It's been two years since I started learning sign language and volunteered to teach deaf and mute people. I've learned so much since then. Communicating with deaf people taught me not only how to speak using my hands, I learned how they think, how they convey ideas and basically I had an in-dept understanding of their 'culture' as well.
Normal people learns a language through listening to people around them, along with this listening and speaking enables us to communicate and convey our ideas clearly. But this is imposible for the deaf and mute. So they developed a unique way of communicating by using their hands to 'talk'.
Learning sign language has been a challenge for me at first because as people who can perfectly hear, we we're taught with correct grammar and the other language rules. A sentence that seems to have the right grammar for us may not be understandable for them. I struggled a lot with changing the order of words and verbs so that I can convey my thoughts clearly. Complex sentences doesn't work for them. The simpler the sentence, the clearer it is.
Example instead of saying "Hello. How are you feeling today?" It is easier to understand if you say "Hello" "You now how". With that they'll probably answer "Fine" or "Good".
Deaf people are very frank or direct to the point. They usually uses the 'Love Sign' which is like this 🤟 to say that they like someone as a person. If you say something offending they'll instantly tell you you're 'bad'. Most of them are also very sensitive. They easily get hurt so constant socializing with them helped me to be more vigilant with what I'm saying or signing, rather. Another way to clearly express our thoughts for them to understand is through our facial expression. I remember that two years ago, I'm always wearing a poker face. But a student taught me to make the most out of my facial expressions and emotions. The uglier your face gets, the more they can understand you easily.
Most people have the wrong perception that deaf are dummies and they don't know anything where in fact the only disability they have is being unable to hear. Most of the deaf people I've met are very talented when it comes to arts and their ability to focus in doing a task is just amazing and they are very industrious too.
Not all of us gets in contact with a deaf and mute person everyday. You may want to learn the basic so you can talk to them using your hands if ever you meet one - learn the alphabets. If you don't know how to sign a specific word just spell it to them.
If ever you meet a deaf and mute in the future you may want to initiate a conversation. Deafs appreciates it a lot when we try our best to communicate with them.