As a deaf parent, sign language is, of course, a part of how I communicate with my children. My husband also uses sign to understand what our kids are saying to us. We use both sign language and lipreading to communicate with them. We sign every day. It’s just a part of how we talk to each other.
And when Jesse asked me to play a game with him today, I agreed, preparing for another round of communicating with him through sign. As he sat up the game, however, I took some time to read over the rules. My jaw dropped when I saw one rule in particular: “No sign language.”
I showed this to Jesse and commented how wrong that rule was. I guess the people who put that game together and wrote up the rules decided they didn’t want deaf people to play?
Well, despite that stupid rule, my son and I still communicated with each other through sign language as we played the game. It’s really the major way we communicate with each other: Through sign language! I am profoundly deaf and cannot use hearing aids. I either rely on lipreading or sign language or writing things down to communicate with others. Sometimes my kids sign to me what other people say. So, yeah, I DO need to use sign language for a game that relies on verbal communication.
But the thing about this that really pissed me off was that this was JUST another example of how the hearing people forget about the deaf people in this world. Some hearing people out there don’t realize that there are DEAF PEOPLE – which means WE CANNOT HEAR – out there in the world. We kind of need to use sign language for communication. We also need captioning, subtitles or an ASL interpreter signing to let us know about emergency bulletins and evacuation procedures.
There are hearing people in this world and there are deaf people, too. It would be nice if more hearing people would remember us deaf people and the types of communication accommodations that we need. This includes sign language.
So even if a game says we can’t use sign language, well, that’s too bad. Because as far as me and my family goes, well, we sort of need to use sign language. It’s just one of the ways that we talk to each other.