Hands that Talk


My name is Isabelle, and I’m 11 years old. I live in Riverton, Utah. If you come to my house you might notice that my family does some things a little differently than other families. If my mom wants to get our attention, she turns the lights on and off. We use a videophone to make all our calls. And you’ll never hear us raise our voices. This is because most of my family members are deaf—and so am I.

Being deaf means I can’t hear. Instead of using my voice to talk, I use my hands to sign words. My mom, dad, and older brother are deaf, and my older sister is hard of hearing. When my mom learned that there weren’t a lot of helps for children who are deaf or hard of hearing, she helped start a school for those children. Now I go to that school. My classmates and I like learning and doing the same things that other kids do in school.

When I’m not in school I like to jump on the trampoline, draw, and read novels. I also like to take things apart and put them back together.

Speaking of taking things apart, one summer I helped take shingles off my uncle’s roof. It took a long time, and I was tiredby the end! Another time I helped paint a playhouse. I got paint splatters all over my shirt. Now I like wearing the shirt because it reminds me of all my hard work.

I like being in a family that can talk using sign language. When we talk about our day, we give all our attention to the person who is signing. I’ve learned that showing respect and caring for each other’s needs are very important.

My Family

sign language words(click to view larger)

Illustrations by Adam Koford