“Air comes in, noise comes out” Said Jack
“What” Said Fiona
“I’m getting’ hungry for those ribs” said Alan.
“Nice and Crispy for me” Said Jack
“What” said Fiona again.
We were all siting in the living room watching Irish accordion players on T.V. Neither Jack nor Alan repeated what they said after Fiona said what. I wait now, I try to give everybody the chance to repeat what they said, so I’m not always telling Fiona what everyone has said. I do this a lot, but don’t think it’s the healthiest. I do it so much sometimes after I wait for a minute to see if the speaker will repeat what Fiona said “what” to, I forget if I told Fiona what the person said or not.
I sat on the couch and tried to remember if I did tell Fiona what they were talking about and I remembered I did.
A few minutes later we were talking about packing backpacks for summer camp. Jack asked if he could use his new backpack. Then Fiona asked if she could use her new backpack.
“No” I said. “Your backpack stinks like chemicals and it’s not going away. They spray stuff with chemicals, so it doesn’t get eaten by rats in the container ships from China.”
“Shipped in a container for my V——?” Said Fiona.
Situations like this occur at a regular interval, either something is said and it needs to be repeated or the words are all mixed up wrong that Fiona hears or I find out there’s a word I thought Fiona knew but doesn’t, like last night I found out she didn’t know the word spatula. This is another one of those words that I definitely thought she knew. Think about how many of these there are? To check and make sure I use the word spatula as much as I think I do I held a bunch of kitchen utensils in front of Jack, of course I always do these tests away from Fiona, and Jack immediately without hesitation pointed to the spatula.
This Sunday will be our fourth family ASL class. It’s been great. I notice after ASL class Fiona is eager for more sign language and auditory language. She wants more books read and last week we watched signed U-Tube videos of her favorite song, “Let it Go”! She wanted to watch it over and over again. I told her I will try to do this for more songs so she can learn the lyrics. I’m also going to practice reading stories in ASL. I’ve always known at Storytime there are so many words Fiona misses, which in turn makes it difficult to understand the concepts of some of the stories.
I’ve been moving forward, but I still can’t let go of my experience and fight over my wanting to use sign language with Fiona up until now. Also my distrust in Listening and Spoken language only. I want to write the Marin County Office of Education a letter explaining my experience. I looked up their DHH policy/services, and under Helpful Resources they have listed two government agencies, that offer financial help, and AG BELL! That’s it. Just AG (I like to add the f——) Bell. I can’t believe it. I randomly found the site, I’ve never looked at or even wondered what the county policy for Deaf education was, I thought it was a district issue. I feel a bit bad for always harping on my school district when it looks like the policy actually comes from the county! Sorry San Rafael School District!
The only reason I started to follow this lead is because I have been reading about some school districts that have wonderful programs that offer whatever the kids need. Including ASL! I guess on the positive note there seems to be a movement across the country for more ASL for DHH kids, even those with CI’s. There’s so much research now that prove that sign language is super beneficial to DHH kids with all levels of hearing. But we are very behind the trend around these parts.
The other silver lining is that now I am “woke” and my family is doing exactly what I always knew we needed to do. I’m glad we had the SEE sign, but Fiona is responding to ASL way better than she ever did with SEE. She will start in our neighborhood school, with an interpreter and we will see how it goes. I will be continuing my ASL studies in Berkeley in the Fall while Jack and Fiona are at school. It’s a two-year program, if by second grade Fiona is not enjoying mainstream, I’ll transfer her to another school with a trained Deaf Educator or I’ll homeschool her!