Deaf Daughter Gives Ultimatum After Parents Refuse To Learn Sign Language

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Imagine not being able to communicate with your parents because you use two different languages. That is exactly what’s happening for one Reddit user who shared her story.

This 26-year-old woman has been deaf since she was in an accident at the age of 17. She explained that losing her hearing was hard for her at first, but after time passed, she learned American Sign Language (ASL) and got familiar with the deaf community. She is now comfortable and confident living her life as a deaf person.

The problem is that this young lady’s parents do not know ASL. She explained, “We communicate now mainly by using voice-to-text on our phones, which is far from perfect, and very chaotic when multiple people are talking. Trying to keep up with conversations is exhausting, and people are constantly getting frustrated with me for not following along.” During family gatherings, she often gets “ignored or yelled at” because she can’t keep up with the conversations.

In addition, when her family watches a movie, “they refuse to turn the captions on because it’s ‘annoying’, despite the fact that it means I can’t understand the movie at all.”

When she was visiting her family over Christmas, she sat her parents down and gave them an ultimatum. She explained, “I sat my parents down and told them that if they did not begin to learn ASL, I would not be visiting again for a long time. I told them I don’t expect them to ever be fluent, but I need them to show effort in learning. I told them that they have continuously dismissed my needs as a deaf person, and that if they want to continue to have a meaningful relationship with me, we need to have some kind of shared language.”

Her parents did not take this conversation well. In fact, she wrote, “my parents accused me of wanting to cut them off, which isn’t true. I just can’t do any more visits where my presence feels like a burden.”

Since Christmas, she has been texting her brother, and he is siding with their parents, saying she is the one in the wrong.

In order to get some perspective, she decided to ask the Reddit community if they agree that she is the one in the wrong, and overwhelmingly, they think her parents are the ones who are in the wrong. One Reddit user wrote, “You cannot keep accommodating them when they do NOTHING to accommodate YOU. You are doing the right thing. Either they will come around or they won’t. Just live your life around people who appreciate you and make you happy.”

Another comment reads, “It’s one (not so great thing) to not want to learn ASL since it’s a lot of work and maybe they feel like they can’t learn a new language and it’s too hard. Learning a new language can be intimidating for some people (like me). But refusing to turn on the captions when they watch a movie with OP just makes it seem like they don’t care about him or her at all. Turning on the closed captions costs them literally nothing and is not hard or time consuming. They expect OP to sit and watch an entire movie with no idea what is going beacuse . . . they don’t like having a few small words at the bottom of their picture?”

Yet another Reddit user wrote, “Your parents are the ones cutting you off by refusing to learn to communicate with you. They can learn to sign – you can’t learn to hear. The fact that they won’t even turn on CAPTIONS for you to help you feel included shows how reluctant they are to put in any effort.”

Do you think the parents should be willing to learn ASL? Would you be willing to learn a new language to communicate with someone you love?