Someone recently talked to me about a mainstreamed high school student who is moderately-severely deaf, knows sign language, but refuses to sign while at school. The student uses an interpreter, but she will only use her voice when she expresses herself while interacting with others at school. According to this person, her speech is understandable to everyone. This person seemed concerned about the fact that she does not want to sign. She asked me, "Why does this student refuse to sign? What do you think?"
I told her that it was impossible for me to say, because I do not personally know the student and the situation.
But, this person kept asking me to give some ideas as to why she does not sign.
So, I told her some possible reasons, based on what she told me:
a) Most likely no one else, other than the interpreter, is signing in the classroom, let alone the entire school, so why would she feel compelled to sign while at school?
b) Maybe she is uncomfortable with the idea of using her interpreter to voice for her. Perhaps, she wants to represent herself using her own voice without having to worry about whether or not the interpreter voiced what she signed correctly.
c) The student probably prefers to talk when interacting with others who talk. Perhaps she is more comfortable with talking than signing in these types of situations.
I suggested to the person to ask the student herself. If she really wanted to know, why not ask her?
What do I know?
I think it is funny how some people think I will immediately know the answers to all questions about deaf and hard of hearing students, even those I don't work with or have personally met.
I do not think it is wise to claim that you know the answers, when really you don't. I hope that I would never immediately say, without knowing the student or the situation he or she is in, "Oh, yes. I know why. It is because of this and that."
Sometimes, it is perfectly fine to say, "I don't know." It is never a good idea to pretend to be an expert in something you know little to nothing about.