Life in progress

Eyes – #AtoZ Challenge


My A to Z theme concerns the joys and challenges of being the hearing mother of my Deaf son, Alex.

They say being deaf makes the eyesight better, but I had no idea what that meant until I took American Sign Language classes. Not hearing doesn’t improve the quality of a person’s eyesight – no one is going to from 20/200 (being able to only read the giant “E” at the top of an eye chart) to 20/20 because they are deafened. “Having better eyesight” simply means the brain works faster with visual stimulation. Take, for instance, the alphabet. Say it out loud as fast as you can possibly say it, and then consider a native signer can fingerspell it as fast as you can say it, and the average Deaf person can understand every letter as well as someone who hears can understand your speaking of it. Mindboggling, isn’t it? I used to come home from my three-hour classes once a week exhausted like I’ve never been exhausted before, and just because of the level of concentration required.

A to Z in ASL

What this means for me as a parent is that Alex doesn’t miss much. Even as a toddler, he was far more observant than the average kid. His attention to detail was such that, even before he knew what the letters of the alphabet were, he could match seventy-odd black VHS tapes by the labels together with their covers. It also means that he can easily pick up on facial cues.

Alex watches the show Ellen every day. He loves the way she dances and often mimics it. Sexy hip-grinding stuff? He’s on it. He’s also the size of a six-year-old, even though he’s fifteen, so he looks very cute doing it. This makes it very difficult for me to tell him to stop dancing like that in public. No matter what I sign, (stop, that’s rude, etc.) there’s a part of me that finds it funny. It’s easy for him to ignore what I’m saying with my hands, when the slightest twitch of an eyebrow tells him that he’s amusing me.

Believe me, you never want your teenagers to be able to read your mind. Mine can.

Author: Linda G. Hill

There's a writer in here, clawing her way out.

26 thoughts on “Eyes – #AtoZ Challenge

  1. Pingback: Safety – #AtoZ Challenge | Linda G. Hill

  2. He was going nice and slow in the video but I know I would be so lost trying to understand any word.


  3. I can’t tell you, the biggest thing I hear from people is “oh, so since you can’t see your hearing must be amazing.”
    I focus on what I hear, of course.
    Interesting to hear this from the opposite end.


  4. I’m still at the stage where I try to convince my children that I can read their minds…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Amazing bond you have with Alex Linda. Well done – he will flourish under your love.


  6. I Can Only Imagine how difficult it was for you to use a totally different part of your brain, it’s more than a learning another language, isn’t it?


  7. I worked with a deaf guy and his attention to detail was worse than mine, and mine is terrible. Your son has a tremendous skill.


  8. I’ve once been on a train with a group of deaf teenagers chatting in sign language. I’ve never seen anyone “speak” so fast in my life. That was mindboggling. Thanks for sharing your experience with Alex :-). It helps to understand more


  9. Haha! You’re right. You don’t have that advantage at all. I must admit, I look more than I listen. I think I’m just more visual. But not like Alex, not at the speed you write of, I’m sure. Spelling things out in ASL was never my strong suit. The Mister is much better than I. Trying to be secretive, I’ll go with French and he’ll go with sign. *sigh*


  10. I knew a few of the letters, that is a great video. Thanks for sharing. I love Ellen.


  11. I can understand your challenges but I know that every son -child- in spite of disabilities is precious to the parents. Glad he makes you laugh.


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