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… Although we have to wonder if she understands the significance of that sign.

One man on the AITA subreddit is speaking up for his daughter — who quite literally cannot do the same. The Original Poster (OP)’s daughter Ruby was born “mute.” It’s not exactly clear what he means by that, but the point is that she doesn’t speak. She understands English, he said, and while she can use her phone to write, she “obviously” prefers to use American Sign Language to communicate.

And that is a legitimate preference. It would be exhausting to write your thoughts all the time. Think about how long it probably takes you to write an email. And how many times you reread and edit and reread and edit. Now think about having to do that again and again and again as a child and with your loved ones. Think about how much more you say when you communicate in a language that is natural to you and that doesn’t require self-editing and the process of thinking “Hmm, do I really need to say or ask that?” I know I’m guilty of wanting to ask something but deciding not to after seeing it written out in an email or text. And all of that doesn’t even account for the fact that ASL and English have different grammar, which means writing in English is extra strenuous.

“The issue is my girlfriend [of 9 months], Amanda,” the man wrote in his post. “[Amanda and her daughter Mia] don’t know sign language, so communication with Ruby was awkward at first. [Ruby] hates having to write or use her phone at home. So I taught Amanda some basic signs beforehand, and I’ve continued teaching her and Mia more.”

Though her daughter, Mia, seems to be making a clear effort (“Mia is getting a lot better actually,” says OP), Amanda has supposedly decided ASL is “too hard” and “refuses” to learn any more. In her mind, learning the language is “unnecessary” because Ruby can understand English and communicate in other ways.

This was not going to fly for OP, who called Amanda “selfish and lazy” and said it’s not fair to put the onus of communication solely on Ruby.

Hear, hear!

“We got into a fight over it and she basically called me an a—hole and said it’s not her fault she struggles with it,” the man wrote. “But that doesn’t mean just give up. If she wants to be in our life it’s the bare minimum effort to put in.”

As a lot of people pointed out, learning a new language, especially as an adult, requires a lot of time and effort — but we agree that being open to trying is the bare minimum. No one is asking her to become fluent in three months. But she can show a willingness to learn at least basic phrases. She could show sympathy for the situation. She could agree to write back and forth with Amanda to get an understanding of her burden instead of simply talking at her.

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