Showing posts from September, 2011

This Dad Got It Right

Last week, there was a fabulous broadcast on Focus on the Family.  It's now transcribed so that it's accessible to nearly everyone.  The broadcast features a hearing father, Marshall Lawrence, of a Deaf daughter and what he said was brilliant. "When it comes to the education of your [deaf] children, it's hard to know what to do.  I really felt that [my daughter] needed a language to think in, a language to be able to manipulate ideas with. That's how you use your language most, you know? For yourself, not for other people. You talk to yourself all the time, and don't you sit there and tell me you don't talk to yourself. I know better. You talk to yourself far more than you talk to other people, so you need to have some linguistic system in place that you really own so that you can start doing that. I knew that our daughter had to have some kind of linguistic system.... "She started [the school for the Deaf] in the second semester of the y

Language Update

Bathtime is the best! Today marks two months since we arrived back home to the USA.  Ken and I must tell each other 5 times every day that we can't believe they are really here AND we can't imagine life without them in it. Thrilled that Daddy is home! Silly face! Driving a carriage  Travis' language development still astounds us.  In just two months, he's upwards of 200 words.  I'm trying to keep count, but it's getting more difficult!  He's able to tell us most of the things he wants using ASL.  Just this week, he went up to his dad, tapped him, and told him, "I want to go outside and ride my bike."  After we got him outside to ride his bike, Ken and I talked about the big change from fussing, pulling on us, crying, pointing, and kicking his feet.  How much more calm his soul must be that he know he can simply be understood.  If something happens that we don't understand what he wants, he knows we will take the time to figur

My Deaf World Story: Part 5

In the last Deaf World post, I listed some advice for ASL students and interpreting students.  What though about the Deaf members of the community? Truly, you, as members of the Deaf World hold the keys to the gate.  You are the ones that decide to share your world...or not. I would give advice, but, like Molly shared in her video " Bypass ," Deaf people have been doing this for years.  Deaf seniors are true experts at it, from what I have seen in my own experience.  They aren't afraid to invest in a young student.  They have the authority of years and a wealth of culture and experience to share. This doesn't mean younger Deaf members can't be guides through the Deaf World.  Future interpreters need those who are younger to introduce them (and re-train those who are more seasoned) to the Millennials in the Deaf communities.  Like I said, the Deaf World is changing and with it, the demands on interpreters are changing. If you, as Deaf members of the Deaf W

My Deaf World Story: Part 4

While I was knee-deep in the Deaf World,  I  was  also taking ASL classes.  While I don't credit those classes for my language fluency, they  did  play a crucial role in my learning about the grammar and structure of ASL.  I was aslo beyond blessed to have had an amazing instructor and mentor.  Those classes would prove even  more  valuable when I began studying interpreting.   More than the classes themselves, my instructor, Linda Dyer, was another sort of "gatekeeper" in my life.  She was a non-native signer like me who had been in the Deaf World for many years.  (I used to tease her about just how many years.)  It was a God-ordained blessing on my life to have her as my instructor and mentor for those 3 years. My story thus far only takes me through ASL II class.  My experience was so rich and language fluency came quickly because I took the advice of gate-keeper Janice, got involved, had Deaf heart, and didn't try to "help" nor take advantage of people


Several weeks ago, my friend Adrienne was perusing the internet and saw a call for nominations for a distinctive mom to win tickets to go see Motherhood the Musical and be named "Mother of Distinction."  She kindly thought of me and sent in a nomination.  I later learned a committee was formed to decide the winner and about 12 nominations were sent in. Earlier this week, she got a message saying that I had been chosen to receive the award!  I felt quite unworthy receiving such an award, but then I considered the title.  Mother of Distinction . I like that.  I was chosen because our family is certainly distinct.  Some would say weird, different, unique...distinct.  The fact that I'm the mom and wife in my family of distinction makes me a mother of distinction. Ken works very hard so that I can stay home and teach the kids here.  It was Ken who sparked the events that shifted our family and changed our lives forever...and for the better.  One day, riding in the car, n

My Deaf World Story: Part 3

The minute that meeting was over, I made a bee-line to the hearing chick who had been my lifeline in the  classroom.  I learned that she was what they called a CODA: Child Of Deaf Adults.  She was a native signer.  (She would become my best life-long nothing-could-ever-change-it friend. She would also introduce me to the man who would become my husband.) I let her know I was new to town, new to the college, new to signing, and had lots of time to work with the Club if anything was needed. So you will understand my environment, I was attending East Central University, a school with a strong program for Deaf students as well as some Deaf Studies courses, ASL classes, and an interpreting minor.  The university was just 30 minutes from the Oklahoma School for the Deaf.  I consider the environment I was in to be, in terms of the Deaf community, culturally rich. Janice took me under her wing, but didn't spoon-feed me, especially when it came to language learning.  She gave me the ve

My Deaf World Story: Part 2

As I walked into that classroom on the campus of East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma in 1994, my big head deflated by about three times.  The room was busy with activity, hands flying and NO English anywhere to be seen.  My eyes jumped from conversation to conversation and I immediately knew something: I knew nothing . The students began forming a circle of desks around the classroom.  One hearing girl let the non-signers know we were going to go around the room introducing ourselves and telling where we were from. Okay. I can do this.  I watched a few people signing. Even though they were signing slowly for us newbies, I still was lost.  I rehearsed in my mind what I would sign and when it was my turn, I shakily signed, "I (with initialized I) S-----A------R-----A-----H.  I FROM A----R----K----...." I had planned to continue to spell my state name, but a Deaf guy quickly jumped in, signing at, what seemed to me, lightning speed. "Arkansas?!  Which town?!"

My Deaf World Story: Part 1

Telling My Deaf World story was inspired by this video .  Thanks, Molly, for bringing back a flood of memories for which I will be forever grateful.  I realize how fortunate I have been.  The biggest thanks go to my friends, mentors, teachers, and guides through the Deaf World.  I will never ever leave! Before I was even an idea, my parents began learning sign language.  Growing up, I vividly remember Dad standing up next to the preacher, interpreting the service.  He was never trained as an interpreter, but learned to sign from the members of the Deaf community in and around Little Rock in the late 1960s and early 70s. My parents learned old-school Amslan, signing "GO" with two rolling "1" handshapes and "WHO" circling the mouth.  They signed in English order and threw in some SEE for good measure because that was what they were seeing at the time. At age five, I was prouder than proud to sign my first sentence to our fifteen year-old Deaf friend, Jef


I loved this blog by Molly Wilson.  It sparked a multi-part blog telling my own Deaf World story . When my kids are grown, I plan to get back into mentoring and training students and new interpreters.  Molly's video is so right-on.  So beautifully stated.  (Honestly, my English doesn't do justice to her ASL. I might should have taken more time on it, but wanted to get this out there.)  My next two blogs will tell my story of my journey into the Deaf World.  To hear or read or even see in ASL a radio interview with Molly about this topic, visit this site . Bypass by Molly Wilson (CODA) (transcribed below for the ASL-impaired) disclaimer: This is my, Sarah Brown's interpretation of "Bypass" done for the benefit of readers who do not know ASL.  I was not asked to transcribe this nor has my transcription been approved by the signer. BYPASS I think it’s time the Deaf World and the Interpreting World come together to discuss how we approach this issue of training

Stupid, Socially Awkward Homeschoolers

We've been homeschooling for seven years now.  In those seven years, I've heard the battle-cry of upset homeschooling parents dealing with people who make derogatory comments about homeschooling.  I've considered our family fortunate, because other than the very rare "What about socialization?" question, the kids really haven't faced ignorance....until the past few months.  (I do remember a mom blaming homeschooling on the fact that my then-5-year-old-wouldn't-even-BE-in-public-school-yet daughter asked for a second gift bag at a birthday party. "Well, she's not in school, so she's not learned those social rules yet."  Umm...blame my bad parenting, but not homeschooling.) Since moving to our new place, the kids have had the opportunity to endure a lot of ignorant comments. Among those are comments about homeschoolers.  (I will blog later about the other bigoted, offensive things my kids have heard lately.)  Maybe our past neighbors thou

6 Weeks Home

We've been home 6 weeks.  We've had the boys 8 and 9 weeks.  Is that really all?  We've lived so much life with them over these couple of months, it's easy to forget how short our time has been together. Daily, we see new things they do that remind us that they did, indeed have years of life before we entered into it.   Sometimes, it's something adorable such as the way Travis will dance or put on a hat, then salute or do what looks to us like slow Tai Chi.  We didn't teach him any of that!  Sometimes it's sad, such as when this same child shows a look of terror when he does something he thinks is wrong.  These events make us wish we had a video of their life we could play back now and then. We had a few firsts this weekend!  I went to work for the first time in almost 4 years.  I should say "went to work in Texas for the first time" because I did work out of state last summer.  Anyway, it was nice to get out and work again. I'm so thankful

Wordless Weekend

I forgot to keep up with Wordless Wednesday, so to make up for it, here's Wordless Weekend. (Guess my comment and captions makes it not so wordless.) "Fixing" the bike Finding belly buttons First day of school Math at the park Morning ritual Already fans of fast cars Who doesn't love a great book? Family favorite