As I’ve mentioned before, the information given to parents of deaf children is incredibly confusing and often contradictory, especially around the topic of modality of language. Bilingualism is not favored by many audiologists and ENT surgeons as there seems to be an understanding that a) speech must be the most desired outcome and b)sign language may hinder the development of English. I have heard this many times. And right in the beginning, before connecting with people that knew better, this left me very concerned and rather confused. This clip, posted by Hands and Voices in the USA, addresses many of these issues. It’s quite long, but really worth watching if you are in any way involved with deaf children. It also highlights reasons why the early detection of hearing loss, and consequent intervention, are of utmost importance.
Yesterday, Hadassah had to have a minor operation on one of her legs. Previously, an event like this would have been particularly daunting as I’d have no means to prepare her for what was going to happen. This time, through some sign and the use of a book about children going to hospital for various reasons, she knew to expect to be starved from the night before, and it was just very empowering to be able to inform her through every step of a rather long and uncomfortable day.
This morning, she protested about going to school, and insisted on staying in bed through very clearly signing, “Mamma, I can’t walk, my leg is sore.” So, home she stayed, and I thought I’d get some emailing and a bit of blogging done while she rests next to me. No such luck. I started a blog, and between the first two sentences, I had been asked for honey on toast, which was then changed to cheese after the honey toast was made. She then insisted that the cheese be melted. She asked for the book with the “two bears who were having a party,” got busy with some sand art and instructed me precisely about every particular colour that she wanted in a particular spot. She demanded green juice, chocolate cake, 9 green sweeties and a strawberry yoghurt. She then explained to me that she can’t sign property as her one hand is “broken” (it adorns a ‘princess’ plaster after having a little drip inserted yesterday). A very busy demanding little patient, clearly communicating her every desire in spite of one “broken” hand. Her beloved teddy bear, Benjamin, has needed to be bandaged over and over, and every one of his wishes has also been clearly communicated by his doting mother! She now wants to cuddle her little orange swan down chick that she got for Easter, and has just mentioned that she doesn’t think that she’s quite ready yet to give up her night time nappy.
I was on the brink of getting frustrated by the continuous demands and interruptions whilst mid-sentence in an email a few hours ago, when the reality of this unlimited communication became apparent. My daughter is being a four year old princess, demanding, fussing, and just being cute. I am able to communicate with her, like any mother would with her daughter – what a pleasure! My skills at one-handed sign reading are improving whilst my ears are learning what certain mispronounced words mean. This little munchkin has now fallen asleep, allowing me to make this entry – how far she has come!
As the last post mentioned, Graeme, my husband, will shortly be making an effort to fundraise for the fantastic organization, HI HOPES early intervention Programme. We’ve had incredible journey over the past 11 months now. One that started with despair and now is very much one of HOPE. A pivotal moment was gaining the support of HI HOPES. The input that they sow frequently, is already reaping incredible results, as the language assessments that we do to assess the girls’ language development, are showing significant leaps in their development of language. Experiencing the benefit of such a programme first hand, has given me a deeper appreciation of the need for all deaf babies to access early intervention. One way that we hope to “give back” a little and consequently support other families like ours, is through the website “Do it 4 charity”. In July this year, Graeme will be climbing Mt Kilimanjaro for HI HOPES. Please consider supporting deaf babies through exploring this link and making a donation. Every little bit counts!
An earlier post, “Giving honour where honour is due,” also expresses our appreciation for this incredible team, find it here: https://biancabirdsey.wordpress.com/2013/12/19/giving-honour-where-honour-is-due/