There is great debate. To sign or not to sign. And then, which method? ASL? SEE? Emmi's first doctor and audiology team pretty much threatened my life if I taught Emmi to sign. They insisted it would inhibit her language development if she relied on sign. It was ridiculous to assume I would not teach her any sign. There was six months between the time we found out she was profoundly deaf and her first surgery. I was supposed to not talk to my almost two year old for six months? Besides it went against everything I knew. Statistic after statistic linked early language development with children who were taught to sign. They brushed it off, claiming that was for children with normal hearing. I, being me, ignored them, taught Emmi some basics signs, and prayed she would not give me away during any of our appointments. After moving to Houston, the experience was different.
Her new team seemed indifferent to my decision. Emmi attended more private speech therapy and school therapy than most of the children they saw. I was pushing the oral skills. I was doing my job. They gave little thought to whether or not I signed with Emmi. After Emmi's verbal skills picked up, the signing dropped off a bit. I let it be her decision. The basics stuck around. I assumed there would be a time when Emmi remembered very little sign. I assumed wrong.
Emmi has always remained drawn to sign. When I thought at first that it would eventually loose its hold on her as she gained oral language, I soon realized there were large gaps when the implants where ineffective. Bathing. Swimming. Periods of ear infections and equipment malfunctions. Playing in the rain. While Emmi has started talking in full sentences, she has also had a peak in interest in sign again. I can only conclude that she has figured out the joy and benefit of communication, and she is anxious to explore all the different means.