If you’ve been wondering why I haven’t been updating Knowlesville much lately, it’s because life decided to throw us a curve ball. For those of you who haven’t already heard, Lori has experienced almost total hearing loss in both ears quite suddenly. The good news is that several causes such as brain tumors have been ruled out, so nothing life threatening going on. The bad news is that it looks to be permanent.
At this point we are hoping she is a candidate for cochlear implants. (Please stop mentioning Rush Limbaugh to me. Yes I know he has a cochlear implant. Karma should have taken away his voice, not his hearing.) We’ve been spending lots of time researching them in general, as well as trying to decide which of the three companies to go with. It’s not like you can go down to your local stereo store and try them out and see which sounds best.
The whole technology of cochlear implants is pretty amazing. I really don’t know how someone figured out to make them work, and the surgery alone is pretty amazing.
Since it may take up to a year to get a cochlear implant installed, we’re learning sign language in the meantime. So between the time I spend on the Internet researching things like cochlear implants and smoke detectors for deaf people and other things you never think about, plus spending time every evening learning and practicing ASL, I haven’t had much spare time to keep my personal web sites up to date.
If you would like to learn ASL on you own so that you can talk to Lori (or some other deaf person you may know) here are three web sites that we have found very useful:
- Starting out you will want to learn how to Finger Spell. Not only is this necessary to spell words you don’t know (or words that don’t have signs, like people’s names) but many of the Fingerspelling signs are used for word signs. Bill Vicar’s ASL Fingerspelling Tool is a great way to practice and there is also a fingerspelling chart on his site.
- Once you have the fingerspelling down, then you can start learning words. But you also need to learn ASL grammar because it is very different from English grammar. ASL University has some great resources, lessons and a good dictionary to get you started.
- SigningSavvy is a great online interactive way to learn and practice ASL
We’ve also been borrowing ALS tapes from the Tri County Independent Living center in Eureka. The tapes are fun to learn from and they help a lot with the grammar. Our VCR is getting a lot of use for a change, especially in slow motion mode. Experieced signers sure can sign FAST!
Through my work with the fire department, I’ve seen a lot of people’s lives changed in an instant. I’m glad this is something we can work through, but it’s another reminder that you need to express your love every day and make sure you’re doing everything possible to enjoy life now. You just never know what might be around that next corner.