Thursday, February 11, 2016

Sign language and its limitations

What's my take on sign language , I am often asked. I am always taken back to that day when Prisha was diagnosed as deaf and I could only visualize those sign language news readers on national TV. I was fascinated like most kids those days. My body started to burn and heart in deeper pain. The thought of my beautiful girl bring isolated with those dancing fingers made me cry more. Desperately trying to look for help and a miracle that could make her hear me and speak. 
Cut to today.... I am glad and most thankful that she has the language of the masses and the world. I can't ever ... Ever ...ever imagine that we are all signing away and me translating to everyone around us. Her being left out with only deaf community who signs and also the same sign language as her. Would I have made these two country moves? Would she have been global? Would I be able to leave her with anyone without worrying? Would I ever ... ever....ever hear her beautiful singing voice? Would we not have lost those precious songs she composes? Would I ever dream of sending her off to a foreign country for higher education? Would I ever have a separate life from hers? Or would I be a permanent chaperone to her? How many people she comes across would have known the translation of her dancing fingers? How many sign languages would I reach her? ASL, ISL, FSL.... Etc etc. every country has a different sign language. India itself has many....wouldn't I be restricted to my comfort zone? 
Ask any adult deaf person or even google and see videos and reactions of people when they start to hear and speak. No one would ever say they prefer signs to speech. I am NOT against signs... But definitely feel that early intervention, right HEARING AIDS programmed right and GOOD SPEECH THERAPY shall eliminate the need of sign language and make them as integrated adults with less adaptations. Signs work for people who had no access to these. But then they should be ready for a lot more adjustments and limitations. 
What would you prefer.... Sign language or speech? Try signing your thoughts to people and see.  #signlanguage #hearingaids#cochlearimplants #speechdevelopment #speechindeaf

Monday, February 8, 2016

A thought

Sometimes just hearing a positive feedback from the people who reach out for help from me gives me a bigger high than receiving any reward. No money can give that feeling. Have been able to help many families in the last 9-10 years. Few came , got help and moved away as if I don't exist , few give feedback and a bit of credit now and then and few always have good things to say. I take it all in the right spirit. When you commit yourself to a cause one meets many such kinds of people. You know in your heart you mean well and do good coz of the guru you have and who showed you a path. I don't stop helping out as the reward is big when the families have those tender moments of seeing a happiness they never thought they would have. I live those moments of my life once again. It's giving back to the society and it gives me immense satisfaction. My mentor and guide Mrs. Alaka Hudlikar has given me this power or grace. I owe it to her and hence it never goes to my head. 
Times like these when parents come back to share good news I wonder what pleasure drives people. To me it's the fact that they got right advise, saved some money that they NEED for the future of the child and the family is happy and integrated. To others it's a big packet of money that has come into the bank and it doesn't matter how it has come. Money makes them practice things which perhaps they know in their hearts is very wrong. How do they sleep knowing well that they have given wrong advise? How do they rest knowing that they have used helpless parents and their deaf child to their monetary advantage? Can they justify this ever to their conscience? I wish I knew what makes them make money at the cost of the inner cry of such parents. Sooner or later they come to know they have been wronged. Can they live with those bad vibes and cry of pain from such parents. 
I am happy my values are in place. I do it coz I love what I do,I love my mentor ,I treat those families as my own and I love to see them smile through tears which also have few of mine..... May God give right mindset and right hearts to more ENTs , speech therapists and audiologist and may they see that their good work is bigger than any charity in the world.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Talk in a church with deaf community


Having started the series of talks around Jakarta to spread awareness in deafness , I do not leave any opportunity that comes my way to spread my wings more. Yesterday was one such chance to "talk" to the deaf community at the church here. I was skeptical as well as nervous about it wondering if I would be able to handle it, how would Prisha react to sign language as the last time she went to one such community was when she was 4 and I took her to a deaf school in India. The day came and I trusted my instinct , my dedication to Mrs. Alaka Hudlikar , the cause and her blessings to me. I decided to give the best I can within the limitations. 
    They introduced me and I started my presentation. After the initial hitch where I was delivering more in one go, faster and complicated words .. I realized I need to slow down, use simple words and less complicated stuff as the audiences had limited understanding otherwise. The translator who works on national TV of Indonesia had little English but did his best to understand and sign soon after I spoke. Soon enough it started to work smoothly. 
      It was talk that made me grateful, humble, appreciate more what I got in terms of Mrs. Alaka Hudlikar , made my will power stronger that I need to keep going and keep talking that deaf can live integrated lives. I learnt not to doubt my intention not be put down by anyone trying to undermine my intention or efforts. I learnt that I can communicate and handle  different audiences and receive more than what I give. It was one of the most exciting and awaited afternoon for me and I wondered if I could deliver here. But using simple English ,short effective conversation aided with good sign language helped me to show this community that even if they could not get language their next generation has a chance to learn language and be integrated into the normal system. 
     I left the place more humbled and glad that I did it. I hope to do more in the future with them. A brief of my talk there is on the link below. I learnt it's never enough to share the knowledge you have and never enough work done for what you believe in. People will try to pull you down in various ways but if your intention is clean , it shall come through. To hear on YouTube .... Click below.