The Penny

Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.

[Saturday, December 11, 2010]

Proud of My Boys

Earlier this week, my deaf kiddos went with all the first graders to a play, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. The classroom interpreter went up separately, because she wanted to look over the script and music beforehand. The teacher of the deaf and I rode on the bus with the kids.

So the kids had not seen the interpreter that morning when they got to school. We got them unpacked and set up with their FM receivers, and then it was time to get on the bus.

When we got to the theater and got our kids seated (in the third row, while their poor hearing classmates were up in nosebleed), arranging Oil and Water so they were not sitting next to each other... My superstar boy happily greeted the interpreter and watched as she and I discussed where she would stand. The theater company had her way off to the side, which is totally unrealistic--like a first grader is going to look away from the action on stage for a second. Hm, a dancing mouth, a talking dog, and a wolf that loses his teeth all over the stage... or the interpreter that I see every day. Yeah. We got that changed.

When the interpreter was set and the kids were positioned so they could all see her (no grown-up heads blocking them), Superstar waved to get her attention and signed, "Interpret? You interpret?" When she said yes, he smiled.

The poor child thought he'd have to try to make sense of the action without the benefit of language, like in other non-school situations. I don't think he realized that interpretation was even possible outside of school.

That was sad, but I was happy at the same time, because he demonstrating understanding of the concept of interpretation. Oh, how I have worked on that! Our assigned interpreter is frequently absent, which is sort of frustrating, but I'm making lemonade. When different interpreters walk into the classroom, three of the kids could not care less, but this child is always interested in learning their names (signs and spelling). He is quite outgoing, introducing his deaf peers and me to the interpreters. The interpreters are always charmed by this brilliant and very big-D Deaf child. And I take a minute to emphasize, "So-and-so is not here today. So-and-so will not interpret. Today we have a substitute interpreter. Whatever-her-name-is will interpret." I guess somewhere along the way, those explanations clicked!

On a side note, our most oral child shocked me while we were at the play. I had the two boys sitting near me, which gave me the little superstar and the oral boy, who happens to be visually impaired. And have fine motor difficulty. And appear generally clumsy and immature. He rarely signs, and when he does, it's usually inaccurate, such as "bathroom" with an A or N handshape, "fun" with an R handshape, or "math" that frankly looks like the sign for "celebrate." But he's always happy, and he's a lot of fun. He's also the noisiest deaf child you'll ever meet. He loves to ask questions, and any instructions given will be met with a quick, "Why?"

During the play, he kept asking questions, like, "Why that dog sad?" and "What the mom said?" so I encouraged him to watch the interpreter. And I shushed him. Frequently. I guess he really wanted to talk to me, because he SIGNED, "What next?" The child knows the sign "next." And produced it clearly.

He signed, "Mom what-do?" You know, the "do-do" sign, not the "action/doing" sign--as in, the correct sign for the context.

We have worked on answering "what doing" questions for over a year, using that very sign. He rarely looks at us, seems to depend completely on his CI for language. When his processor broke last month, he stared at us like he had never seen ASL before as we explained that we couldn't get it working and mom would have to call his audiologist. And he knows "do-do"!!! Little stinker.

The teacher of the deaf likes to remind everyone that this boy is more with it than he shows, and she is soooo right.

Little stinker.


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