I have two families that come to my Toddler Talking class in Glenfield that either one parent is Deaf or both are.
Both mums are lovely and I wanted to get their stories but one is very very shy and the other has had time away due to illness but is back again but what i though I would do is explain from my point of view and how I have found the classes benefit their hearing children as well as the mums as well.
Both mums are very different one is very shy and didn't come for a few weeks as even though the sessions are using sign and I include her as much as I can during the social time she still felt isolated as she was unable to lip read every one. Luckily she let me know this which I felt was a very brave thing to do and what it did was make me awear of her feelings and so I was able to turn this around.
Our families are lovely and so after a few weeks of this lovely lady came back as her son likes the class and helping me unload my kit from the car we also have a good signing session etc prior to the class and then the other mums in the social time were encouraged to communicate with her which they loved as it helped their signing skills also. The thing is with some hearing people they are shy to sign and communicate as they feel their skills are not brilliant, then a deaf person can feel isolated and it all just needs someone to understand.
now the other mother lip reads and is able to talk and only learned to sign her self as a adult as she was not taught to sign she was taught to lip read which she explained was very hard growing up in school but that is a different story.
This lady is very sociable and has no problem interacting with the group. In fact next week If they both come I will see if we can have some interacting social time fun.
So how does this all help the children well its simple, they learn to put words to the signs they already know, they hear the word clearly as well as see the sign and can link it all together.
One child was a late signer for some reason, both parents were wondering why as they are both Deaf although mum can make sounds its not always understandable, she told me that he did his first sign after a TinyTalk class and dad was so very very happy.
So there you go that surprised me too. Also taking the child to a place that all are trying to learn the communication meathod mum and or dad use that not many people know of is really nice. They will probably learn a regional variation as TinyTalk we take the easiest BSL sign from around the country as we have variations in sign the same as we do in speech such as toilet or is it the loo or WC or lavatory or the more vulgar names we have, same in BSL there are many signs for the toilet. But learning regional variation is still good as when they go to school and lots are starting to use signing systems for those with communication skills it will be easier to adjust to a different sign such as Makaton a signing system in the UK based on BSL but used for special needs children.
Using signs and gestures will help every parent and baby to communicate to their child before speech if able and also if they are born Deaf too which I have covered in the past as I also have a little girl in my class who can hear now but was born profoundly Deaf, her mum came to my classes as early as she could and learned all the starter core signs that were important to the day to day life of a baby, mum didn't know any BSL then and found it hard to know what to do and this helped in those first months of life having somewhere to go and start her learning of a language even though it is not full BSL it was a stepping stone to learning the language. Now this lovely little girl has cochlear implants and can hear when wearing them but I was told she takes them off for bath time etc so the signing is still really useful then and also when she is tied and had enough the little girl takes them off then bless her.
So it is good for all and uniting people and the community as well. I really enjoy my Toddler Talking class as it is now as I have two Deaf mums and also the little girl all in this class as well as many hearing families that most came with tiny babies that just dont want to leave. The Toddler talking session encourages speech but we still demonstrate the sign so again it helps with lip shapes as well as signing so for instance if the beautiful little girl was not wearing her aids she could look at the mouth movement whilst learning the sign also and it all links in with the EYFS.
Back to the mums though as this class really has helped the shy mum feel as part of a group, it has taught me also to communicate with the mums more see how they feel etc, as a mum myself I was always and still am shy when trying new groups etc and I seem to forget this as have been teaching TinyTalk for 5 years now, I forget how shy I was going to classes partaking etc as with being a teacher you have to act pretend you are not shy but going to another session I am very shy indeed though folk tend not to believe me any more.
I am really pleased I have made good friends also and that all these families continue coming to my sessions and I will try and get the points of view from a family or two in the near future.
I am a mother of 4, teach baby signing and also BSL level 2 qualified, love TKD and much more.