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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,

I'm not sure what category to put this in. If this isn't the right one please let me know.
I was just wondering if anyone besides myself has ever thought about learning sign language and working with the deaf? I know this might sound crazy, but 99% of my problem is actually speaking (using my voice) because I'm so self-conscious about the way I sound. It just kills me to listen to my voice after it has been recorded and that's why I always use a standard greeting on my voice mail or my answering machine.
If I actually did go to school to learn sign language and become an interpreter. Would I have to speak very much in my sign language classes?
 

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Hi,
I took some sign language courses in college and we weren't supposed to speak in the class because our instructor was deaf. It's considered rude to speak if a deaf person is present. Well of course the students spoke anyway sometimes trying to hide it and sometimes just not caring. (I didn't of course.) I really loved sign language because it's so much easier than speaking. I didn't even mind getting up in front of the class using sign language. I didn't pursue it because as I learned more and got more exposure I learned that a lot of that culture didn't like hearing people entering it. So I thought I shouldn't bother. In hindsight I kinda wish I didn't let encountering that stop me.
 

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I'm with you on the voice thing. I am so self conscious about that.

One of my friends just got her Associate's in ASL. She says that there is a lot of practicing sign language with partners or in front of the class. So, you probably don't have to talk a lot but you would have to interact with people a lot more than other classes.
Also, when you become an interpreter, you will also have to speak to tell the hearing person what the deaf person is saying.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for responding to my post, but I was talking about an interpreter that lets the deaf person know what the teacher is saying. And to the first responder, I'm just wondering why deaf people don't like a hearing person coming into their world. That almost seems racist to me.

I'm with you on the voice thing. I am so self conscious about that.

One of my friends just got her Associate's in ASL. She says that there is a lot of practicing sign language with partners or in front of the class. So, you probably don't have to talk a lot but you would have to interact with people a lot more than other classes.
Also, when you become an interpreter, you will also have to speak to tell the hearing person what the deaf person is saying.
 

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And to the first responder, I'm just wondering why deaf people don't like a hearing person coming into their world. That almost seems racist to me.
That's what I thought. I heard they didn't like being considered hard of hearing. Instead, they considered hearing a disability. (I only heard this in group interactions and public speaking. I never had a conversation about this with anyone.) Well I only had contact with groups in my area so maybe it's different in other places. I don't think it's too uncommon though. It seemed like they liked being separate from the hearing world. I still kinda wish I stuck with it because even if that's a common view there are still going to be people who don't feel that way and mixing the two worlds is often unavoidable.
 

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If I actually did go to school to learn sign language and become an interpreter. Would I have to speak very much in my sign language classes?
I have taken several sign courses because I worked with severely disabled children and had to work on teaching sign to many of them.

You ARE expected to 'speak' in class. Honestly the only reason I managed the courses was because it was a group of only 5 people whom I worked with anyway.

You are graded on your sign (obviously) so you have to show that you can fluently sign to others in your class and to the teacher- which means having everyone look at you signing.

As for some people in the deaf community not allowing hearing people to be a part-- well, yes it does happen, but in the same way as some people don't like certain races- not everybody is like that. It is more a matter of being respectful and gradually getting used to the differences between the hearing and deaf communities so you can be more easily accepted. Think of what they deal with.. some people are so rude about it, I have heard tell of a hearing person making fun of a deaf person to their face! They figured since the person could hear it was fine... but people can lip read, and some that are considered deaf aren't completely deaf.
 

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In my (Australian) signing experience, you are not expected to speak in class because usually we had deaf teachers. Signing is wonderful, and well worth learning :) And I have found that hearing people are generally accepted in the Deaf community. If you are trying to learn their language and communicate with them, why would they not accept you? I can't say I found signing much less scary than speaking though. And you will most likely have to do some signed presentations in your course.
 

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I thought people would say what I experienced wasn't true but I was nice/respectful. I was actually one of the few who never spoke in front of any deaf person since it's rude. That's what I experienced. Try it out and see what you encounter. I'm not saying this will be a universal experience. I still may take more ASL classes. It simply discouraged me at the time from looking at it as a career.
 

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I know some sign language, and I do find it easier to speak that way. But at the same time, you are expressing yourself. For me, that gets me more nervous than speaking. Because people are watching you and "judging" you based on your language skills. I never feel good enough to speak to a deaf friend, I always rely on his sister or writing, because I am too anxious to get a sign wrong. I can sign with no problems in front of people who dont know sign, but around people who are better than I am, I can't.
 

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can sign with no problems in front of people who dont know sign, but around people who are better than I am, I can't.
Same here, for the same reasons. Teaching it to children is fun though! lol
 

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I know a few signs like toilet, cookie, pop, french fries, popcorn, apple, eat, and drink, but that is about it. I wish I took a sign language coarse when I was in college, because now I am working with more and more Autistic clients that can't speak.
 

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Copper- take one now. You will be amazed at how helpful it is with autistic clients. It can take a very long time to finally get them to do the first sign, but I found after that they kind of understood what you were doing for the following ones.
 
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