The story of Duy
Having the opportunity to be alongside a child and witness his growth is a wonderful experience that I was lucky enough to have. It was even better when it was a special child – a boy who is Deaf.
Duy is a five-year old Deaf boy in our group. The family used to be very concerned about him being a difficult child. He was very stubborn and demonstrated various negative characteristics of being self-centered, bad-tempered, mischievious, unable to concentrate, and aggressive. This was partly due to his needs not being understood and responded to by others. It was a real challenge for our Family Support Team (FST) to ease those bad behaviours and begin to foster communication within the family.
We realised that we had to be real friends of Duy before we could teach him. We needed to place ourselves in a position to understand his needs and desires of a child, and to think about how he mightreact in certain situations. We recalled the memories of our own childhood to remember what we liked when we were kids and tried to incorporate those ideas into our teaching. We got closer to Duy and he became very interested in each sign language lesson. He made significant progress in his studies and was able to extend his period of concentration. Others in the family began to understand him better and he became less angry.
One time Duy signed to his little brother to call him over to share a snack with him. His brother was only 3 years old, a little too small to understand what Duy had signed, and did not join in. Duy got mad and hit the little boy. The incident made us realise the importance of effective communication within the family. Therefore in each session we got the whole family to participate in the sign language lesson. It seemed that everyone in the family began to grow closer. Duy no longer acts out aggressively, and enjoys teaching his little brother to sign.
Duy was not the only one who has made a progess, those of us on the FST have grown too. Working with children has taught us to be patient, and helped us discover our own potential as teachers. We practised and became more skillfull with creative arts. Duy likes to explore new things and toys, so we have to be very creative in preparing teaching materials. Every feeling of surprise and excitement Duy expressed was a compliment on our work. We understand more about child psychology now that we aim at satisfying the child’s needs without spoiling the child. We have also learned how to make the best use of our teaching time.
Within the FST, we tried to be open and provided constructive feedback to one another. The Deaf mentor always listen to each others’ comments and we worked with one another to address any issues we faced so as to better how to understand and cooperate in a group.
Duy will start school this September, still the family members are unsure whether he is ready for school or not, and which type of school they should choose so he could best develop his existing sign language skills. This is a matter of concern in our FST too. We just hope the project can continue through the upper educational levels so that the efforts of the FST and that of the Deaf child and their does not become worthless.
By Vũ Hương Giang,
CFI Hà Nội