History and a language lesson

I always knew I wanted to work with deaf kids. The idea began when I was a kid in girl scouts.

(Side story: My mother made me be a girl scout growing up and I hated it. Except for the cookies. I loved love GS cookies. However, I was very sad to see a flier for Daisy girl scouts in the stuff from Simon’s K-roundup. I’m never gonna get a girl but if I do, she’s totally gonna be a girl scout.)

Um, where was I again? I clearly remembering watching with interest and amazement as an older deaf girl scout communicated using sign with her mother. It was like watching a secret. The emotion! The hands! What were they saying? I wanted to know in the worst way. So I eventually made it to KU where I graduated with a degree in elementary education and a minor in deaf education.

I now work with deaf kids but I don’t work with the typical deaf kid. I work with auditory, oral deaf kids. Kids that are deaf but can hear through cochlear implants. And so basically I spend my days teaching deaf kids to talk without the use of sign language.

All that to say: this might lead one to think that my very own baby, who doesn’t even have a hearing loss, would be speaking in full sentences by now. You know, cause his Mama’s a teacher who teaches deaf kids to talk.

Except he’s not.

Language can be broken down into two categories: expressive language and receptive language. Expressive language is the language that one can say or what can be expressed. Expressive language is talking. On the other side, receptive language is what one receives and understands. Receptive language is hearing. It is completely normal for toddlers to have a large receptive language and a small expressive language. Eventually the expressive catches up with the receptive and kids begin saying everything they already understand.

Bennett’s expressive language?  Mama, Daddy, duck, ook (with a point), more, dink (drink), Mimmm (Simon), hi, bye, ball, uh-oh, car, truck, bus, whoa, ouch, diaper and unt-uh (with a head shake no).

See also: sideways video

Bennett’s receptive language? HUGE. The kid knows everything. Seriously, ask the kid a question and he can follow through. Where’s your nose, tummy, diaper, arm, hands, feet? Go put this in the kitchen, bathroom, crib. Where’s your blankie, ball, pacy, truck, book, diaper, tshirt, cup, shorts, car? Where’s Daddy? Simon, Lizzy, Noah? Are you sleepy? Do you wanna take a bath? Sit down. Stand up. Get in your seat. Give it to Simon. Go get a diaper. Let’s go outside. Stop. Are you all done?

It’s like he’s the smartest, non-talking baby ever.

Maybe he’ll want to grow up and work with deaf kids too. I’m guessing he’ll work with the kids that sign though.


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