Finding Your Style

Sometimes one English word can have many different signs.  I remember going to an event that had many people there who were Deaf.  While sitting with a group of four people, I asked how to sign a word.  I received four very different responses back for the one word I wanted to sign! It was awkward as I did not know whose sign to pick so I could finish telling them what I wanted to sign.

my worn and tattered dictionary

I realized at that moment what I had been struggling with for so long – I needed to develop my own style of signing.  I then started to look through many sign dictionaries and find the sign I was most comfortable using. My rule was if the sign was in print and I liked that sign because it was easier to do, easier to remember, or just made more sense to me, I would use it. 

My goal was not to become a sign interpreter.  My goal was to learn sign as quickly as possible and then teach my family so I could communicate again with them    If a person who is Deaf tells me the sign for a word is different than what I am signing, I sign back “Yes you are right! That is one way to sign that word and what I am using is also one way to sign that word”. 

I found they respected that response and many who later became very dear friends of mine could see what was slowly happening….I was becoming comfortable in my own skin as a person who is late-deafened.