Wednesday, February 17, 2010

But He Lives In A Hearing World , continued


"If you expect to have perfect children
you will be constantly disappointed
and your children
constantly frustrated
If you realize that your children
are perfectly themselves
in every moment,
you and your children
will be at peace

Step back and watch.
You will see that Life
naturally perfects itself"

William Martin
The Parent's Tao Te Ching

"but he lives in a hearing world"

"His family is hearing"

"He needs to learn how to survive in the hearing world and the hearing world talks"

" How will he get a job in the hearing world if he doesn't speak?"

Well yes, most of the world does hear. He also lives in a Chinese, blind, Hindu, republican, vegetarian, capitalist, mall shopping, fast food, pro wrestling world. The world is a big place and full of all kinds of diversity.

It always struck me as odd when I would talk with other parents. For the most part they seemed really concerned their deaf child would be isolated from the world and unable to get a job if they couldn't talk. Learning ASL floated to the bottom of the list.

Here is how I saw it. If a child has a first language from birth and social peers the chances are great they would be able to navigate the world and yes, find a job. Think about people you have worked with or interviewed for a position. Myself I have interviewed many people and there are some things that make it easy to pick a good candidate for a job.

Confidence is key. Not arrogance but confidence. A confident person makes people feel comfortable. They can easily engage all sorts of people and don't criticize to a fault.

Team player, someone who works well with others and can give and take information.

Critical thinker, someone who can problem solve and think on their feet.

Those a a few things I would look for and I am left to wonder how one acquires these traits. If a child is allowed to interact socially with peers they learn the rules and have the tools to express appropriate social behavior.

I was working with a hearing three year old who has no expressive verbal English. In order to interact with other child she was very physical. If she wanted to join a building game she would grab a block and push it towards her playmate. It was her way of asking to join in. The other child would get upset about the rough behavior and distance himself. She would retract and go to sit and watch the other children play.

What does this do for a child's confidence? While learning to sign she started to be able to engage more. Her peers were also learning to sign so the door of social interaction is opened. A child who has the ability to express themselves freely will engage in all sorts of creative play. This type of play involves negotiation and compromise. If a child doesn't have the language this sort of play can't happen.

For my son he needed peers who also were using ASL. He needed to learn complex rules to imaginary games and how to share and work together. In his early years he needed a deaf environment.

1 comment:

  1. Great post and very insightful. I'm always learning something new and look forward to your next blog.