Monday, September 19, 2011

Kids' Perspective of Deaf People

Children Perspective Of Deaf People......hmmmm

Welcome to my weekly It's a Deaf Thing Post! I hope you are enjoying this as much as I am. Today's subject is about Deafness and kids. I have so many funny experiences with kids. They are not as intimidated or unsure to approach me. They are very....very...very honest and open! I do enjoy questions I get from kids...the questions are very funny and creative, I should say.

When I was a junior in high school; I went with Dad to our local Blockbuster video store to rent some horror flicks, and we were wandering around the store. We were signing to each other and minding our own business. Suddenly, a little kid walked up to us. I was not sure how old he was, but he was probably between age of six to eight. The boy spent good few minutes watching us converse in sign language. Then he asked in a very inquisitive manner, "Are you speaking Spanish?

I am teaching ASL class at Lighthouse Elementary School. The class is composed of children in grades 2-4. A reporter is observing my class to write an article in the newspaper. She waits for my class to be done before interviewing some students including myself. The reporter approaches this cute little spunky girl and me. The girl and I are talking with an interpreter. The reporter speaks to introduce herself. The interpreter lags slightly behind because the interpreter has to process what the reporter is saying into sign language. The little girl notices this and blurts out, "My teacher can't hear you. Her ears are broken. So you have to talk REALLY.....SLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW so her interpreter can keep up." 

I used to nanny for a family with a Hard of Hearing boy. His parents felt it was a great idea to have a Deaf baby-sitter for their boy to look up to. A, HOH boy, had hearing aids to help him to "hear" things in his environment. One night, A and I were watching TV while rest of younger kids were in the bed, and his parents arrived. I stood up to greet his parents. A's mom turned to A and started signing while speaking to him. A was very intensely into the TV show. He turned off his hearing aid while his mom was speaking to him and he quickly blurted out (signing and speaking at the same time), "Sorry Mom! I can't hear you! I am watching TV!" A's mom turned to me and looked at me then we both blurted out laughing. Nice use of Deaf card, eh?

More often than not, kids do ask me if I am able to hear things. They are always so surprised to learn that I do have some hearing left. Then they hear me laugh. They get excited and say, you make noises too! The kids ask me blunt questions. They are not afraid if their questions are off the wall odd, crazy, or random. Sometimes, their parents give me an apologetic look for so many questions that their child is asking. I always smile and say No worries, it's fine. Personally, many questions kids ask me are out of innocence and pure curiosity. They are learning and to meet a Deaf person is pretty cool for them. I enjoy it when random kid comes up to me and ask me to teach him/her how to fingerspell their name. Kids don't view Deafness as a strange condition to be avoided. Instead, they view a Deaf person with a fascination and million questions are running through their heads. So parents....let your kids ask and do not worry whether the questions are "rude". 

Trust me, most questions are hilarious and we take it in a good stride. ;) It is all good.