Sign Language

Hughan had his very powerful Phonak Hearing Aids fitted and luckily he was happy to wear them, which was great.

The hearing aids had a high amplification of sound, which were designed for someone with a profound loss of hearing. After they were fitted Hughan was still not responding to sounds.

I started making weekly trips, to and fro from Gaborone to Johannesburg, were Hughan was attending a Centre where he was being taught sign language.

After a few weeks of Hughan learning sign language, I was invited to a meeting where we were introduced to some children from one of the deaf schools in Johannesburg.

While children were sitting on the floor waiting for the meeting to start, they were all signing to each other and even laughing in absolute silence. This was something I had not taken into consideration. I couldn’t believe that my son was going to grow up like this. This was something that really had a profound effect on me. What was it like living in a silent world!

I had never been exposed to deafness before and this was a great shock. Statistics show that 99% of deaf children are born into families with no experience of deafness at all. Not knowing how to deal with it or where to get help.

During the meeting that afternoon, many subjects were discussed. We were told that signing varied from town to town, almost like foreign languages, also from country to country. For example they said that the sign for the word “sun” in Johannesburg, was different to the sign used in Durban and different again in the one used in Cape Town.

I found this very hard to believe, as you would think that once you were taught to sign, you would be able to travel anywhere in the world and communicate with other deaf people. But this was not the case.

I was still finding it hard to believe that Hughan was deaf and I wanted to fix what was wrong with him.

I phoned a friend of mine in Zimbabwe who laid hands on very ill patients in hospitals. She had very strong healing powers. I discussed Hughan’s deafness with her. I was sure that maybe she could help. I explained to her what tests had been done on Hughan. She told me that with nerve damage there was nothing that could be done to help. I felt devastated and I still wasn’t prepared to give up.

I was sure that Hughan would learn to speak, even though we had been told by many people that his hearing loss was so profound that learning to speak was nearly impossible. Willem and I were both struggling with the idea of signing and we wanted to encourage Hughan to speak.

Willem and I booked a trip to England to spend Christmas with my family. My father suggested that while we were on holiday, we should take the opportunity to travel to London to see a specialist in Harley Street for another opinion. He was happy to make the arrangements for us.

We decided that this would be a good idea and an appointment was made.

Christmas was drawing near and we would look for more answers in England.