My son auditioned last week for a play at his school. The school he attends is an arts and academic school so the competition is stiff. Tonight he was asked to go to a call back. I was really proud of him for going for it and making it that far. The audition is from 5:30-8:30. The directer told me since he was a sixth grader he could leave at 7:30. I dropped him of at 5:30 and the interpreter hadn't arrived yet so I stepped in. In the past and out side of this school I am a bit of a barracuda when it comes to interpreters but this school is different. They made the last minute request to the district today so I didn't mind stepping in. I already seen they have no intention here of pushing him aside and have made every effort to accommodate him.
So we walk in to the rehearsal space and it is silent. Maybe 30 kids all stretching on the floor at random. Hayden looks around and says , "Mom there are no 6th graders here. " I looked around and saw all these big kids most from high school stretching like a scene from Chorus Line. At this point I am nervous. If I was an 11 year old in a room full of high school kids all stretching into pretzels I would have fainted. He just sat down cool as a cucumber looking like he was the little boy who was supposed to be sitting here. The interpreter arrived during roll call so I bailed.
I came back at 7:30 and peeked through the window just like I used to do when he was in preschool. I saw my son beaming active in a rehearsal with a bunch of older kids. The directer saw me and ran over. She asked if he could stay, she said he was really having fun. So I came back at 8:30. The kids came pouring out , I heard comments like their eyes were tired and that was long. the all were laughing and it was obvious they had fun. No sign of Hayden......I walk in the room and there is my son asking questions to the directer. She looks over and asks if he could come again tmw. They would really love to have him. Kids were coming up to me asking me to tell him he was so awesome. He would return a sweet smile, "thank you, thank you". I often wonder where he came from and how the heck did we get picked to raise him.
As we walk to the car he is bubbling over with this excited energy he gets when he does something he loves. It is just a sort of elevated glow. Then he turns to me and says it really sucks he can't make fart noises with his arm....he has been practicing that life skill all week.
About 10 years ago.....
This may sound crazy but I would tell any parent who wants to help their deaf child they need to show them Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaten movies. The comedy is all physical and helps them read people. Hayden also learned how to use his body to communicate more by copying the gags. Trust me on this it sounds nuts but Charlie helped build my son's confidence.
When he was three he wanted to be Chaplin for Halloween. The tailors at my work created a spot on costume for him. His friends that we went out with that night were Buzz Light Year and some other Disney type characters. They were all so cute. I was worried he would have trouble saying trick-or-treat. Even though I always pushed him to go out and be independent I was often really nervous for sweet little boy.
He figured out that Chaplin doesn't talk. So he would do this little gesture with his bag. At one house this old woman comes to the door who of course has no idea what Buzz Light Year is. She sees Hayden and yells, " John, come quick, Charlie Chaplin is at the door!" The man came and they asked to take a picture. Hayden busts out the full Chaplin walk twirling his cane and wiggling his mustache. He always seems to give these little gifts without knowing it.
Acting was also a tool we used for literacy. We would read classic fairy tales with him then act out the stories as a family.It was just one of many tools we learned along the way. He has a love for books and story telling that is not common even among hearing children.