Have you heard about the disease: Rubella? I bet that you may be curious, do your research on Rubella. (Yes, I did my research about Rubella.)
Since my mother realized that Rubella was the only cause during her pregnancy progress, she did not get the shot for her at that time. Disappointed. Upset. Blame.
My mother felt guilty that she did not think about taking the shot, but she learned her mistakes and went on to take care of me…
…The Confusing Choices…
In a few weeks later, my mother got a call from the social worker about arranging a meeting. She was uncomfortable to hear that I was labeled as a “special needs” child since the social worker explained this to her over the phone. You know, that was just happening in 1975. Most social workers were not sure how to effectively communicate to the parent what their child could require as a “special needs” individual.
In Alameda County School District Building, my parents, social worker, and special education program coordinator discussed options about meeting my needs and prepare for future schools for me. They talked about providing sign language class for my parents, it was free. So the coordinator encouraged that learning sign language could help us to communicate with each other better. Also, my parents considered to give me the hearing aids in order to help me to hear anything. Social worker warned them that all hearing aids were not 100% successful to help me hear. She also suggested that when I got my hearing aids, I attend speech therapy. My mother expected me to take the speech therapy three times per week. The Special Education Program coordinator recommended that I start with sign language first, because it was my first language.
After the meeting was over, my parents spoke with each other and discussed the confusing choices. My mother was very disappointed that I was labeled as a “special needs” child, because it was an offensive label. My father agreed with her, it was not right to call me a “special needs” child. It was an insult to my parents. My mother and father were overwhelmed and thinking too much about the choices between hearing aids technology, speech therapy, sign language class, and schools.
…An Ugly Sign Language…
In the sign language class, my parents learned basically on how to use sign language alphabets (A –Z) and then the numbers (1-10). That was great experience for them, they continued to take this for practical reasons. But… I have to tell that this is going to a huge ugly sign language. Let me introduce an ugly sign language named – Signing Exact English. It was created by hearing people, they invented new manual communication system for sign language. It started in the 1970s.
“Signing Exact English (SEE-II, sometimes Signed Exact English) is a system of manual communication that strives to be an exact representation of English vocabulary and grammar. It is one of a number of such systems in use in English-speaking countries. It is related to Seeing Essential English (SEE-I), a manual sign system created in 1971, based on the morphemes of English words. SEE-II models much of its sign vocabulary from American Sign Language (ASL), but modifies the handshapes used in ASL in order to use the handshape of the first letter of the corresponding English word. The four components of signs are handshape (static or dynamic), orientation (the direction of the palm), location (where the sign is performed relative to the body), and movement (trajectory shape, trajectory size, direction of motion, and planar orientation) – Signing Exact Engligh.
SO, my parents did not know an ugly sign language but they learned this… this… Sighs.
..Stay Tuned for next episode of Living My Silent Life: Part Four..