Sunday, June 10, 2007


So, before I got my credential, I worked as a teacher's aide at CHIME Charter elementary school -- a school with full inclusion as its philosophy and model (with one exception: students that were deaf were given small group instruction in the mornings).

Well, one day, the student I supported wasn't there, so I was watching the rest of the kids at lunch. Several of the kids that were deaf joined the table where I was hanging out with some kindergartners, and one introduced himself.

Very, very rapidly.

Like...very, very, very rapidly. Warp 10. Fingers blurring into what I knew were letters, but God help me if I could follow them.

Now, I know some sign, but that was WAY too fast for me, and I haltingly told him so. Being an eight year old boy, and typical in every other way, he tried one more time and went about his day -- 'cause, really, who wants to chat with a teacher at lunch?

This little girl smiled when I asked her name (she was in kindergarten or first grade at the time) and slowly signed, very deliberately, signed L-E-A-H. Then she told me the other boy's name as well.

Fast forward to today -- in January, it'll have been (yikes!) five years since I worked there. A few months ago, my TiVo recorded a show called Signing Time as a recommendation and who should I see but Leah!

My TiVo also has various disability-specific wishlists, and it recorded a show called Profiles in Caring, about Leah and her family over night. (Streaming video here.)

Leah's little sister, who was...oh, I'd say maybe 2 1/2 the last I saw a big girl, talking away as Leah and her sister (Lucy) arm wrestle. Leah's mom discreetly asks Leah to let Lucy (who has cerebral palsy as well as spina bifida) win, and Leah does.

Leah looks to be about 9 or 10, I'd say, but she's clearly the same thoughtful, nice little girl I knew way back when.

So...go buy Signing Time for a once-upon-a-time buddy of mine. :-)

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