I rambled off my usual reply that he was born deaf but has no real limitations. He is very happy at the arts school, we use ASL, a lot of folks don't but it works well for us.....blah, blah, blah. As I spoke about my son I was maybe showing a little pride ( I try not to but it may slip out a bit) I saw her eyes slightly well up. She looked very fragile all of the sudden and then she told me something I couldn't have guessed.
Her granddaughter is deaf. Her granddaughter is deaf and doesn't sign. She thought the school she was attending was teaching her to sign but she just found out it is an oral program. She uses hearing aides but still misses a lot. They don't have in depth conversations so when I gave her an example of what a conversation might look like with my son she became sad. Today my son wanted to debate health myths. He tells me research shows you don't need 8 glasses of water a day, TV does not kill brain cells and people shouldn't sleep too much. I don't imagine this woman would be able to do this with her grand daughter. She showed me an example of her conversations and I got a wee bit uncomfortable.
She tells me the teachers at her granddaughter's school suggested other placement since she is behind academically and not progressing with her speech. The director of the district program disagreed so she will not be moved. I felt the urgent desire to help this child. After giving grandma some ideas and information I found out the parents have little support and at times don't follow through. The more I listened the more helpless I felt. Grandma wants to learn to sign but the classes are expensive and her schedule doesn't fit. I told her they could move near the state school and get more services. She didn't respond. We moved for our kids so it seems natural for me but not all families have that luxury.
This child is 8 years old. Her family doesn't sign and she has "a few signs". She is behind academically and does not communicate in depth with others. Her family is not a tribe of advocates. I felt helpless knowing what I know. I wish I could turn back time and take my foot out of my mouth. I wish I would of just replied, "Yes, he is deaf".