Carissa Martos has been using American Sign Language, in one capacity or another, since she was nine months old. Her mother, a speech pathologist, started teaching it to her so that Carissa could express whether she was hungry or needed a new diaper, and it became an invaluable tool. As Carissa got older, she enjoyed being able to talk with her Deaf friends, and interpret songs at church, but aside from being able to help out in a pinch at work when her boss couldn't understand some Deaf clients, she never gave it much thought.
Then, her daughter Rory was born, and Carissa began, like her mother before her, to teach her some rudimentary signs like "food" and "more", but the signs didn't take. At eighteen months, Rory was still not talking at all, and was becoming very frustrated with her lack of ability to communicate. Finally, when Rory was in the hospital with a life-threatening illness, her daughter was a capative enough audience that Carissa (and her mother) were able to teach her some signs. She instantly became a much happier baby.