Friday, May 30, 2008

My Deaf Weekend

Other than occasional times when Noah will notice an ASL conversation nearby or someone sees Noah's CI and approaches me, I don't pay particular attention to the hearing status of the people around me. This weekend was different.
On Friday Noah and I were at the mall when a man came up to us and shoved a paper in my hand. It said something like "I'm Deaf and I support myself by selling these ASL fingerspelling cards. Please give as much money as you can." I make it a rule not to hand out money to strangers unless I know what it'll be used for so I didn't buy his paper but it led to an interesting conversation. He eventually noticed that Noah responded to my signs close to Noah's face and not his 4-6 feet away. When he realized that Noah was deaf-blind he went away feeling sorry for him. I was struck that the seemingly intelligent and mentally stable adult supporting himself by begging for sales at the mall deserved more pity than my son. I don't know what Noah will accomplish, but it certainly won't be that.
Today we spent part of the afternoon at Noah's favorite place: King's Dominion (or as he calls it "Queen Dominion"). The difference today was that it was Deaf and Hard of Hearing Awareness Day. I was certainly aware of a lot of people that were using ASL, although I was disappointed that there weren't any other CI users (that I saw) or any information about oral language or CIs at the information tables set up. Maybe they should call it Deaf Cultural Awareness Day instead? I was afraid that Noah might be harassed by someone who is anti-CI (surely there was one person there somewhere!) but he was nice enough to cover himself from head to toe in vomit shortly after we arrived and overconfident mommy didn't bring an extra harness so he was CI free for most of our time. He switched easily to ASL, though (I assume because there were so many other people using it), so it didn't have a negative impact on his day. I had wanted to go to one of the interpreted show performances, but a rather nasty thunderstorm found us huddling in the build-a-bear store and we were about done for the day after that.
I'm intruiged by deaf adults. I try not to stare, but I'm sure sometimes I do - I want to take in as much as I can. We get a lot of stares too, and I don't mind. I know everyone's just jealous that I have the cutest sweetest 3 year old ever.


Anonymous said...

There probably were some CI users there..but you could not see them. Remember a BTE CI is just like a hearing aid and the coil part can be hidden under the hair.

Emily said...

Hmmmm.... Could be. I only even saw one person with hearing aids, though. Admittedly I wasn't staring at everyones ears as I was walking, but I did make an effort to look for CIs.