Hearing vs. Deafness, this is a subject most don’t think about until they have to. I also was guilty of not knowing the difference. That all changed six years ago when my son, Zy’Kheus, was a year and a half old and was not speaking any words. (Even something simple like “ma ma”. ) Zy-Kheus consistently had double ear infections and the pediatrician would only give him medicine which didn’t seem to improve his condition. After seeking out an ENT on my own, I was told what his problem was. Since his ears were filled with fluid, his hearing was like going under water to listen to someone. The problem was discovered. My son is considered now deaf and has a device to help him hear. We started him in speech therapy.
Zy’Kheus ended up with a great speech therapist. This is were I discovered my interest for sign language. My son picked up sign very quickly and signed quite well (he still does). After learning a few signs myself, I decided to learn more and signed up for classes in 2008. Being around Deaf people opened up a whole new world and for me a new way of thinking. Since joining sign classes and being around Deaf people, I now understand and know so much more about my son’s situation. I am overjoyed to be a part of this community.
Now I have another dilemma. My daughter, Za’Ryah who is 18 months and is not speaking many words. She is due to have her speech and hearing tested later this month. My issue is with the comments people are making. I have been teaching her to sign since birth. Now I keep hearing from some people that sign language is getting in the way of her speech. I know this is incorrect, but those in the hearing world sees it differently. I will not stop teaching my daughter a language she can use to communicate. How can I ease some of the pressures of others with their comments of non-understanding that ASL is a language?
I look forward to all of you sharing.
Note from Louise: It is a pleasure when people who are friends to SIGNING FAMILIES ask to contribute a post so that others can learn different points of view or about resources. Zaneta’s blog is written from her heart and I thank her for this post.