I loved reading as a kid; I was a voracious reader. Looking back now, I realise it was because when I was reading, I never ‘missed’ a thing.
The minute I look up from a book, I instantly miss so much. I can’t hear the speaker on the TV as the music plays in the background or the actor speaks off screen, I can’t follow conversations with multiple people, and if there’s any background noise, nope.
Concentration fatigue is a familiar term in the Deaf community. It takes a lot of concentration to follow spoken conversations and read lips!
My husband finally understood this when he started learning Auslan.
He came home after his second Auslan class and exclaimed how tired he was. He had had to concentrate on hands and follow conversations going on around him. For two WHOLE hours! (Oh the horror!).
I looked at him and said, “Me. Every day.”
That night, He ‘got’ it, he finally understood how difficult it is for me and all DHH people each and every day.
When people learn Auslan, attend Auslan classes, go through the experience themselves… allies are born. They ‘get’ it.
As a Deaf person who has used, loved, and continued to learn Auslan throughout my life, it was when I started studying the Diploma of Auslan (Deaf cohort 2018) that I was awestruck by how beautifully complex Auslan is.