Deaf Heartbeat Story
This is the story of a Deaf girl in a Hearing family. Research shows more than 88% of Deaf children are born to Hearing parents that will never learn American Sign Language (ASL). This communication gap could slow academic learning and potentially hurt family bonds.
My family used to be part of this statistic...but I'm proud to say and sign - NOT ANYMORE.
Here's our story: My name is Selina (pictured left), I'm a SODA (Sibling of a Deaf Adult). At the age of 2 my middle sister, Roxanne (pictured right), developed Scarlet Fever. Soon after, she was diagnosed as Deaf. Due to being young parents, lack of resources and knowledge, Mom and Dad (both Hearing) did not pursue ASL. We developed our own charade style “Home Sign Language” to communicate. It got us by, but we missed out on so much. We left home. Roxanne went on to Texas School for the Deaf and I got married and moved to Georgia. Many years passed and we lost touch. After reconnecting at our Dad's funeral, Roxanne came to live with us. I took it upon myself to take ASL classes and dive into Deaf Culture. The relationship between my sister and I flourished. We no longer had a language barrier. Finally, we could joke, reminisce and fully understand each other....and you know what else? I discovered I had a passion for sign!
Our desire is to unite families in this same way. Deaf Heartbeat aims to bless others by teaching ASL for free to anyone who is interested in learning. We began as a small class at our local church and our class grew to 40+. It included Hearing, Hard of Hearing (HOH) and Special Needs Adults and was a great success! THEN The Corona Virus hit AND Roxanne moved back home to Texas. I thought our "little Sign Language Club" would end there, but boy was I wrong. Gods' plans are always greater than our own! We began teaching from our living rooms. Our Deaf taught Facebook Live classes have become quite popular and our outreach has far exceeded our hometowns. We took the steps to become an official 501c3 NonProfit and began spreading Deaf awareness by sharing related books at Little Free Libraries. A Moms group was formed to teach Little Ones to sign. Relationships are being formed with other like-minded NonProfits and the possibilities just go on!
As for our family? We continue to be blown away by all the doors American Sign Language has opened for us. I am proud to say our own Mom is our biggest fan and student! She is faithful in attending our teachings and the bond she has with Roxanne is so special. Our youngest sister is learning, our Aunt has become such an advocate for Deaf Heartbeat, my entire family is learning and one of my greatest joys is teaching our son to sign. We share this story to encourage. It's NEVER too late to learn to sign. The past is the past. Today is a new day. You and the person you are learning this beautiful language are worth it, you deserve it and may you be blessed by it! Keep on signing Friends!
To bridge the gap between the Deaf and the Hearing and unite families with American Sign Language.
To create a united world where the Deaf can live without communication barriers, have strong family bonds, and great work experiences.