Sunday, April 08, 2007


We had an interesting morning at church today. The church insisted on having the kids in service today, so they started the service 15 minutes early, then planne to send the kids to Sunday School after "children's time." This meant I had to have Joey in a huge crowd of people (Its EASTER, people!) and then have him sit in front of all those people and try to participate in an activity before going to Sunday school. What a great idea... not.

Fortunately, Joey performed beautifully. There were too many people in the service, so we set up camp in the vestibule. Fortunately, the nursery was open, so Andy got an extra few minutes to play. There was NO WAY he would be able to deal with that many people all at once. Joey wanted to go up and see the instruments, so we ran up the side aisle. Our service has a deaf couple with an interpreter in teh front row; Joey reached the front and the intepreter was there signing, and stopped, fascinated. He had me hold him for a while to hear and bounce to the music, and watch the signing, and he was such a happy little child. When we ran back to the vestibule, it was packed with people; no longer a quiet escape from the crowd. Yet, Joey did not meltdown; instead, he started barking like a dog and tracking the lines in the floor. We got some funny looks, but since he was managing to control himself and make himself comfy, I was prety proud of him.

So Children's Time came at last, and up we went. We sat towards the back of the crowd of children, in front of our deaf friends. The children's pastor had the kids sing a song; I wasn't familiar with it, but JOey was trying hard to sing along, so they must have been teaching it in Sunday School. Of course, his procesing problems meant he remained a verse and half behind, and he was getting frustrated; he knew the others were ahead of him. He sat in my lap and tried, though; I am SO proud of him! And then the amazing thing happened.

The deaf lady caught his attention, and was signing the song to him; and he tried to sign back, and sang along.

The whole visual thing just struck me, then and there. I know Joey is highly visual, and learns best with visual cues and aids. TV is a great boon for us. He just loves the idea of reading. He's a very visual person. But to see him able to process the visual cues so much faster, and actually keep up... I am going to spend some time this afternoon looking for signing classes. It would be such a simple way to help him keep up with the conversation, to be able to give him those visual cues. I know he'll need to get on in the world without signs, but he also will need to keep up with work and lessons, and having a way to help him not lose that ground has to be worth something.

1 comment:

Club 166 said...

Good for Joey for doing so well.

And props to you (and your deaf friend) for picking up on the fact that he likes (and can focus on) signing. This may open up whole new worlds for you and Joey.

I had a 40 year old cousin with Down's syndrome who died last year. She probably qualified (in retrospect) for a co-diagnosis of autism, as she flapped a lot, was minimally verbal, never into making eye contact, and communicated much better thru signing than with her minimal echolalic speech.

I always used to think about how the world treated her as "dumb", yet she had mastered another language that few around her new.