Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A Small Gang of Authors: Talking Fingers #OurAuthorGang

A Small Gang of Authors: Talking Fingers #OurAuthorGang: Look, I Can Talk With My Fingers! When I was a young child we were having a family dinner in a restaurant. I remember watching a coup...

Talking Fingers #OurAuthorGang

Look, I Can Talk With My Fingers!

When I was a young child we were having a family dinner in a restaurant. I remember watching a couple at the next table and I was mesmerized by what they were doing. They smiled at each other, their facial expression changed rapidly as they moved their lips but they didn't make any sound. They moved their hands and fingers as if they were doing a well-choreographed dance.

My mother touched my arm and whispered to me, "You know it's rude to stare at people, right?"

"What are they doing?" I whispered back.

"They're talking to each other."

"No, mom," I argued. "They're not saying anything."

"They're deaf," mom explained. "They can't hear, so they're talking to each other with sign language."

"Why can't they hear?"

"Some deaf people are born that way and others get sick and lose their hearing."

"Why can't the doctor fix it?"

"Well, some people are not completely deaf and they can use a hearing aid, but others can't be fixed so they learn sign language to talk to each other."

I will never forget the mixed feelings that swirled in my mind and I kept asking my parents about what deafness might feel like. When we got home mom handed me two cotton balls and said, "Put these in your ears if you want to find out what it feels like."

I did and it scared me that all I could hear was my heartbeat in my head. I saw my dog moving his mouth but I couldn't hear his voice. My cat swatted at him with mouth wide open but I couldn't hear her angry hiss. It felt awful, I felt alone in the silent world and removed the cotton balls quickly.

My parents always said, "You don't know what other people are going through until you walk in their shoes, so when I was older, I wanted to "walk in a deaf person's shoes" and decided to live in silence for an entire day.

I put swimmer's earplug in my ears that blocked even the loudest sounds. It felt awful not to hear the everyday sounds that I always took for granted. After about an hour I started to feel a little claustrophobic as well and I couldn't keep the plugs in for more than a couple of hours.

These experiences inspired my first children's book. The story is about a compassionate and clever little girl who found the way to communicate with her hearing impaired grandmother.

Click on this link to read a few pages from the book:

Find this book in your favorite store:

Order a signed paperback in my BOOKSTORE

This book is also published in Spanish, click to read pages from the book

Find this book in your favorite store:

Order a signed paperback in my BOOKSTORE

One of my friends purchased the book for her niece and she sent me a picture of her husband and his friend. Watch the short video with a heartwarming message.

The history of sign language

I've found this very informative website about the history of sign language. It's so sad how badly deaf people were treated before it was understood what being deaf means.

"Early in human history, humans used simple sign language to express basic ideas. Even when vocal communication became the mainstream form of interaction, people would still use hand and facial gestures to enhance ideas in communication. When people were found to be deaf in ancient times, they were often persecuted and mistreated; therefore, deaf people were not given the chance to work on creating a language. This lasted until the 1500's Pedro Ponce de Leon, a Benedictine monk, created his own form of sign language to bypass his "vow of silence". This form of sign language may have been then taught to deaf children later on. In 1620, Juan Pablo Bonet wrote a sign language dictionary that outlined how to learn sign language and contained the first sign language alphabet. His sign language alphabet later influenced deaf communication when the first schools for the deaf were opened. In addition, Martha's Vineyard was an area that was settled by about 200 immigrants who carried dominant and recessive genes for deafness, so the inhabitants came up with their own kind of sign language and taught their descendants how to learn sign language."

If interested, read more on this website:

Sometimes we need a reminder to enjoy more that we can see, hear, smell, touch and move freely without restrictions and limitations. It makes us understand a little better what others, who can't enjoy this freedom, must go through.

How did it make you feel when you met the first deaf person?