“I am the son-in-law to someone who is deaf, and the first time I was introduced to sign language was in college shortly after I met my wife. We were at dinner in my wife’s hometown the first time I met my mother-in-law, Lois. I had no real way of communicating with Lois except by her speechreading me because she was deaf and I didn’t know sign language. I was very frustrated by this. On the way home, my wife taught me how to fingerspell the alphabet and surprising to me, I learned it on the road trip back to school. I was so excited with how easy it was to learn fingerspelling the alphabet, and I told myself the next time I see Lois, I wanted to know sign language. Upon returning back to college, I enrolled in an American Sign Language class.
Now, I had taken Spanish and French before, and both were not fun experiences for me. So, even though I had an important reason for wanting to learn sign language, I was a little apprehensive about learning a new language. However, within a short period of time, I found myself picking it up fairly quickly and really enjoyed the process of learning sign language.
It’s hard to imagine how it must feel to be deaf and left out of conversations that your friends and loved ones are having. I feel it is very important if you have a loved one or friend who is deaf to take time to at least learn fingerspelling the alphabet. It is not that hard and the little bit of effort that you put into learning it will make a huge impact you have with that deaf friend or loved one.”