I am Amy, this is my sign name …. When I was little I went to a Deaf Unit, I went to Deaf classes and hearing classes, going between both. This was very normal for me – I had friends I could chat with.
Then I went to a hearing mainstream intermediate school then to high school and everything seemed to be normal. Then I flew to van Asch Deaf Education Centre for two years. That had a huge impact on me! Whoa!! I didn’t realise there were more Deaf people out there, signing away. Their signing was not the same as mine.
Why? Because I used TC, my signing was slower, followed spoken English more and was not as fluent. The people I saw now were using NZSL . Wow. Plus they know about Deaf culture and Deaf identity. I didn’t realise, I looked at myself and realised I had no sense of identity.
I had so much to learn from people at van Asch. I learnt about Deaf culture and Deaf identity. I looked into myself and found I had a real love for NZSL, NZSL allowed me to make good friends, to have good long conversations with people. It gave me more confidence and more power.
I was ready to leave van Asch , I knew I could progress I had knowing I can have access and I can live in the hearing world.