Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Grocery Store Rant

Yesterday Connor and I played pretty hard. Now that he's standing with support, there are a lot of roughhousing sorts of games we can play that we weren't able to before. He and I did "superjumps" all up and down the hall yesterday-- you know, where your child jumps and you lift them up at the same time so it feels like they're jumping super high. Connor is a big fan of that game now, and it's good for him. Any time he's using those muscles, he's improving his strength, control, and balance. If we can make it feel like a game, that's even better.

We took a quick trip to the grocery store, but otherwise it was an at-home day until the evening. The cashier at the grocery store made a comment about how it was great that I was signing, but that I didn't need to "do it with her" because I could understand what she was saying. I didn't want to get into a big explanation in the grocery store line, but this has come up before, so I'll post my reasons here.

I know it looks kind of strange that I sign to hearing people. I know they can understand what I'm saying. I'm not signing for them. I'm signing so that Connor can understand at least half the conversation. If you think about it for a minute, it makes perfect sense. Those of you with kids probably have noticed that you have to watch what you are saying around them because even if it doesn't look like it, they are listening to your conversations with others. They learn all sorts of interesting words in these conversations-- oftentimes words you probably wish they hadn't. Nevertheless, every time you speak, they are subconciously learning rules about the English language.

Now, imagine that your child is Hard of Hearing or Deaf. If you are speaking to someone in the noisy grocery store and your faces are turned away from that child, they get nothing. Either they can't understand what you are saying at all, or what they are getting is full of holes and misheard words. If your child's only way to acquire language is when someone is speaking directly to them, they are going to miss out on a lot of learning opportunities.

That's why I try and use Signed Exact English whenever I'm speaking to anyone and I'm with Connor. It may be a little bit slower sometimes, and I'm not fast enough to interpret what the other person is saying for Connor yet, but he is getting at least half of the conversation, which is better than nothing. Connor has enough trouble as it is acquiring new language without adding in the HoH issue.

I'll get off my soap box now.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I know this is an old post. I wondered here by chance... Just wanted to say "Thank you". I am an adult (with a daughter of my own) who has a hearing loss. I'm impressed that you understand so easily and early about the need to sign in front of Connor, even when talking to hearing people. Especially in those early years when you were one of the only people signing to him... the most access to language he had, the better. Anyhoo. I understand. And I am incredibly grateful that you do too :-)

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