I’m looking out at the great big blue pacific ocean. We are on our vacation, this time we headed south to Aptos. Our usual route is North to Mendocino. Its nice to be by the coast, to hear the waves crash, rumble below. I don’t want to get back into my car, I don’t want to see people or go to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. I just want to sit in the vacation house or sit on the beach.
My whole world became clearer last week. With our visit to CSD and connecting with a whole big world Of people who have gone through and understand everything I have been thinking and going through the past five years. Imagine, all this time, all the things I wrote and said about my daughter and sign language, only a couple of close friends understood, one deaf, two Fiona’s DHH teachers who believe in sign language, although they use SEE sign. But that was OK, it was amazing and I am so glad we had that support. But that’s it. And now I have confirmed what I’ve been saying all along, Fiona and my family need to know sign. Beyond that even Fiona’s best friends need to know some for times when hearing aids don’t work.
Yesterday when I picked up Jack at his preschool, Fiona and Jack ran ahead of me and opened the gate. The head teacher was in the play yard and told Jack and Fiona to come back in the gate and wait for me. When I got to the gate the head teacher started telling Jack and Fiona that it was very dangerous, they could get hit, they had to wait for me, ect. She was about 12 feet from us. Fiona stood there sucking her thumb and holding her tiny. I asked if she understood what the teacher said and she “no”. Fiona heard nothing. This teacher has been trained by Fionas itinerant teacher. This is the preschool Fiona has been attending two times a week getting ready for mainstream kinder. I couldn’t believe that the head teacher could still be oblivious that there was no way Fiona could hear any of that important safety information from that faraway. And through a gate.
Is the head teacher that oblivious she didn’t consider she was talking to a child who was hard of hearing?
Did she think Fiona could hear her?
Even after knowing Fiona for so many years?
How much is said at that school to Fiona that they think she understands/hears but really doesn’t?
And is it hears or understands? What terminology should I be using when describing these situations?
And if this still happens at this school, something like this would never happen at Fionas early intervention TC preschool, how likely is it to happen at her mainstream elementary?
Adults constantly talk to Fiona and think she’s ignoring them. I used to say, “she can’t hear you” or “she has hearing aids” , but I kind of stopped doing that lately.
Our drive to Santa Cruz was long, only because parts were packed with traffic, but Fiona is a great traveler. She keeps herself busy and doesn’t get car sick. I thought if she did choose to go to school where everyone is deaf/HH and uses sign I think a long bus ride might be ok for her? I think she could handle it.
I hope we can figure out a way to add the support/ education Fiona needs at our neighborhood school. I really do. But I want more people in her world to learn sign. I think they should pick some kids in her class to learn. I think there should be ASL education and support built into the day and classroom. I really think there should be support for the whole family to learn ASL. Maybe thats the movement. Because currently, from my experience and it sounds like most deaf/HH people and educators experience ASL is not accepted or encouraged in mainstream classrooms or in general. It makes no sense.
The waves just came back into my consciousness. Jack and Fiona are still asleep. I wish we could all use sign all day and have a quiet time by the ocean.