Failure to Communicate and Around the Internet

Sometimes, working with a deaf person is interesting solely because of how other people react. This can range from the normal silly questions (“Oh, deaf people can drive, then?”) to simple confusion on how to interact with a person through an interpreter. The latter point is, I think, a bit more excusable. It’s not everyday that you use an interpreter. Not to mention that ASL Interpretation is simultaneous, so it throws people off.

(By simultaneous I mean that no breaks are necessary for the actual act of interpreting the message. A deaf person can be signing while the interpreter simultaneously gives voice to what they’re saying, or vice-versa. With a spoken language, on the other hand, the audience usually has to wait for at least part of the message to be conveyed in the source language, then listen to the interpretation. Otherwise, the interpreter would be talking over the speaker.)

Anyhow… The point of this story is that sometimes funny things happen between the deaf person and other hearing people who may be around. Yesterday, I was on one side of the classroom, dealing with something else. My deaf student was sitting at the table with a few other kids, doing some work. Suddenly, one of the other boys (autistic) at the table turns to her and speaks to her. Even though I was on the other side of the room, I could catch the conversation:

Autistic Boy: Hi! How are you doing?

Deaf Student: *Gets confused look on her face, looks at him, and almost seems to mouth “what?”*

Autistic Boy: I said how are you doing?

Deaf Student: *Maintains confused look*

Autistic Boy: Good or bad?

Deaf Student: *Finally seems to have had enough of trying to work out whatever it is he is trying to say to her. She smiles and gives a thumbs up, then goes back to doing whatever she was doing.*

Autistic Boy: (To himself, after a time.) She doesn’t talk very good…

I confess: I LOLed.

In other news, I recently discovered MS Paint Adventures. I am absolutely hooked. I am partway through Act 3, though, and still have no idea what’s going on. Still, it is hilarious, regardless. So much geek humor packed into a very interesting format. Check it out!

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