So we put her in deaf school and she was there for her 5th and 6th grade years. Although there were many good things about the situation there were equally as many bad things. I'm not going to get into all that but just needed to say that we decided to bring her home again. I missed being a part of "her world". So we are now living and breathing "Shelby-ville" everyday.
But doing that, I have discovered how poorly I sign after two years of not much practice. And I have discovered how little she really understands. She is a great actor! I watch her communicate with her friends on her VP (video phone) and when asked what they were talking about (I know because I was watching) she can't really give me an answer. She acts like she understands and keeps the conversation moving, but really misses a lot!
So thus began my determination to make sure she really understands what is going on. And of course she gets angry all the time at my questions. I now follow her to youth group at church and interpret for her. She is accepting it now and actually thankful I am there. And of course I am realizing I really need to brush up on my sign language, because she is suffering at my hand . . . literally. :)
Now in the back of my mind, I have been waiting patiently for the day that she would be able to pick up a book and read and learn. And after years of pushing reading and her diligent practice, she has a larger vocabulary, but still no comprehension. So reading is still not a way she is able to learn thru. I have never treated my daughter like she was handicapped. If she wanted to do something, we found a way for her to do it. She wanted to walk and run, so we watched as she did just that at a normal age. She wanted to draw and write, so we gave her pencils and she was able to hold a pencil correctly and write her name at the age of 2. She loved animals, so we introduced her to horses and bought her a special saddle to fit her little legs. She was riding at the age of 4 and moved on to participate in church rodeos, 4-H horse shows, and Isaiah's Place Equestrian Drill team. She loves music and has an amazing natural beat. She plays the piano beautifully and is now learning the violin. She loves books and we make plenty available to her. She loves to write and has copied large portions of the Bible for many years. She loves to be in the kitchen and can cook a wonderful meal for our family from scratch, from memory. She is diligently trying to learn to read cookbooks. Her love of animals brought her to show a pygmy goat this year at county fair and she has learned how to milk the big goats this year too. She is an amazing kid!
All that to say, that I've always expected her to do great things. And in that list of great things is read! We just celebrated her 13th brithday and she still just can't get above a 2nd grade level. Now like most deaf, there are underlying health issues. And this varies wide across the spectrum of health issues. Short Stuff is missing her myelin sheath (or her white matter) and the docs are quite sure how that will affect her learning. But we are discovering that it really slows down her ability to process information. Action learning she is great at, bookwork - not so much. So how has this child learned to read thus far? Basically she repeats a work over and over again until it passes into her gray matter and sticks. She is the most diligent worker I have ever met! So vocabulary she is getting, how a sentence goes together is a whole other matter!
Ok, moving on to where all this has brought me. I was listening to a CD yesterday about being a daughter of dignity. And the whole time that I am listening to it, I'm thinking, "Wow, I wish Short Stuff could listen to this!" So that gets me to thinking. We have some really good Bible stories in ASL, we even have the Bible in ASL, and there are sermons online in ASL. But where is the stuff in the middle? For teenagers?
Now my signing really stinks. But I am really wanting to get some of these great CD's translated for Short Stuff. And I figured while I am at it, why not make them available to other teens? I'm not sure how I am going to go about doing this. I know I need to get permission from the people who presented the CD's first. I also will need help with videorecording, interpreting, glossing, spreading the word, etc. So if this is something that interests you or if you know more than I do, please let me know.