This post was written by one of our Summer Staff volunteers, Bethany, who is a sign-language interpreter from North Carolina. We're so thankful to her for her work with these two amazing little guys, and for the glimpses she offers into their world.
Normally I am in-between between people interpreting, but in my time here at New Day I get to have direct input. I've had to really reach outside of myself to do this, because I'm not normally a teacher.
I have daily one-on-ones with both Josiah and Gideon, and also time with them together. I sign with them the whole time. I'm with them in preschool, for example, signing the calendar-time, signs to describe shapes and colors, signing the words to songs, signing about snack-time. Any time there is communication, I am signing.
It's so important for them to learn sign language alongside learning speech because without a language, you can't learn how to say a word correctly. The whole time they have been at New Day, the teachers have been working diligently with them to make sure that they are able to express themselves. It's because of this foundation that I'm able to do what I'm doing now.
Josiah is such a fun-loving adventurer, who is ready and willing to learn and communicate with anyone.
Gideon is more reserved, but he has hidden treasure once he trusts you.
My greatest joy has been learning how they are different but also how they are similar, and how to use that to their advantage. I am getting them to help each other learn sign-language, for example, how to take turns with the train and how to ask for help to build the track.
It's funny to see how Josiah seems like the older brother, he helps Gideon to calm down; it's really cute. One day Gideon was super-upset and Josiah looked at me and signed "Gideon sad". When Gideon came back in, Josiah was comforting and sweet to him.
Just when I think that the sweetness has ended, snack-time comes around. Gideon cannot stand a mess, so he'll clean up every single person's place, especially Josiah's, to make sure that it's clean!
What I'm learning from both of them is that just because your experience has been isolation, it doesn't mean that your heart doesn't long for community. The two of them may not be brothers but they can still be family. That makes me feel better, at least they are not alone and they have each other.
This post was written by Bethany.
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