You've probably already picked up that I have rubbish ears... deafness runs in my family so I've always lived with others who have suffered, and when I partially lost my hearing I found the experience terribly alienating and and a big knock to my confidence. However, the RNID really helped me out, so now I'm a lot more used to it. I do still struggle at times, mainly in social situations where there's a lot of noise as sometimes people think I'm being aloof or rude, when in reality I'm struggling to hear well and am concentrating like the clappers! Alternatively folk wonder why I'm staring at them... if you meet me and I look like I'm transfixed by your face it's not just 'cause you're utterly gorgeous, it's because I'm lip reading. I'm really not rude or aloof, I'm just a nice girl with knackered ears!
Anyway... as they've helped me out so much I volunteer for the RNID quite a bit and on Tuesday I was asked to go in and give a talk about my job so trainee interpreters could carry out live BSL interpretations for examinations.
It was such an interesting day! I find signing fascinating, and would really love to learn. People are so expressive with thier faces and it's great to watch and try and work out what's being said. I can lip read which makes it a bit easier, but some things are not so obvious... for instance, did you know if you want to sign Bill Clinton's name you should mime pulling down your fly zipper!
On Tuesday I worked with a lady called Linda who is completely deaf and heavily relies on signing and lip speaking. I was worried that she'd get tired of my talk after I repeated 7 times but she told me she didn't get bored as each interpreter has to edit what they hear down to be able to speedily interpret, therefore they pick out different things to include in thier sign session.
Here's the BSL alphabet, which I learnt the other day...