Post from September 29, 2013 that ended up being a page.
I was at a party a week ago.
The behavior of two children is typical for any human that desires connection to their own. This is not new nor will it ever get old. This happens to any person, even the one next to you.
The desire to communicate is innate in any language and in any form of communication. The process of communication is a social necessity. The need to socialize to meet people is a required code of life, it has the capacity to make a difference in the cognitive and mental development of any human, especially with children who happen to be different.
Not special, just different.
The experience the two children have is what I experienced growing up and what I still experience when I look forward to going home and hanging out with my friends whenever an event is planned. This is why the majority will almost never understand why we do what we do because we do it differently and we can sympathize with those two children. The reason: we were those children once upon a time. Our behavior is actually a human one.
The party was for our niece and two deaf students were invited. The boy came first and since there were four of us sitting around signing, the boy and one of his brothers had a conversation with us. Then they went off and did what they did at a children’s party, played games, had food and chatted with the other kids.
Then comes a girl who is also deaf. After brief hellos and dropping off presents, the boy who had been hanging out with the children and the girl just decided to hang out together, separating themselves from the children. Several times the mothers came up and asked them to join the group, they would comply but a few minutes later go elsewhere and play on their own. My sister-in-law was upset about the behavior.
You may think that there’s something wrong with this. This ‘wrongness’ is society-influenced. This behavior is dictated by the very nature of being human, so it is not wrong for this to happen.
There is nothing wrong, in fact is very common among those who are by nature different from others. Those children are instinctively attracted to one another because of shared experiences and a common communication process. They can communicate at their own pace and in their own style and understand each other without struggle. Whereas at an event where they are the sole different human being, they go through the motions, miss out on a lot of information and struggle with communication until they see the one or few who are like them. That is when they jump at the chance to become wholly human, where they haven’t had the chance to be because of societal conformity requirements.
This behavior is not unique. It is so common that we take it for granted until we meet those who happen to be like us the most. That is when we begin to experience the prejudice that prevails in ‘advanced civiliaztions’, just for being different.
Why do I as an adult still experience this? I work at two places where I am either the only one or one of the few bilingual ASL/English users and also Deaf. I teach ASL but I am deprived of my natural language at my natural pace and there is none to almost none of my people around to keep my sanity. Communication for me is a higher requirement, regardless of which language or method. Being deprived of meaningful dialogue can cause negativity and depression. So I can totally relate to two children’s desire for a conversation and activities they can process, experience and grow from.