by Melissa Gschwend
(Benson, AZ USA)
I can’t say for sure that I have a favorite person from Deaf History. So many people played such wonderful roles in the support and progress of the Deaf.
I remember well the Deaf lady that won the Miss America Pageant. I have watched the Helen Keller movie and read the book so many times and each time I find myself so caught up in the strength of the teacher and how amazing it was to see the progress that she made.
I know nothing of the others that played any role in Deaf History and did not know that oral education was attempted on the Deaf people, I am glad that it failed. ASL is an amazing language to me and I am in awe every time I see a Deaf person signing.
So if I were to pick a favorite it would have to be Helen Keller because of the struggle she had with communicating and each step that was taken to teach her and just to see her improve in the slightest way.
I was told at the age of 10 that I would be deaf by the time I became and adult, so I took a summer school class and learned ASL. I was able to sign the song “You light up my life” but used ASL very little over the years and fought with being able to read when being spoken to. Now at age 41 I am not deaf although I do have my hearing issues, I still know the basics in ASL and can still sign some of the song.
Now I would really like to be able to communicate in ASL especially in being able to know what someone is saying. I realize this essay is in part personal, but you did want my thoughts. Thank You.
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