When Rafael was six weeks old, we discovered that he has Profound Unilateral Hearing Loss. He is completely deaf in his right ear and has average/normal hearing in his left ear.
Rafael is just over a year old now, and is quite verbal. Even though he can repeat words and sounds — and loves music — it's important to me to give him access to ASL at an early age.
So, I decided to try to learn as much ASL as I could in 60 days.
I started by taking online lessons. I studied and practiced for at least an hour every day.
The online lessons helped me begin to build my vocabulary, but since ASL is such an interactive and interpretive language, I really wanted to work with a tutor, to get that one-on-one language immersion. And that's when I found Loni!
On occasion, Loni did write out some lessons for me — not as a shortcut to communication, but to introduce me to the difference between spoken/written English and "ASL gloss," a way of writing out the syntax of ASL.
Although I found the use of flash cards and online videos to be really useful, I can't stress enough how helpful it was working face-to-face with a tutor.
I felt very grateful for the opportunity to have that face-to-face connection and true immersion into the language and Deaf culture. My grammar and expressions were improving and I was finding myself having actual conversations with Loni!
There were definitely times I got frustrated and overwhelmed. But then I would see my son do the sign for "more" and it just kept fueling me forward.
I've gotten to a point where I find myself practicing even when I don't realize I'm doing it — like fingerspelling any time I hear a name in a movie. And I'm also consciously finding ways to use signs every day.
Over the course of the two months I learned a lot.
Even though I know I have a very long way to go to become fluent, it's important to me and I'm so excited to keep going!
You can watch my whole journey (so far) below!
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