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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Now They Know How It Feels

In my ASL iii class, we are learning about classifiers and how to
describe objects. We started by practicing signing 3-dimensional
shapes. Last week the instructor showed pictures of different
shapes on the overhead projector and we had to sign the shape
to a partner.

I'm okay with using my finger like a pen and drawing a shape in
the air. That's 2-dimensional, though. We are now working in
3-D. The activity was so hard for me. I couldn't see the
pictures so I really had no idea how to sign these shapes. I
couldn't really follow my partner's descriptions, either.

My interpreter saw me struggling and asked Accessibility
Services to help. They made tactile drawings that I can feel.
It's a good start. My teacher brought in different shaped
items today and we worked before class on how to describe them in
sign. I think i'm finally getting the idea.

Class was great today. My teacher walked in with a big bag. I
knew what was in there because she warned me. The other students
had no idea what was to come.

As she began to explain the new activity. I sat with a sort of
mischievous glee. I was totally excited because this would be me
in my own element. Finally, I'd have the upper hand over the
other students.

As if reading my mind, the teacher pointed to me and said, "now
you'll see what it's like for her." I couldn't help myself. I
laughed and did a little dance in my seat.

So what was the activity Each student was to pick an object out
of the bag and describe it to a partner. The catch is that they
couldn't look at the object. They had to wear a blindfold and
feel it. Heh heh heh!

The objects included things like a walking stick, a frying plan,
a water bottle and a card board box. We had to describe the
shape, tell what it was made of and how it's used. This was
good practice in using both descriptive and instrumental
classifiers. And it was so much fun!

I laughed and smiled the whole time. My life is all about
hands-on work so this was something I could really understand.
For once, I didn't feel like I was running half-a-mile behind
the rest of the class. That's not to say it was easy. I could
FEEL the objects but I'm still very news at describing them with
my hands.

I'm a deaf-blind person trying to learn a visual language. I
knew from the start that it wouldn't be easy. This was a chance
for the other students to see what it's like for me. Now they
know how it feels.

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