I was chatting with a deaf friend yesterday. She was raised oral and learned to sign when she was nineteen. She regrets her parents never used ASL and is impressed with how I raise my son. Somehow the conversation came to ordering from a fast food restaurant. I was laughing about how I some parents in the past had told me they wanted their children to be able to order from a fast food restaurant. This was always in reference to speech. My reply is I have never met a deaf person who can't order food but many who have trouble reading "War and Peace".
Then she tells me when she was young she would order a hamburger and end up with a chicken sandwich. Her speech skills were such that people couldn't understand her. I was startled. I told her how we have had Haddy order from restaurants from the age of three. She thought I should share this on my blog. So here it goes.
When we would go to a restaurant we would read the menu to him. When the waiter took out order he would point to what he wanted. At a fast food restaurant we would write a note for him and hand him the money. We taught him to look at the amount on the register. If we needed a to go box at a pizza place we sent him to get it. He would point to his ear and sign box. He never came back empty handed. This was how we did it until he could write then he was on his own. Often friends or relatives would want to jump in and help him. I stopped them and they were surprised at how well he did.
When we went grocery shopping we made a list for him with words and pictures. We gave him money and he paid himself. At the age of three the list maybe had five items. The hardest thing was explaining tax.
So there you go. He can order from a restaurant and read "War and Peace". He read it last year as a sixth grader. He tells me it was "OK".