Thanh Nhu was very shy when we met for the first time. She nestled close to her mother and cried. We tried to communicate with her while her mum guided her to raise her hands to greet us, but she did not listen.
Her mum led us to a small room where Nhu plays with her toys every day, pointed to a toy box and asked Nhu to take some toys out to play with us. She ran to the box, picked a lovely doll then gave her mum a puzzle look. “What did you ask me?” But Nhu did not answer, still looked at the mother. Her mum tried to say that was a doll but the little girl still did not understand. Seeing that, Miss Loan quickly signed “doll”. Surprisingly, Nhu appeared to like it and shyly imitated. Then she lulled the doll to sleep. We looked at each other, smiled happily and praised her: “You are excellent!” That is how the girl started to learn sign language, the language of deaf people!
With Miss Loan, not only did Nhu sign the colors of her pretty doll’s dress with much excitement, but she also showed adorable facial expression. Observing that, her parents realized the importance of sign language to Nhu. They all clasped their hands and happily joined the lessons with their daughter.
Over the past one year, we have been together with that lovely family, where happiness has replaced the sadness and woe that they had before. The parents were genuinely worried after discovering their daughter’s deafness when she was 7 months old. However, they quickly registered the little girl for the IDEO project ever since the very first day they learned about the project.
The Family Support Team came to the family with affection, devotion and the effective play-to-learn teaching method. Now, everyone in the family hopes Nhu will develop well, especially her mother, who usually spends time playing and talking to her. Watching Nhu’s progress with sign language, her parents blissfully said: “We are very delighted to see Nhu get better every day. Since the whole family has learned sign language, it is easier for us to teach Nhu at home as well as to talk and play with her. Thanks IDEO for making Nhu who she is today”.
We also felt happy when listening to the family. We hope all deaf children will be identified early and receive early sign language exposure in order to develop and integrate fully in society.