ll have to call my mom and see if she knows!

Perhaps that’s what sparked my interest in ASL and the Deaf community…who knows! But here’s where I’m at today…no longer have to ask my mom about simple signs…I can teach her now! I am studying ASL at BYU and after I graduate in Special Education, I am going to go through an interpreter training program (haven’t decided where yet) and would love to get a Master’s degree in Deaf Education. I also volunteer a lot in the Deaf community and love every minute of it.

I’ve also changed a lot since 6th grade (obviously)! For example, I was at Win-Co a few weeks ago doing my usual grocery shopping and saw a Deaf couple…went right up to them and started a conversation – they were so happy to see that I knew ASL and seemed to be glad to see someone who didn’t just stop and stare at them (like others around were doing). Also, I felt pretty proud of myself and my skills. I still have a lot to learn, but I am getting there!

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Walk4Hearing

I volunteer with Sego Lily Center for the Abused Deaf  (SLCAD) and we will be at an event this Saturday! Read the letter below for more information!

Dear Friends of the Sego Lily Center for the Abused Deaf:

Sego Lily Center for the Abused Deaf (SLCAD) is a unique advocacy agency designed to meet the specific needs of Deaf, Deaf/Blind and Hard of Hearing victims of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and sexual assault. In September 1999, domestic violence took the life of a young Deaf woman, Penny Williams. Her death shocked the entire community. As a result, the birth of SLCAD began in the spring of 2000 through a grant from the Department of Justice, “Justice for Deaf Victims,” piloted by Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services of Seattle, Washington. We serve the entire State of Utah. Our mission is to promote a safe and empowered community for Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Deaf-Blind people by providing culturally accessible services, advocacy and education. 

To help attain our mission, we are participating in the “Walk 4 Hearing” 5k walk on October 13, 2012 at the Sugar House Park to raise awareness about the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA). The HLAA provides information, education, support and advocacy to enable those with hearing loss to life full and productive lives. We are asking you to sponsor the SLCAD team-“United We Walk” by donating money to support our team of walkers in this event. Our goal is to collect $1,000 for our team. In turn, we will list your company and names as our team sponsor on our team poster at the event.

It takes a community to make this happen and together we can work towards eliminating violence from our community and enabling Deaf people to lead full and productive lives. We appreciate your support for this event and our organization! If you are interested in donating to this event, please go to http://hlaa.convio.net/site/TR/Teamraiser/SaltLakeCityWalk?px=1567155&pg=personal&fr_id=1996 and click on “Donate.”

Sincerely Yours,

Chloe Palethorpe, Team Captain

Stephanie Mathis, Executive Director

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