I had an interesting and most wonderful chance encounter with a young gentleman yesterday who has learning difficulties and is profoundly deaf.
He is a service user at Deaf Connections where I am currently the volunteer Acting Chair of the Board of Trustees. During a quick interlude between meetings yesterday I bumped in to him in reception and he started signing to me as no one else was around.
I had to finger spell [to him] that I can finger spell but I cannot sign and I cannot understand him unless he finger spells back to me!
Anyway to cut a long story short he was trying to tell me (which I finally worked out) that he is going on holiday and flying for the first time and how scared he is about flying and his ears popping!
I ended up telling him to eat a lemon sherbet, or other boiled sweet, as the plane takes off as this will help his ears and not to worry, as flying is fantastic.
He gave me ‘thumbs up’ and a massive smile by way of thanking me for my reassurance.
I have only been learning the basics of sign language for a matter of a few weeks and yet in this one single encounter I was reminded of just how valuable the gift of communication is in all circumstances and the importance of being able to make a difference in someone’s life, no matter how small.
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