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Asl - a Loss for Words Reflection Paper

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Kristin Wilson


A Loss for Words Reflection Paper


A Loss for words was a very emotion twisting story. Growing up with deaf parents and how that affected the girl growing up and her surroundings and the different changes she had to go through. How she had to take an adult role at such a young age. How all her peers treated her so differently. The embarrassment and guilt she had to deal with on a daily basis for not having hearing parents. But how much love they all still had and expressed to each other was easy for anyone to see.

        What stuck out the most to me in A Loss for Words was how Lou Ann had to take the role of her parents and assist them in the world so much at such a young age.  Being she was raised around only deaf people, she learned American Sign Language very easily. She had hearing relatives as well, so she was bilingual at a very young age. She was interpreting at an age of just four. That amazes me that a young child would understand and realize her parents needed her help to understand the outside world. I imagine that must have been stressful to take on so much responsibility again and again for her parents. But Lou Ann never once complained. She knew that her parents felt guilty for using her for so much but there really was no other option. Lou Ann’s parents only asked for her help in necessary situations so they wouldn’t be inconveniencing her all the time. She always did what they asked, because throughout growing up she must have known how hard it was for them.

Lou Ann had to help read and revise for her parent’s writing when she was just eight. I couldn’t even really picture how that must have been. Her parents weren’t able to help her on school work, which I’m positive must have been hard of Lou Ann and her sisters throughout grade school. Though her parents were excelled for deaf people they still didn’t have the reading and writing skills of a third grader.  I thought this showed a lot of strength from Lou Ann that she wasn’t ashamed of her parents. She would gladly help, and she took pride in helping her parents. I think this must have been challenging for her parents to humble themselves enough to ask their own child to do many tasks that the head of the household would be doing. Her parents never whined about their disabilities. They accepted them and lived the best they could and were successful throughout their lives and raising their children.

One thing that really touched me about this book is that Lou Ann and her sisters never once tried to deceive their parents or get around them just so they could do what they wanted. Which would have been easy to do with deaf parents that depended upon them. Being their parents couldn’t hear they could have easily snuck out at night. Lied to the interpretations of others to get around their parents, but they didn’t, because they knew how much trust their parents had in them and they wanted to make them proud. In fact they would always go the extra mile for their parents. You could see how much love the girls had for them. They were always looking out for them and enjoyed being around them all the time.

When reading this book one thing that struck me was that Lou Ann didn’t like to share ASL with other people. She felt it was her families own secret way of speaking and she didn’t want others to intrude. I think she must have been afraid of how people might treat her parents differently. When people said rude comments to her parents she never translated them that way. I couldn’t even begin to know how it must have hurt her inside. Being her parents kept a more isolated life only going out to the outside world. Her father and mother lived very happy and enjoyed their lives. Not having speech didn’t slow them down at all and that is inspiring to me.



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