Saturday, June 19, 2010

Brief Update: More ASL and A New Wooden Sword

Well, I am way overdue for an update here.

Summer's already been really long and it's just been a few short weeks. I've been working hard keeping Tristan as busy as possible.

We're still going to our ASL classes. It's moving very quickly and it can be hard to keep up. I think it's been easier to get Tristan to understand what I'm wanting from him when we use sign along with telling him orally.

We implemented a sticker chart for him. He earns one happy face every hour that he does a good job. He decided that he wanted to work towards earning a wooden sword like his best friend has. He worked very hard and ended up earning that wooden sword! He was so proud of himself.

Obviously, we can't keep bribing him with new toys, but I thought maybe we could offer him things like extra one-on-one time with Mommy or Daddy, doing whatever he wants to do or time with the Wii.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

First ASL Class

Our first ASL class was last night and it was a total hit! Tristan was fascinated by the other hearing impaired kids.

The class was taught by a deaf woman. She didn't speak, but instead taught through a combination of signing, gestures, written words and pictures. At first I was a little worried since I have no ASL, but I think it really helped me to understand all the nonverbal cues in ASL.

It's not just moving your fingers, it's using your whole body, your face included. When signing "hot," you make a face like you burned yourself. "Eat up" is gestured while your mouth makes the motion for "up," or swallowing, whatever way you look at it.

The positioning of the fingers and hands is so important. A single finger out of place or an extra motion can change the meaning completely.

We're just taking a basic class right now, but after we move, I want to enroll in another class to expand what I'm learning now. I am really enjoying the class and I really think it will help Tristan to see the words as well as hear them.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

ASL, Summer Programs and Chocolate Cake

We start ASL tomorrow! The School for the Deaf called me back last week and offered family classes in American Sign Language for Tristan for $50. I immediately accepted. The only downside is that the baby can't go and I had to find a sitter for her. The classes are in the evenings, so bedtime routine is going to be messed up, but I'm willing to do that once a week to help Tristan communicate better.

Ms. C., the play therapist, highly recommended that we find a program for him this summer because he'll get bored with unstructured time and that could be a trigger. It's looking like there's no way out of shelling out $1000 over the summer for the program.

I should have a final decision made about summer programs by the end of this week. I think he'll be going to Kama 'aina Kids, which has offered to take him on without the aid on a trial basis. I think he'll be just fine as long as he's kept busy.

Tristan's been relatively irritable lately. Tonight, we went out as a family to The Cheesecake Factory. Tristan did so well. I looked him straight in the eye and told him how well he had done. He smiled, then asked for some chocolate cake. I don't usually get deserts at restaurants, but made an exception because of his excellent behavior.