Your Questions About An Impaired Use Of Language

February 15, 2014
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Carol asks…

What is a good book to learn American Sign Language?

I am Deaf/Hearing Impaired with a Cochlear Implant, and English was my first language. I would like to learn ASL since it is so interesting, so I am interested into buying a book.

I was thinking of this book, but not too sure yet:

http://www.amazon.com/American-Sign-Language-Easy-Way/dp/0764134280/ref=pd_sim_b_11

But do you have any suggestions?

Thanks so much!

admin answers:

That looks pretty good for a book, but, if possible, it would be much better to go to a school or take lessons at some sort of centre.

If taking lessons, private or classes, is possible, then you should start by looking places up in your phone book. Places that have to do with Sign Language, deaf/hearing impaired people might either hold classes or have possible information on where you could go.

If you are unable to take lessons, then that book would probably be an OK start for learning some of the basics, but you won’t be learning how to have actual conversations well.

Ken asks…

How do you deal with your ADD?

I tend to forget to do things like turn off the lights and don’t pay attention to detail sometimes. I was doing rosetta stone to learn another language and I do all 11 lessons at once and it was driving me crazy to concentrate and I would get things wrong that I knew the answer to. So I’m pretty sure I have adult ADD. Is there anything I can do about it besides taking medication?

admin answers:

Is it a disorder? Does it impair your daily functioning? Did you feel that way before you started labeling yourself ADD?

I was diagnosed with ADHD, which means a doctor talked to me for 5 seconds and gave me some meds. I felt like a slug. I couldn’t think, I couldn’t sleep, I lost weight (I’m scrawny by nature so that was really rough) and I felt awful all the time. Even when I used sleep aids which had never made me groggy in the past and remembered to eat, I still felt horrible.

Things that have helped me immensely:

-Take a look at your diet. When I have more magnesium in my diet I am much calmer and happier. I also have an easier time focusing. When I take flax oil regularly I also think more clearly. I don’t take some capsules and feel like Superman two seconds later, rather, after a week or two of regularly taking a few supplements and/or paying more attention to nutrition, I feel better. If you notice something has improved after you;ve taken a supplement for at least a week (mood, focus, etc) then that means you weren’t getting enough of that nutrient before. It’s not magic, it’s just treating your body right.

-Are you getting enough sleep? I need 9-10 hours a night. I rarely get more than 6, but when I get those 9 hours I’m a totally different person. (I’m 17 so I have a really high need for sleep and a really low chance of getting it.) Sleep deprivation makes it harder to focus. If you need 8 hours of sleep and get 7 every night, that sleep debt builds up. You can ‘pay back’ your sleep debt over time, which is good. Sleep is important. Don’t minimize it.

-Work out. Get your heart beating and get sweaty at least every other day. You can do bodyweight exercises which require no equipment. This also makes a huge difference in your ability to focus, and it improves the quality of your sleep.

-Avoid caffeine and other stimulants completely or as much as you possibly can. Your mind doesn’t need any help speeding up.

I also have problems remembering little details sometimes. My mind wanders, I fidget, I forget obvious things, I lose track of time, etc. I’ve done more through what I mentioned above combined with strength of will than I ever did with medication.

Two years ago, I took AP American History, immediately fell behind, and dropped the course two months in. Last year, I took the same course again, got a 5 (that’s a perfect score) on the exam and an A- in the class. According to my teacher, if my final essay hadn’t sucked (it focused on one of my weak points and the prompt was worded strangely) I would have gotten an A. There was no A+ in that class.

Two years ago I was on Concerta and that directly led to my abysmal class performance. Last year I was drug-free and feeling good.

I find that when I can manage it, scheduling to a rather extreme degree is the only way I can stay on track. Establish routines as much as you can, learn to recognize when you start to go off-track, and really engage yourself in everything you’re doing. Yes, I’m an actual ADHD person, though I don’t believe in the disorder myself. (Personality type? Yes. Disorder, like BPD or OCD? No.) You are a self-aware person and as such you’re capable of changing your actions.

But let’s look at this another way. We ADD/ADHD/whatever people have high levels of ideation which we can use to our advantage, if we can tame it. Maybe Rosetta Stone wasn’t right for you- I found it boring. Yes, I have a very low tolerance for boring things though I’ve learned to deal with them. However I consider the fact that my mind leaps around a lot to be a great advantage, since 95% of the time I can control where it goes, or at least direct it. There are plenty of downsides (I’d like it if my brain would just shut up sometimes, I wish I didn’t have to devote so much mental energy to sitting still and not doodling or daydreaming, etc) just like with everything else in life, but why would you take medication to get rid of an advantage?

George asks…

Why would people continue to insist on people first language when the group expresses they don’t want it?

Blind people say that they don’t want to be referred to as “people with blindness” “visually impaired” or “person with a visual impairment.”

Autistic people do not want to be referred to as “people with autism.” They say their autism is part of their identity and “person with autism” separates autism from the person. Yet a university professor takes off 15 points when one of her students use the term “autistic.”

Same goes for the deaf.

Why would people continue to insist on people first language for these groups if the people who have these conditions made it clear they don’t want to be referred to as “person with _____”?
@pioneer_grrrl1979: I am not talking about people with epilepsy. I am talking about the blind, deaf and autistic people.

admin answers:

I have no idea what you’re talking about. I am a person with epilepsy–and notice I did put person first language. I also researched what people with autism/autism rights groups call themselves, since you specifically wanted to know.

Generalizing about ‘the group’ ignores that there are people with disabilities who do use person first language to refer to ourselves.

It’s obvious that you are not one of us. And you’re just an observer. Plus not a very good observer either.

Yes, you are talking about people with various kinds of disabilities. I happen to be among them. And people with autism are another,. We consider ourselves person first. If you can’t deal with our being a ‘person first’. This is your problem. Not ours.

What university would honestly take off 15 points if a person uses a term—without even first giving the person a chance to at least attempt to first explain the utilized term in context of their written paper? .

Some written research papers do require the using of terms which are now considered racially/ethnically stereotypical.

For example ‘To Kill a Mockingbird” is chock-full of now-stereotypical racial terms. We do not hear/use these terms in our current day society. They are considered offensive to contemporary society merely by themselves.

But the terms as printed in the book would have to be printed in a paper to accurately and properly cite certain quotes from the characters in this particular book

Telling me (or other people) what we’re supposed to call ourselves–when you are apparently not even a part of ‘the group’ is absurd. I’ll call myself a person first, thank you very much.

Be honest and just admit if you’re in over your head with the question. .

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