Thursday, August 8, 2013

If A Tree Falls....

I'm not one to dwell on the things that my children with disabilities can't do. Rather, I focus on and share constantly with others all the things they can do. But every so often, I go to that place that makes me wonder - do my children themselves see their disabilities as a negative force in their lives? The subject I visited last night as I drifted off to sleep was the land of sounds.

My two Deaf children will never hear the sounds that evoke such strong feelings and memories in my life - a train whistle, waves crashing on the beach, wind blowing in the trees just before a summer storm, a tea kettle whistling, a bird's song, or the sound of cicadas calling for their mates, for example. It seems so much of my past life and memories are wrapped around sound as well as all my other senses. Ronnie can't include sounds in his memories, and Ashley is unable to include sounds or sights in hers. Do they feel they are missing something? Does it make them sad? Or, are their memories molded by other things, things that are equally as strong as mine which do include sight and sound?

There are some wonderful and necessary accommodations that can be made for the Deaf and Blind - doorbells that flash lights, alarm clocks that shake beds, bumps on paper to make words. But how does one accommodate for the sound of a waterfall or the vision of a V-shaped flock of geese in the sky? There is, of course, sign language to explain sounds - a barking dog or a police siren, for example. But what to these signs mean to a Deaf person? If I sign 'dog bark loud', does Ashley understand what loud is?

The questions in this post are mostly rhetorical, and just musings of my sleepy mind. But I wonder, do my children feel they are missing something in their lives because they can't see or hear, or are their lives equally rich and built upon their own realities of ability....????

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