Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Potentially fabulous news!

For the last year, we've been struggling with the fact that our deaf daughter has had no interpreter services at school. The "interpreter" she had last year wasn't certified and had no formal experience, and after she quit over the summer, the district wasn't able to find anyone else. We live in a pretty small community, so it isn't like there's a big pool of them to choose from.

Thankfully, an interpreter moved to a neighboring town about a month ago and has been able to work with Lily a bit at school. Since this woman lives an hour away and homeschools her own children, she can only come a couple of times a week. (That's definitely better than nothing, but still not ideal.) She'll be working with Lily over the summer, too, now that we got the district to agree to an extended school year for her. I've been grateful to have something more than we've had, but we know that without a full-time interpreter, Lily is never going to be able to learn to use an interpreter the way she'll need to in college.

So, yesterday I got an email from our outreach teacher of the deaf, and in this email she said that she was forwarding the contact information of an interpreter who may be interested in moving to Montana. I emailed the woman right away, and this morning I got a phone call from her. You could have knocked me over with a feather! Not only does she have the option to live in any town in Montana (since her husband will be traveling all over the state for work), and not only does she not care about the pittance of a salary she'd be paid, she's also certified in Signing Exact English! Since Lily is oral, we have always used SEE with her. (For those who don't know the difference, American sign language is a conceptual language with its own grammar, it is not merely a representation of English in another modality. It is truly another language. On the other hand, SEE is simply manually coded English, with everything in English word order, use of tenses, word endings, etc.) Since Lily speaks, we want her signing to fit with her oral skills. As she gets older, we can introduce more ASL as a foreign language option for her, and that will help her be better prepared for college.

I know there are still a lot of "ifs" to overcome in this scenario, but this woman said she is "very, very interested" in the job. This will be such a huge answer to our prayers if everything falls into place. :o)

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