Morphosyntactic Empathy

I posted this on a class forum, re-read, and realized it was far too creative for clinical lingo… decided to post here.

I feel that I have had the most enriching, enlightening experience this semester working with 6 students with hearing impairment. They are all in the same X grade mainstream class, with an interpreter and pull-out SLP/TOHI/SpEd services. Five of them are fluent in ASL; 2 have cochlear implants; 1 is getting CI this summer; 1 identifies strongly with his hearing peers; and 1 is also a user of African American English (and not ASL). So enamored with the illustrative and comedic nature of ASL that my students so beautifully portrayed, that I took up a beginner’s ASL course. Inspired to learn more, I’ve mastered a few signs that help me when I lead sessions (but most importantly, fingerspelling). I’m constantly consulting visual ASL dictionaries online to translate and figure out what they’re trying to convey using their hands. Because ASL is so very visual and its grammar is so different from that of verbal SAE, digging deeper allowed me to also unveil the inner workings of the language structures in their minds, framed by the structures and limits placed upon their linguistic perceptions by their language. Not only can i identify their translation of ASL grammar into spoken English (eg, “Me eat yesterday” for “I ate yesterday”), but I can – just a little more clearly than before – understand their perspective, which is such a huge part of empathizing.

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Morphosyntactic Empathy

Small Print

While my previous post was a rather dreary and miserable return to WP, I’d just like to clarify that I have never known true depression. It is not an affliction with which I wish to endure under pretense. No, so many beautiful people suffer from its drowning pressures, and I do not want to pretend for a second that I can comprehend what that’s like.

Rather, I am here in an emotional trench, similarly deep and solid as the icy pathways outside this winter. It is difficult to find the motivation to step into that freezing, wintry world and travel so many vehicular minutes to my temporary destination working with tomorrow’s children.

Small Print

Gender rules roles

I am beginning to see why men complain that Girls — young girls? small girls? adolescent-brained girls? females? (but certainly not WOMEN, in the moralistic and powerful sense of the word) — are “self-absorbed”. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why I haven’t properly meshed with hordes of them. I don’t understand the lack of honesty and bluntness; I don’t share the same obsession with my reflection or the goings-on in other people’s lives. Self-absorbed and disinterested in others, but always wanting to be heard and supported in life or death situations. Indecisive but unwilling to settle. Sure, I’m generalizing; but my friends with vaginas (FWV) tend to LACK these qualities in excess. FWV tend to care less about the opinions of others and think more broadly about ideas and concepts pertaining to all of humanity, not just their own physiques.
I suppose I am just itching to hang out with my guy friends.

Gender rules roles

Departure

This is one of those instances in which I cannot seem to find the right descriptors – “homesick” is far too strong of a word to describe how I feel, and “bittersweet” certainly does not set the proper mood.

The instance is my return to New York! The problem is: I would love to continue traveling (not so much STUDYING abroad), but I would prefer to do so with members of my home community. I miss them, and I miss New York, but I would be happy being away with them. What would you call that?

This final day is one of the most beautiful days I’ve seen here in Sweden – I can’t actually believe what I’m feeling. NY is experiencing the edge of a hurricane. What’s going on? I just know that this Scandinavian good-weather kick will die within a few days…

Departure

It’s up to you, New York, New York

I’ve always been hyperaware of the conveniences of living in NYC. Sure, it’s a swampy, overpopulated hellhole with a wonky transit system; but, with proper coordination and ambition, you truly can accomplish ANYTHING once you’re there. You can eat nearly any cuisine your heart desires, and if you can’t get it to-go, you can gather the ingredients to make it yourself. You can get anywhere in the city after a few hours of .. interesting schlepping. Nothing is separated by miles of endless space and grass (ok, yes, nature is beautiful, but I succumb to boredom rather easily!) You adapt to people and situations at the drop of a hat. You can meet anyone from anywhere and absorb new information: points of view, concepts, linguistic particulates, magical bus routes, urban fauna and flora, exercise routines, spices, abandoned buildings, specialized bookstores, immigration history, the political fog… in NYC, whether it’s your hometown or not, you are a perpetual learner.

Similarly, while traveling, you are a perpetual learner. Abroad, you are learning a new culture and about your own adaptivity. Is it safe to say that wanderlust may be partially satiated by simply living in my hometown? 

It’s up to you, New York, New York

Briefly looking in the mirror

Our professors left major projects along with final exams to the last week of classes. We’re all so out of routine with the Homework Grind that we don’t know whether to sh*t or go blind. I’m so close to home that I can taste it! I haven’t really felt the queasiness of homesickness, but the comforts of home have certainly been desirable. Although my bed has been only cushy and tranquilizing, I miss my good old Bob-o-Pedic. 

There are a select few things I’d like to retain upon arrival. I want to seriously get back into jogging! We walk miles and miles (or should I say km and km) per day, and it feels GREAT to be to exhausted that I pass out quickly at night. I want to cook more meals collectively (never alone, haha). I want to get great instant coffee so I can make frappes every morning.  But I’m going to relish in the fact that I can obtain iced coffee anywhere, at any time. I cannot wait for this!

Briefly looking in the mirror