We became accustomed to using American Sign Language(ASL) in our home. I don’t think twice about signing to Tristan out in public. I would often get a better response from Tristan when using ASL instead of verbal communication. In addition, I used ASL in my job at the local school in the special education classes. Children in the general education classes were familiar with ASL. I knew the rest of the population doesn’t communicate in ASL, and one day I was reminded of this.
On spring break, we took our family to an indoor water park. Tristan loves water play. However, he would get to the top of the water slide and decide not to go down. For some reason, this fearless boy would get nervous. Then he was up at the top one time, and he went down! However, at the bottom of this slide were two boys, probably around ages 6 and 8. They thought it would be funny to splash the person coming down at the very end of the slide. I quickly entered Mom/Teacher Assistant mode and began communicating with them in American Sign Language. They saw me, and I signed, “Stop.” Repeatedly. They looked at me, saw me motioning, and continued splashing Tristan. I thought to myself, they have no idea what I just said. This was an apparent communication failure.
At that moment, I was reminded that not everyone knows ASL! They probably thought I was some crazy lady at the indoor water park.
Enjoy another healthy dose of laughter from our home!
Check out this post on how I taught my non-verbal son American Sign Language!