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The Protagonists We Love #4
When sign language brings people close
“What do you mean showing it with your fingers?” Grandma Rosa asked.
“I found a website for hearing impaired people, and it explains how they can talk to each other without words. There is a sign for every letter and number that they can make with their hands. We can learn the signs together, and when you can’t hear the sound, I can show it you,” Sandra smiled happily.
“Oh, I think that’s a wonderful idea, Sandra,” Grandma’s eyes sparkled with excitement. “But it looks a little difficult. Do you think I could learn the signs?”
“Of course, you can, Grandma, we can learn them together. You couldn’t hear it well when I said mouse and house because you couldn’t tell the difference between the letter M and H, right?”
“Yes, that’s right,” Grandma Rosa replied.
“What if I show you the sign for the letters that each word starts with? Would it help?”
“Yes, I believe it would.”
“Awesome,” Grandma Rosa clapped. “I couldn’t hear the letter M, but when you showed the sign, I knew you must be saying mouse.”
One day, when they learned to sign every letter of the alphabet, Sandra started putting the letters together. “Look, Grandma, we can say words with our hands when we make the signs in the correct order,” Sandra said excitedly and signed the word mouse with her hand.
Sandra noticed a boy who was sitting by himself looking at his tablet, “Who is that boy?” she asked her friends. “He’s sitting by himself. Let’s invite him to play with us.”
“He’s stupid,” Peter, Sandra’s friend said. “He’s the new kid in my friend’s class, and he says this kid is deaf as a doorknob and when he tries to talk he sounds like a cat when someone steps on its tail.”
“How can you say that? You’re so mean! Just because he can’t hear, it doesn’t mean he’s stupid. My grandma can’t hear well, and she’s very smart,” Sandra shouted angrily.
Peter shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t care, let’s play on the swing.”
“I can’t believe what you said, Peter. I don’t want to play with you.” Sandra stood up, walked over to the boy and stood in front of him. “Hi,” she said, but although the boy must have seen her, he didn’t look up from his tablet.
Sandra took a step closer and tapped his shoulder. When the boy looked at her, she saw sadness in his eyes. Sandra smiled at him and started signing,
Sandra introduced him to her friends and told them that Thomas understands what they’re saying if they speak slowly, and he can see their lips. Soon, they were chatting away happily and having fun learning sign language.
Thomas showed them the signs for words such as boy, girl, cat, bicycle, and swing. The children learned the signs fast, and when Peter joined them he said, “You’re not so bad Thomas, wanna be friends?”
“Yes, I would like that, but you don’t mind that my voice sounds funny?” Thomas replied wearily, afraid that Peter would make fun of his voice.
“Your voice is fine,” Peter assured him, “It sounds like you have an accent like my mom’s friend. She’s from Romania, and I love the way she talks.”
“Okay, so I have a ‘hearing impaired’ accent. That’s cool!” Thomas smiled.
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