Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Interpreter Dilemma

From very early on in her school career, Whitney has had an interpreter assigned to her.  Her interpreter stays with her throughout the school day and signs what's being said in the classroom.  It takes a lot of patience and dedication.  We know that Whitney divides her attention between the interpreter and her actual teacher who is speaking to understand what's going on in class.  But she's always used a mix of what's being spoken and what's being signed to pick up on everything.

This past school year we've started working with an assistive speech device (An iPad with special software) instead of encouraging Whitney to sign. Our hope is that this will increase the amount of people who can understand Whit.  The other side of that equation is the need for Whitney to hear and understand more without having someone sign it to her all the time.  So Melanie and I have decided that Whit can go without an interpreter assigned to her in class this fall in 4th grade.  This may be an adjustment at first, but there will still be others in class who can sign to her if she doesn't pick up on something.  And we're hoping this will help her to focus on who is speaking a little more.

But it's been a really hard decision to make.  We will really miss the wonderful, dedicated people who have worked so hard with Whit over the years on understanding sign and consequently understanding the world around her.  And it's been part of Whitney's classroom routine for years now.  I think ASL will always be a part of our home and family.  But I think it's really time for Whitney to listen and to speak.  Melanie and I believe she's capable of both.  I guess it's just finally time to take the plunge.  I'll be sure to let everyone know how she does.  We've already been practicing more with the the iPad at home.  I think it's going to help this young lady to better speak her mind.


Genevieve Ross said...

Just getting caught up on your blog- I love the razor story. If Whit had been hurt it wouldn't be so funny but since she wasn't it is pretty darn funny. I especially laughed at the fact that she put it back in place like she didn't do anything wrong! I love how her mind works.

We are also leaning more toward/ putting more effort into Ipad communication with Zoe. The problem with sign language is that other people can not understand her. Also, due to Zoe's limited fine motor skills, her signs are very difficult for anyone outside the family to understand them. Even people who know sign language get confused. We will still use signs with Zoe but we are going to put more effort into augmentative communication and not focus on learning more signs. Although if it is up to Ailsa- we will all be fluent. It is amazing how many signs she has picked up!

Are you guys going to conference this year? Sadly, we will not be able to make it this year. But we hope to make it next year.

Take care,

Nate said...

Genevieve, it's really good to hear from you. I know you guys have had a rough year and I hope things are beginning to improve. We're in the same boat with the conference. In fact, we haven't made it to a 1p36 conference since the one we held here in Salt Lake. It's just too expensive to travel that far with a family of five. If there's ever one held farther west, we could do a road trip but air travel for all the Hansons is pretty pricey! However, we love keeping in contact with all of our friends on the internet. Please give Zoe and Ailsa big hugs from us. All the best! Nate