Mandy Puccini – Hearing Impaired Person

MandyMandy Puccini is 12 years old and deaf, and she likes to tell funny stories. She can speak, read lips and use sign language. When people talk to her she either reads their lips or their signs.Mandy has been deaf since the age of two. As a toddler, she’d contracted meningitis which damaged the nerves in her ears. Mandy wears hearing aids and is able to pick up some loud sounds through them, like thunder.

 

When Mandy was little, her family lived near a school for the deaf. Starting in preschool, Mandy attended classes with other deaf kids and she and her parents started learning sign language. Because Mandy has some hearing, she also began working with a speech therapist to learn how to lipread and speak. When Mandy was seven, her family moved to a new city, far away from a school for the deaf. Mandy and her parents decided that Mandy should go to public school and stay at home instead of living in the dormitory of the deaf school.

 

Mandy is the first deaf student in her school. Mandy and her parents had to go to the school board to explain why Mandy needed an interpreter in school. Mandy’s interpreter, Amy, interprets all her classes, including physical education, and also tutors Mandy in reading and English. When Mandy works one-on-one with her teacher or with classmates, she reads their lips and Amy gets a break. Mandy is teaching her classmates and teacher some sign language, too.

 
Mandy’s class has adjusted to her needs – and the needs of her interpreter. If more than one person is talking at the same time, Mandy can’t lipread them all and the interpreter can’t sign them all, either. The kids in Mandy’s class try to remember to take turns speaking so the interpreter can sign it all for Mandy. An interpreter does not participate in a situation except as a communication facilitator by translating ASL into spoken English and spoken English into ASL. Processing the information and creating this translation takes time, so an interpreter is often a few seconds behind the verbal words. It is important for Mandy’s teacher to be aware of this “lag time” and to wait for the interpreter to finish before beginning something new. This doesn’t mean the teacher speaks slowly or pauses between words or sentences. By speaking at a normal conversational pace, the interpreter can sign at a normal conversational pace which is easier for a deaf person to follow. An interpreter will interpret everything s/he hears – everything that would be accessible to the deaf person if that person could hear. An interpreter will interpret sounds, like a phone ringing, just as closed captioning does, because these sounds are aural cues everyone else in the room has.

 

Mandy’s parents belong to a support group for families who have deaf children, so Mandy has deaf friends even though she is the only child who is deaf in her school. She likes having friends who are deaf and who understand what it’s like not to be able to hear. Being deaf can be frustrating, especially when people don’t understand how to communicate with a deaf person. Mandy is used to reminding people to look at her when they talk and not to mumble or speak too quickly. Mandy is very independent and is quick to tell people that just because she’s deaf, doesn’t mean she can’t do the things hearing kids can do. Her favorite phrase is, “Deaf people can do everything except hear!”

Another web site to visit:
Canadian Hearing Society