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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Good Day at School

I was sure today was going to be an awful day. I was up all
night tossing and turning. Why is it that whenever I really
need a good night's rest, I simply can't fall asleep?
As the night dragged on and on, I began to get more anxious.
I needed sleep. I would not make it through the day without
sleep. For that very reason, I couldn't manage to fall
asleep. Ironic, isn't it?
By 4:00 am, I couldn't take it anymore. I decided I
needed a sleeping pill. I only take half. Even then, it
leaves me feeling foggy the next day. I try to avoid taking
sleeping pills as much as possible. Last night, however, I
knew there would be no sleep without one.
I awoke at 7:00 feeling like I was moving under water or
something. I managed to get JD up and dressed. He went
downstairs to have breakfast with Grandpa. Just this once,
he let me go back to sleep. I think he could tell how out
of it I was.
I got a few more hours of sleep. It helped a little but I
was still so exhausted. Like I said, I was sure it was
going to be a terrible day.
The transporation service got me on campus just fine. I
entered the Languages building and headed up to the third
floor to meet my instructor. There were a few things we
needed to work on together before class started.
Twice each semester, all ASL students need to record a brief
progress monitoring video. We look at a picture and then
describe what we see or create a story. It helps us see
how we are progressing with ASL skills.
How does a blind person describe a picture? We've found a
way to make it fun. We use toys!
So I went into my professor's office and she had all these
little toys on a table. i felt rather silly. I sat there
feeling each toy. There was a dog, car, baby, pillow, man
woman in a chair who has crazy hair, dresser with more
little toys inside and a lamp on the top that I kept knowing
off and a treasure chest of some sort.
Once I was ready, my teacher started the video and I
signed my story. I actually heard her laugh when I
mentioned the woman's crazy hair. It wasn't the best
performance ever. It didn't have to be. It wasn't for a
grade.
Next, she helped me complete the first online quiz. We
have a bunch of these this semester. We have to watch a
video online and write what we think the story is about.
This is done outside of class.
We are having trouble working out the accommodations for
this kind of activity. The first one was due on Tuesday
but my instructor said I could turn it in late. Since I
was meeting with her to do the video, I asked if she would
sign the quiz to me.
We still need to come up with a solution for the long term
problem. But for this one, it's all done now. I can't say
I understood all of the signs and classifiers but I did
do my best. My teacher guided me to the elevator and I
went to the first floor to wait for class to start.
Last semester, my class was on the third floor. There are
no benches up there so I had to sit on the floor until it
was time to go into the classroom. I was so glad this
semester I'm on the first floor where there are benches.
It turned out to be a mixed-blessing. There are benches to
sit on and that is good. There are also many people already
sitting on those benches. That's not so good.
The crowds around the first floor rooms make it hard for me
to get down the hall. With my cane, I can tell where
people are sitting. If I hit something soft, it's a person.
If I hit something hard, it's the wooden bench. I try to
find a hard place before I sit down. For some reason, I
don't much care for sitting on other students.
The problem is that there usually isn't any free places to
sit. I travel down the hall and just find people every
where. They stand along the wall, too. It's hard for me to
shoreline against the wall because all I find is a mass of
people.
On Tuesday, the moving people pushed me away from the wall
and I got disoriented. Somehow I found myself on the other
side of the hall going the wrong way. A girl in my class
asked if I needed help finding a bench. I said I did.
Today she approached me right away and offered to take me to
a seat. It really helps. She gets nothing out of helping
me but she still does it. I appreciate that.
Once I was sitting, another student in my class came over
to talk to me. She wanted to talk through one of my
interpreters but they hadn't arrived yet. Instead, she did
her best to communicate.
We have an ASL event coming up. The class has to do
something as a group. She was asking if I'd be
participating and made sure my name got on the list. I like
that she thought to include me. It makes me feel more like
part of the class.
The class session went very well. We are learning about
classifiers, story telling and sentence types. We had time
to work together in pairs and I met a couple more of the
students in the class. That was nice too.
In the middle of the lesson, the kooky program coordinator
came in. She offered candy to any student who would sign
the alphabet. No one wanted to. I think they are
intimidated by her for no reason other than the fact that
she's head of the program.
I ended up signing the alphabet and won myself two Tootsie
Rolls. Between candy and toys, it almost feel like I'm in
Kindergarten, not college. I don't mind. It's fun.
Better than that, I think I'm actually learning something
about this language.
So, I was tired today. That's true. And I was overwhelmed
by all the ASL concepts. I always am when I go to class.
Despite all that, I still had a pretty good day. I love
being back in college.

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