5yr old deaf child with no signing, no language. Help much appreciated!

Malawi Mike

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Hi,

I'll try to keep this succinct for my intro.

I work in Malawi where my partner runs a charity. I am out on my second trip to the country, the first being last October.

With live with an extended family group of Malawians and have a house of our own in their compound.

One of the children is profoundly deaf, does not respond to even the loudest of noises. His name is Mike, he is 5yrs old.

Mike was born as a twin, his brother has an extreme ADHD type disorder and has taken all of his mother's time and energy in upbringing, and as such Mike has never been taught even a modicum of language.

Mike is the most angelic and beautiful child you would ever meet, and he is an extraordinarily happy child whom is left to play in his own games, all day.

It is very hard to hold his attention, as it has never been demanded, and I worry that he will have a very hard life.

The Malawian education system has no provisions for deaf children, there are no welfare schemes, and he will not be able to stay at home forever.

I have never been exposed to sign language, and any deaf people I have met have read my lips.

I feel that I can help, I just have no idea how to communicate with someone who does not even know that language is a thing. I'm possibly not the best suited to help, but I'm here and willing!

Any help or advice on the situation would be so very much appreciated.

Many thanks,
Bob
 

Reba

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:welcome:

Mike and his family don't even use home signs? Are the members of his family and community willing to learn sign with him? If no one else signs with him there won't be any communication happening. Who would follow up with Mike after you leave?

Have you tried resources at Gallaudet University?
 

Bebonang

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I did not know about Malawi is African nation. I looked it up on Google.

The boy could have use the home signs with his family if he was not learning African Sign Language. One thing I am wondering about is maybe he should go to the ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) specialist to check to see if he has hearing loss and how much hearing loss he have. He may not have hearing loss and could have Autism. Autism can be mistaken for hearing loss. So both of this conditions are pretty much the same, I think. I was misdiagnosed having the autism. So later the doctors learned that I had hearing loss close to 9 years old. My early doctors made the mistake on this. But still my mother tried to put me in hearing public schools, even when I was 5 years old. She did not understand why I could not respond or not pay attention in the hearing schools.

I did not learned any language from the time I was born and was very happy to be deaf for 9 years before I had my first hearing aid. Now I was forced to go into the mainstream school in the oral method without sign language like ASL (American Sign Language). It was very difficult to understand the hearing teachers and hearing students and not be able to get good grades.

So sign language is important to the deaf boy. It is too bad that his brother had ADHD and his mother had to put up with him instead of the deaf boy.

So he was playing by himself. I did that like him when I was his age, but I do played with hearing children by miming my actions or use home signs for them to understand what I wanted to say. I don't remembered everything going on when I was little like 5 years old. Don't feel sorry for the boy because he was happy playing by himself.

Pretty soon he need to go into the deaf school if there is one in Africa. He may have to move to the location where the deaf school is. I guess you have to find the African sign language book or someone who knows the national language (African signs) and probably willing to teach him and his parents to sign together.

Give us the update on how he is doing while you are there. How long will you be staying there in Malawi? :hmm:
 

Reba

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Bebonang brought up a good point. Has Mike had a full physical (ENT) and audiological exam to make sure of what his condition is? It seems that he and his brother had birth defects, possibly from being a multiple birth in an under-developed country without adequate medical care. He may have more issues going on than just his hearing. All that needs to be checked out before you can develop a plan of action.

I suggested you check with Gallaudet because they can advise you on resources specific to Malawi, such as which sign language (if any) is used there.
 

deafdyke

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No education for dhh kids whatsoever? What about neighboring countries? Can you try to get him in a UK or a US based school for the Deaf? Just throwing that out there.
 

Reba

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No education for dhh kids whatsoever? What about neighboring countries? Can you try to get him in a UK or a US based school for the Deaf? Just throwing that out there.
In that part of the world, it's usually up to Christian missionaries to provide schools for deaf kids.
 

deafdyke

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In that part of the world, it's usually up to Christian missionaries to provide schools for deaf kids.

Oh..... yes, I was aware of that....the government doesn't provide schooling, so the schools would be private/Christian missionary types...but there also might be the option of sending him to a school in another country...it's a long shot, but maybe.....
 

Bebonang

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Oh..... yes, I was aware of that....the government doesn't provide schooling, so the schools would be private/Christian missionary types...but there also might be the option of sending him to a school in another country...it's a long shot, but maybe.....

Did you read what Dogmom put out the information on the Malawi National Association of the Deaf? That would mean he would get into the school for the deaf right in Africa, right in Malawi, not in another country. What is the sense of sending him away that far. He is only 5 years old. If he had to go to the Deaf school which might be about 20 miles or so, then that would be okay. But if he had to go 1,000 miles or more to get into the Deaf school away from Malawi. Africa has states or provinces.

What are you talking about another country? What country? :shock:
 

Bebonang

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Oh..... yes, I was aware of that....the government doesn't provide schooling, so the schools would be private/Christian missionary types...but there also might be the option of sending him to a school in another country...it's a long shot, but maybe.....


I don't understand why you want to have another option to have 5 years old boy away from Malawi to another country. What country? There is hope for him.

Did you read Dogmom putting out information on the Malawi National Association of the Deaf. That tell us that there is Deaf communities in Malawi in Africa. Malawi is like the state or province in Africa. There is a chance they have a Deaf school somewhere in Malawi.

Right now, I hope the OP can talked to his parents about their son getting tests for hearing loss and make sure it is not autism. If he is deaf, then he will be able to find a school right there in Malawi. The OP have to research and find some educational facility for him to learn like signing. If he has autism, then he will go into special education for it. Give the OP and the boy's parents a break.

It is good that the boy is just starting at 5 years old and things will be looking up to him. It would be great that he can use the signs he need. :cool2:
 

Reba

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I hope the OP isn't another "hit and run" poster, and is actually reading all these suggestions.
 

deafdyke

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I don't understand why you want to have another option to have 5 years old boy away from Malawi to another country. What country? There is hope for him.

Did you read Dogmom putting out information on the Malawi National Association of the Deaf. That tell us that there is Deaf communities in Malawi in Africa. Malawi is like the state or province in Africa. There is a chance they have a Deaf school somewhere in Malawi.

Right now, I hope the OP can talked to his parents about their son getting tests for hearing loss and make sure it is not autism. If he is deaf, then he will be able to find a school right there in Malawi. The OP have to research and find some educational facility for him to learn like signing. If he has autism, then he will go into special education for it. Give the OP and the boy's parents a break.

It is good that the boy is just starting at 5 years old and things will be looking up to him. It would be great that he can use the signs he need. :cool2:

Well that would be awesome if there was a Deaf School in Malawi. Then that would work out well... I was just saying if there WASN"T a Deaf School in Malawi, MAYBE he might attend a Deaf School in another country.....I hope he can stay in his current country and not have to dorm it (as he's very young) but I'm just saying that if there's literally nothing in his country, MAYBE it might be an option to send him to another country with a good deaf school....but that would be the absolute last resort placement. Or maybe suggest migration for the entire family to an country or area that might have better oppertunites...... Or maybe have a member of the Malawi Deaf Association come and teach the whole family sign.... there are a lot of options......
 

deafdrummer

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One of the children is profoundly deaf, does not respond to even the loudest of noises. His name is Mike, he is 5yrs old.

Namaste Bob and everyone. This caught my attention. I grew up exactly like him, only I was thought to be mentally retarded until they finally tested my hearing at seven and a half years old. Because I was caught fairly late, my memories already started forming permanently, which allowed me to remember very clearly what this state of mind is like. I still have it and go into that state at will when I need to.

Mike is in a situation where he doesn't have 1) language, 2) clearly defined social norms, and 3) religion, the three lenses of civilization. This is only the second instance after me of someone in exactly this position, both in Africa. It will be best to teach him to sign, like starting with basic vocabulary, firstly with concrete objects like water, food, house, dog, mother, father, and the rest of the family, etc., and then work on verbs connected to the nouns, like "get water," "go house (home)," "feed dog," etc. Then build from there.

"In that part of the world, it's usually up to Christian missionaries to provide schools for deaf kids."

That is NOT good, for reasons I won't go into. Mike does need help, otherwise he runs the risk of turning feral, like I almost did. The earlier you help him, the easier it might be to "entrain" him to civilization. This is what Mike is faced with:

"Furthermore, humans divide bioculturally, that is, our reading and acting with ourselves or others is generally determined by the type of bioculture we primarily are/use, not by the color of our skin or our countries of origin. Since, with rare exceptions, the left brain gets all its information from the right brain, not the outside world, and can only read selectively (by its own criteria) what it wants from the right brain, none of the information "spoken" by the left brain has any higher authority than itself. This revelation has enormous consequences for our dealings with others, with "knowledge" and primarily with religion. Thus, our primary concern as a culture is the education and nurture of our infants and children, for they are the repository of our biocultural development and integration. This follows because the lack of development of biocultures in children, the development of the five brains, up to the age of twelve, and in some cases earlier, is an irreversible process (Pearce,l992). In other words, if the children's reptilian, limbic and right brain mimetic phases are not exercised, as early as the first months of their young life, the children do not develop sufficient neural links for the life of these brains, and atrophy follows. The child's "windows of malleability" are closed by the age of puberty. By this age all the brains are either present or absent. The child is thus forced to live the rest of his/her life as a left brain mimetic, or simply a logos type. He/she becomes a victim and a problem to himself and to others, as in a jail, not able to reach either the right brain world of images and sensations or the outside world. "

http://www.infinityfoundation.com/mandala/i_es/i_es_denic_study_frameset.htm - This is a MASSIVE web site that sheds a light on Indic civilization (civilization in and around present-day India) through four different angles; Outer knowledge (sciences, math, engineering, ship-building, etc.), Inner science (yoga, neurobiology, etc.), History, and Present-Day issues in India. This article is found in the Inner Science Mandala. I happen to know this because I am editing this entire web site into a book.
 

Luna_Boo

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Hello I am hearing but my child she's 1yr and a half and I teach her only the little I've learned but I'd like to meet up with someone I can practice with :)
 
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