The happy tears
Nguyen Tien Nam, born 2008 in Cu Van, Dai Tu District, Thai Nguyen province, is profoundly deaf in both ears. Before the Family Support Team (FST) came to Nam’s family, he was sent to school for about a year to learn to speak. Nam had never studied sign language and used only some self-created gestures. Nam’s father shared: “He is intelligent but rather stubborn; he uses a lot of gestures that his parents and grandparents do not understand. When he wants something, he holds our hands and takes us to the place. When he wants to go for a bath, he goes to get his clothes so that his mother knows. We don’t know how to teach him”.
During the first few home visits, Nam was obstinate and did not cooperate, he did what he wanted. He liked assembling toys and demanded games on the smartphone of the deaf family mentor. He was not patient and only studied when he liked. The family was also too busy to study together with their child.
As the child showed progress and proper consultation was provided, the family members started to join the lessons. The family expressed their great desire for the child to be able to speak, after the SL session was done, the FST volunteered to stay on a bit longer to teach the child to speak. The FST chose 2-3 words to teach and showed the family members how to teach SL to their child at every possible moment. To help with studying the FST wrote the signs down in a notebook or videotaped the teacher signing on the mobile phone of the mother so that she could self study when she has time. Nam’s grandmother shared: “As advised by the teacher, I went to buy a green custard apple and a watermelon to teach Nam. By the time he was able to clearly speak and sign the words custard apple and watermelon the custard apple had gone all rotten”.
Until now, the whole family, mother, father, and grandparents have worked very well with the FST and trust the teachers. Nam’s mother is a very active learner and she signs very well. Nam has made great progress with an approximate 200-word vocabulary and can fingerspell quite fast. He memorizes signs and copies them very well.
Nam’s physical development is progressing well with fine motor skills. He is very fast and active. His cognitive development is also good, he likes to tell stories about all that happens. He is well aware of the visual appearance features of all kinds of fruits and objects, weather phenomena, and school activities. He has slowly developed his written skills through fingerspelling. Now Nam shows respect and follows the family mentor’s requirements, and listens to his parents and grandparents. He is happy and gets along well with his friends.
“Our family used to cry a lot as we thought about this misfortune of our child. Now that we see his progress, we still cry, but with happy tears”, Nam’s mother shared with us.