Kai signing Dad or Da Da as he calls him.
(Sometimes that poor kid looks like pigpen, his mom should really put a clean shirt on him, brush his hair and wash his face every now and then)
There is just a sweetness about Kai, he is so easy to love. He turned 4 this month!
This morning Kai woke up and said "Dad, drive to work. Mom, stay home. Kai go to school, it's good. Bei goes to school." Or I should correct that and say he "signed" it all to me. I felt like we were having a conversation this morning. His sign language is developing and he is becoming so comfortable signing. Today, his therapist turned to me and asked how to sign mouse, I didn't quite remember but I was looking at Kai and saw him sign mouse. He is learning more ASL than myself and retains it really well. ASL is definitely becoming his primary mode of communication. I requested that the teachers at Auditory/Oral school begin to sign with him. There was a some push back by the teachers because they are an oral only school, but the Principal who is Hard of Hearing (HOH) said that it was important that they meet Kai where he is at. We agreed upon 40 words that they would teach him by the end of the school year. I just counted in his booklet that they have already taught him over 50 words, not including the alphabet which he is still learning, along with counting. Another little boy just started at Kai's school who also had no expressive language but signs, so it makes me wonder how and if their curriculum will begin to change to start accommodating the needs of the kids in the district. The positive of the ASL is that I think that it has provided a visual cue for Kai to help with his speech. We see much more babbling and words emerging. He will sign brown and say a word very close to brown. He says the word off pretty well too.
One of the frustrating things in the Deaf Community is that the schools are either all Oral (like Kai's) or they are voice off Deaf Schools. That means if Kai went to the Metro Deaf School where they sign ASL, all day he would basically be in silence. I really appreciate the fact that Kai's oral school is accommodating him. He LOVES school! Everyday I ask him by signing, how was school. Every day he signs, "Good". I haven't taught him the sign for bad yet, because I'm not stupid people. If there is only one option, then everything is always roses!
I am learning about the Deaf Culture and a few of the more interesting points is that the Deaf Culture is very tight and they are very loyal to one another. They are willing to go above and beyond for a person in their group. Their idea of physical space is different than the hearing worlds. It is not uncommon to wave your hand in someone's face or touch someone's arm. I was in a class where the teacher grabbed my foot and shook it to get my attention. In the Deaf Culture independence is not valued as highly as it is in the hearing world. Needing friends and family is much more acceptable in their world. I've also learned that it is really tiring to have to work at listening all day. That many HOH kids who are mainstreamed work extremely hard to fit in academically and socially. That faking it and pretending to hear every thing said is common among children. There is so much for me to learn yet. Kai is doing fantastic and I am pleased with his progress.