Now I know that I just think differently.
The main reason is that I first learned language in a different way.
I heard things in English but said them in another language—sign language.
I did this because even though I can hear, I have speech challenges and am deaf in one ear. I live in two worlds, hearing and ASL, and neither world exactly understands what’s its like to be me.
I don’t think in a straight line.
I think in all directions at once. For example, when I buy a gift, I know that person in 3D and know what is perfect for them.
I think now and ahead at the same time.
I plan my week on the weekend and get up very early in the morning so I am prepared.
I organize what I learn in folders in my mind, like school folder, family folder, birthday folder, shopping folder, where you put your keys folder. This lets me remember everything I see and hear.
ASL feels different than English. You see it, not hear it. For example, when you want to say good job, you hold up your thumb. That’s what ASL words feel like.
I think of words 3 ways at the same time; the thing, the word and the sign.
Sign language skips a lot of words so its easy to leave English words out and put them in the wrong order.
I want to walk is I want walk.
I will ask her to pick her up is I will ask her to picking up her.
Two different words in English, can be one word in sign.
You put your hand on your chest to say both My or mine. So writing ASL to English might be Mine clothes are on the table.
One sign can mean 3 English words.
Moving your hand in front of your face means pretty, handsome, beautiful.
Some words I have never said. I might know the sign but I have never heard the word or the answer.
For example, my driver’s test asked about an intersection. I have been in an intersection before but had never had a word for it. So when I read it, I didn’t know what the word meant.
Reading helps me with language, but I still need to translate words.
Math has more language to deal with than people think and they assume I know what things mean. A lot of words mean different things in math than in English like times.
For algebra, I need to write every step. I like to check it right after so I can clear my head. On tests, if there are a lot of steps to remember, I get blank and nervous. Geometry is easier for me than algebra because its not a lot of steps.
To me, sign communicates feelings, not just words. Just like music.
I can communicate important things or deep feelings by writing them. But I am grateful to have someone who understands sign.
I have to be determined and creative to get help because teachers don’t understand me.
When people are not patient and try to do things for me, I have to either fight back or give in.
In big groups, its hard to get people’s attention so I have to listen carefully and wait a lot.
I work really hard and have to hold a lot of things in my head.
So what does this all mean. It means:
I am creative, resourceful and determined
I am super sensitive to seeing and listening
I really want to communicate
I want the world to see who I am
Sometimes I’m exhausted.