Jan and Scott are good examples of parents who allow their limitations in signing to interfere with their roles as parents. Jan is cheerful, outgoing, and respectful of other people. Scott is more withdrawn; at social gatherings he is inclined to stay in the background while his wife mingles. They have a seven-year-old deaf daughter named Kate and a six-year-old hearing daughter named Kristen. Their expectations of the two girls are remarkably different. After a presentation by a deaf person to a group of parents of deaf children, Jan and Scott watched the girls socializing in the crowd. Kristen was expected and even prodded by her parents to say hello to people and tell them something about her school activities or what she was doing with her spare time. Her parents kept an eye on her and often joined her in conversation while she skimmed in and out of this linguistically rich social activity.
The treatment of the deaf daughter contrasted sharply with that of her hearing sister. Scott kept an eye on Kate, asking now and then if she wanted a cookie or a drink. (cookie is the first sign many parents learn, perhaps during snack-time when the parent educator comes to visit. Eager to use their newfound signing skills, they ask, "Danny, you cookie?" We are waiting for the day when Danny looks up quizzically and replies, "Gee, no Mom, I am not a cookie." But let's not get sidetracked.)
Return to book and ordering information