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Inner Lives of Deaf Children Interviews and Analysis

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I proceed to tell Lisa’s mother about the theater class where I first met Lisa and how we had done a scene from a play. As we are talking, Lisa peeks around the corner at her mom, trying to stay out of our sight. Lisa tells her mother that she doesn’t remember me. Mom asks me what were the signs from the play. While her mother repeats the words for Lisa to see, Lisa laughs at her.

Soon afterwards she makes up her mind to come into the room, but she stays a bit out of sight by hiding behind the coffee table on the floor. Although Lisa doesn’t remember me, or the theater workshop, she is slowly beginning to warm up and make eye contact with us. She still needs her mom there for a little while as she gains confidence in our ability to communicate and begins to trust me. I ask Lisa about her summer experiences, and she turns to her mother on several occasions for help in answering questions or reassurance that she can make herself understood.

As Lisa’s eye contact and comfort level increase, I suggest that perhaps we not use the camera just yet, and then she agrees to sit at the table with me. I let her see me put the lens cover on the camcorder and turn the power off, pointing the camera away from us. Then Lisa, her mother, the interpreter, and I all sit down at the table. Lisa’s mom is seated opposite her and the interpreter is seated opposite me, with Lisa and I sitting next to each other at a thirty-degree angle on connecting sides of the table.

When I ask Lisa if she can draw a picture for me of a deaf girl, she hesitates, saying she doesn’t know if she can. I think that she might not be comfortable drawing and tell her she doesn’t have to if she doesn’t want to. I ask if she wants to tell me a story about a deaf girl, or one about herself.

She is still hesitant, so I just start asking her questions about school, friends, and home. She says she goes to gymnastics twice a week and to soccer twice a week. Her gymnastics class is composed of other deaf and hard of hearing students. When I ask her how she understands what she is supposed to do on the soccer team and who explains to her, she says she doesn’t know and looks again at her mother for help in answering the questions. I ask her if the other girls help her and she gestures “so-so” with her hands. Voicing, she tells me her soccer team won the championship, but the interpreter and I do not understand her at first. When we do understand, I ask her if she knows that I am deaf too and that I don’t understand all the time because I can’t hear either.

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