Intro to SSL: “Sharon Sign Language”

There’s been a heck of a lot going on with both Barnum’s health (still no diagnosis, but huge improvement in his health and functioning from being on an antibiotic) and with access activism in my town. Between being so busy dealing with these issues and difficulty typing (cuz my wrists don’t like it if I type by hand, but half of the time my voice doesn’t work*, and then I can’t type by voice with Dragon, either) I haven’t been able to blog about all this intense stuff.

So, instead here’s a video I made before all the latest kerfuffle. I made it for my personal assistants, especially the new ones who don’t yet know as many of my idiosyncracies as the long-timers. I tried to think of the signs I use the most with my assistants, the things I wish most they understood. Then Betsy interpreted/narrated.

I made the video on a day I couldn’t voice because for some reason it’s easier for me to think in sign language when I can’t talk than when I can. It’s also a lot more obvious to me which signs I wish my assistants knew when I am right in the midst of wanting them to understand me. Today is a no-voice day, too, so it seemed like a good day to post the videos as well!

Here’s the description:

Sign Vocabulary & Tips for Easier Communication with Me

For my personal care assistants (PCAs), especially new hires. Please watch it with the sound on first to learn the signs. Then try watching with the sound OFF to see if you can remember the vocab!

Most of these are basic ASL (American Sign Language) signs, but a few of them are signs I’ve made up, for which I don’t know the real signs (such as for the two-way radio, computer mouse, and computer touchpad). I use a lot of V/G (visual/gestural) to communicate when my voice isn’t working. But I thought the best way to help you learn to understand me is from me.

If you want to learn real ASL, don’t learn it from me. I have a lot of bad habits, and sometimes my impairments get in the way (that was a very tired middle finger on the “K”!). Learn real ASL from a Deaf teacher!

Here’s the uncaptioned version up on youtube.

And here’s the captioned version (which I have not been able to embed in a post, so just pop over to amara to see it).

-Sharon and Barnum, the reinvigorated SD

* For those of you new to my voicing issue, due to Lyme and coinfections (other tick-borne diseases), since 2008 I’ve had an intermittent speech impairment which is apraxic in nature (relates to voluntary sounds, like speech, not to involuntary sounds, like laughter or shouting in surprise) and seems to be the mixed form of spasmodic dysphonia, ranging from so severe I can barely produce sound to so mild I just sound a bit scratchy. And other times it doesn’t affect me at all (thus the “intermittent” part of the diagnosis).


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