Learning to Speak

A question I get extremely often is “How did you learn how to speak?” The question makes sense to me, but it is also somewhat difficult to explain. My parents were still able to teach me how to speak, but I also had an older brother and an entire family that helped teach us both how to speak. However, having deaf parents did affect my speech.

In first grade, we had reading tests where we would read out loud to a speech therapist, and I distinctly remember being so proud of myself and thinking I was the best reader in the world. I ended up saying my “s” incorrectly and saying “th” instead. Other than that, I never had an issue with learning to speak or read that I can remember.

Things like other family members and tv really helped me learn to speak, and I think it all was fairly easy. I was always fairly good at reading, and I always thought that may be because of sign language, and because I was able to visualize words as signs instead of just words on paper.

Driving Deaf

For people that haven’t grown up in a deaf family, you may think that deaf drivers are so safe, since they use sign language to talk and driving requires full attention and use of your hands.  To that, I say absolutely not.

I’ve had many situations with my parents where I have to essentially ignore them so that I’m not as worried about them not watching the road.  Someone I’ve always related with on this is a comedian that I really enjoy, Keith Wann.  He is also a CODA and honestly explains this better than I could even think to. I’ve linked the clip of his show below so that you can really understand what happens in the car. As he says, I also have vivid memories of my mom looking completely away from the road.

Another thing about car rides is that I think most people would assume that car rides are fairly silent since deaf people can’t really hear music.  On that, it’s all about the person.  My mom has always been more into things like dancing, whereas my dad has never been a very big dancer and is more of the quiet type.

So with my mom, she loves listening to music in the car.  That might be a confusing thing to understand. She didn’t always hear all of the music, but she could feel the bass and the beats.  That being said, her favorite CD to listen to was a J.Lo CD that I think I’ve heard about a million times, (which isn’t really a bad thing). But with my dad, he hardly ever has his radio on, and if it is on, it’s because I’m in the car.