For those of us who are fortunate enough to be born with perfectly-abled bodies, it’s fairly difficult to sometimes understand how the differently-abled ones function. Though we as human beings are naturally curious and would like to know what life feels like to them, processing the world the way they do gives rise to several questions in our heads. Have you ever found yourself wondering what a blind person thinks of colours? This Quora user seems to have wondered something similar as well.
When this Quora user asked what language do deaf people think in, it seemed like a question that would have intrigued several among us at some point in time. If you say it did not we hope you are thinking now and bracing yourselves for this awesome answer. Michelle Westfall, who describes herself as someone who speaks ASL fluently, sets all our doubts to rest with this answer,
“I was born Deaf and have been Deaf my whole life. I do not wear hearing aids or cochlear implants (and have no desire to wear either). I speak American sign language (ASL) and it is my primary language. I am a mother of two born-Deaf children, so our being Deaf is genetic for us.
I have a ‘voice’ in my head, but it is not sound-based. I am a visual being, so in my head, I either see ASL signs, or pictures, or sometimes printed words. My inner ‘voice’ does have words, concepts, and thoughts. My mind is not blank, nor is it “silent.”
I process information through my brain, my eyes, my nose, my tongue, and my touch, all in the same way anyone would process their information. Sound just isn’t part of my thought process, and because it’s not part of my thought process does not mean I don’t have an inner voice. I do.
I’m a conscious, sentient being who thinks and reasons.”
There. That should now help us understand better how the differently abled see and feel the world. We have all grown up knowing how when human beings are created as slightly different from the rest, they are also gifted with a different set of instincts to get through life. This answer on Quora sure reinforces that.