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ASLG 100 Biola University The Story of Deafness in a Family Paper

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Communications

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Biola University

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Thecla Li
ASLG 100
Elem American Sign Language I
Professor Koreen Husted
Thursday, April 9
th
, 2020.
“A Loss for Words: The Story of Deafness in a Family”
Reflection Paper
Learning about how workers grandparents never made an effort to learn is all in order to
communicate with Walker’s parents reminded me of the mini-test we had in our first class this
semester. In the test, we learned that 90 to 95 percent of deaf children are born to hearing parents
and a majority of those parents don’t learn ASL in order to communicate with their children.
Reading about it struck in me a new sense of empathy towards people who are not able to hear.
That sense of empathy and sadness was well summarised on page 19, with Helen Keller’s quote
and the paragraph proceeding it where it said “‘Blindness cut people off but deafness cut people
off from people.’ Never having a real conversation with your parents or with your children is a
good example. Yet some of the isolation is more complicated than that. People stare at your
signing and it’s difficult to have an argument. Strangers inevitably feel awkward about you
because they don’t know how to talk to you when people suddenly realize that you’re deaf they
feel so embarrassed for you, for themselves, for the situation.” I remember having the same
thoughts and sense of awkwardness around deaf people prior to taking ASL. Now that I have
more knowledge of the language as well as its people, I keep feeling an overwhelming sense of
remorse for my thoughts.

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A new thing that I learned from the book came with an impact that left me in tears. That
impact was delivered by page 43 when Walker’s father proposed to her mother. The specific
quote that started the waterworks was the one that said “The crowds all around them, people
playing catch, shouting to each other above the din of the track. Yet it was an intimate
conversation because no one around to go understand what they were saying to each other.” It
was so romantic and so heartwarming and somehow communicated the relief Walker’s parents
must have felt when they were finally able to find someone they could communicate with.
This part brought me to tears because I realized how at first, I thought that this was God bringing
beauty out of something that was negative but in reality, it was a piece of beauty that I had never
understood or acknowledged before. Realizing that this moment is beautiful not because it
canceled out something that was bad but is able to hold value on its own was a big breakthrough
for me. I was woken up to the commission to rid myself of prejudice that good does not exist
with the inability to hear is a big steppingstone in my ASL journey. I found that I needed to stop
alienating it as something that is of the ordinary just because I’ve never experienced it.
This connects to page 46 when I read about how Walker’s parents finally found someone
to talk to for 24 hours a day, every day of the year for the first time in their lives. I am a talker; I
enjoy chatting in general and I can’t imagine what it must have felt like for them. The learning
point really drove into me when the paragraph ended with the quote, “The inability to hear is a
nuisance but in the inability to communicate is the tragedy. Prior to reading this book, I never
noticed that my pre-assumptions were that deafness was what equated to the miscommunication

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Thecla Li ASLG 100 Elem American Sign Language I Professor Koreen Husted Thursday, April 9th, 2020. “A Loss for Words: The Story of Deafness in a Family” Reflection Paper Learning about how workers grandparents never made an effort to learn is all in order to communicate with Walker’s parents reminded me of the mini-test we had in our first class this semester. In the test, we learned that 90 to 95 percent of deaf children are born to hearing parents and a majority of those parents don’t learn ASL in order to communicate with their children. Reading about it struck in me a new sense of empathy towards people who are not able to hear. That sense of empathy and sadness was well summarised on page 19, with Helen Keller’s quote and the paragraph proceeding it where it said “‘Blindness cut people off but deafness cut people off from people.’ Never having a real conversation w ...
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