Tuesday, January 17, 2006

A Deaf Mentor?

My wife and I don't always see perfectly eye to eye on our daughter's care. She and I love our little one very much and work hard to do what's best for her. But sometimes deciding what's best is where things get sticky.

The local School for the Deaf and Blind where my daughter sees her audiologist has recommended that we get in touch with a Deaf Mentor. As my wife describes, this is someone who will come into our home on a regular basis to teach our family American Sign Language.

My feelings about this idea are very mixed and I'm not entirely sure why. My daughter is not deaf, and her hearing impairment isn't even what I would call severe. It is completely corrected by the use of hearing aids. It seems the use of sign language in our home would instead be used to make up for my daughter's seeming inability to speak. But I can speak to her and she understands. Is my opposition to this mentoring program really just because I don't want to give up on my child being able to speak to me?

My wife is right that our daughter will never learn sign if my wife and I don't learn it first and then teach it to our little one. But is this necessary? My wife even wants us to sign to each other. I suppose that would help my daughter pick up the signs faster, but it's sure to have a negative impact on communication with my wife too. I'm not sure why I'm resisting all of this so much, but I'm really having a hard time adjusting to this idea.

I know I'd do anything to be able to communicate with my daughter. Do I doubt that my daughter can learn sign? I just don't know...

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