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Mother's twins befriend deaf classmate, they build a truly unspoken bond. UPDATED 2X

Mother's twins befriend deaf classmate, they build a truly unspoken bond. UPDATED 2X


"Navigating a situation with a Deaf Toddler and my twins, all age 2"


So my kids' classmate is Deaf. I say classmate, but they are all 2. My kids know a few basic signs, we went with ASL instead of baby sign for things for them to learn, so this apparently attracted her to them, since it was familiar.

They are in the habit of signing if they know the word, and say and sign at the same time. Things like food items, and action items like more, diaper, eat, water, etc, and most importantly play. Lately the teacher has been telling me that the little girl has been signing her name, then signing "why" at the twins, and she thinks that the little girl is trying to ask their names.

I had originally come here to find a resource for finding out how to sign their names, and stumbled across a thread saying that names are finger spelled unless a name is given by a Deaf person. Which is totally fair.

The part that I need help to figure out is what to teach my kids to sign back to her when she asks again. My kids names are basic, common nouns (whoops), but that doesn't seem to be something we can do here.

I read that some kids do nicknames of the first letter, which we might be able to teach them how to finger spell with, but just wanting to make sure I tread appropriately with this. I don't want the little girl to feel rejected or isolated because the kids can't or won't answer her since she has been asking for a few days. Any help or advice would be great!

I have been learning Sign with the kids, so I'm VERY beginner, and mostly culinary. I absolutely would have no idea how to sign a conversation with her parents, and we don't share pick up times, and email addresses are private.

I also wouldn't know how to ask her parents about it without making assumptions that I am beyond not qualified to make, such as asking them to tell her how to sign them, and then hopefully we get to teach the kids, or things like that which would absolutely not be appropriate. Additional info, we are east coast in case that changes anything.

Here were the top rated comments from readers:


"My kids names are basic, common nouns (whoops)"

I don't know why that's a whoops. If they were adults hanging around the Deaf community those basic signs might quite readily become their names. For example I have met multiple people named Cat whose name sign is CAT. It's not that weird and that's probably the name sign they'd end up with anyway.

Do you think the kids' names are too long for them to learn to just spell them? Can they not make the handshapes? Spelling your name is a perfectly appropriate way to introduce yourself among Deaf people.

The OP responded here:


In a year maybe, but they only do two signs in a row right now, of like eat [food item]. Same with the other little girl. They are JUST two, not close to 3. It's a whoops because it's fun to teach twins you are NOUN, this is NOUN, and then they point to themselves and say OTHERTWINNOUN.


I guess they'd probably do that even if they had namesigns that weren't common nouns though, right?

The OP again responded:


Yeah, but adding items that you can touch into it makes it a bit more confusing. It wasn't well thought out in our part. They were good with their names until we started teaching them about their NOUN counterparts.


Fingerspell and let the classmate initialize or create a Name Sign that suits. 2 yrs old is not too young to begin teaching Deaf culture as well as Sign. Best of luck!

A few weeks later, the OP returned with an update.

"Update: Hearing Toddlers with Deaf friend"


Hi everyone! Thank you so much for your help a few weeks ago. We left a note for the parents, who contacted us. The father is hearing, the mother is Deaf, so thankfully the barrier to talk with them was almost non existent.

They were apparently a little confused because they didn't realize that my toddlers were identical twins, they thought she was naming her friend 2 yellow (hair color). They had only seen one at a time at pick up by coincidence, so there was some laughing about that.

Anyway, the twins don't have names yet, but my baby does 😂. It's just her normal name (which is a basic noun), signed as the noun but in a small hand motion. On any given day, the Deaf girl refers to them by the color of their shirts, which they pick out each morning, so it's never the same.

We are starting to have playdates at our house, since it is super child proofed and my husband and I can mostly figure out what she is signing. It is a freedom that they haven't really experienced before, so we have that going for us!

And when she needs our attention, she gets one of the twins to flip the light switch a lot. It's so funny because normally they have no problem yelling help, but when she is around they use the rave party strategy. She can't reach the light switch, but the twins can.

Here were the top rated comments from readers after the OP's first update:


I cannot love this enough! ❤️👏


This is awesome! All I’m hearing is a long friendship ahead, for you and the kids!


So awesome! Also they sell cheap plastic (also very, very expensive wood) light switch extenders if you ever wanted to look into that! I see some on Amazon for $10 :) also one on Etsy called The Tawgle (I hated typing that…) for $8! And between these options they have ones for both flicky switched and flat rocker switches.


I love this story a lot! All the more so because I can picture it without being in a house with 3 rambunctious rave party toddlers! I'm curious - do your twins talk to you when she's around, other than flashing the lights to get your attention? Just wondering if they're being considerate about not talking in her presence (which I realize is a stretch.)

A full 6 months later, the OP returned again.

"Multiple names? Which one do we use?"


So my baby daughter is adorable. She gets everyone's attention. It's a weird situation. This isn't bragging or mom vision, this is just fact. She was given a name by a friend of her brothers, which was the symbol for her name (it's a standard now) but signed very small.

Anyway, at some point, another Deaf kid gave her a different sign (letter + girlbaby) and while I'm waiting for an answer back from the family of the older brothers friend, I am trying to figure out how it works.

Do we choose which one? Most recent name? Does it count as a name or is that just standard passing along? The older kid was upset when we kept using the first name (it signs cuter), so I don't know what the right thing to do was but she knows the sign for the original name now.

Do we teach her the other one too? Can it be like nicknames where if you have a name like Elizabeth, you can be Liz, Eliza, Betsy, Beth, etc? Ps - still no name for my twins 😂 still the color of their shirt for the day.

Here were the top rated comments from readers after the OP's latest update:


I'm still dying at "rave party strategy" 🤣


This is adorable. I didn’t know the name being given by a deaf person thing, and I’m now wondering what my bar regulars would have called me?


Question, Are they identical? Maybe she can't tell the difference between them, so she does not give them a name? Maybe give them different necklaces or something?


Yes, the twins are identical. She knows which one to play with Thomas with and which one to play with Spencer with though. And which one to hide her rice cakes from.


Look at you, teaching me about my own culture! I never knew that signed names were given! I was born 40% deaf, but I'm the only one in my small town so I don't know anything about the Deaf community. I hope someday I can go to deaf school or a summer camp or something to get to know my peers.

So, a refreshingly sweet story from Reddit, right? Do any readers have a wholesome story about their children crossing barriers to make meaningful friendships?

Sources: Reddit,Reddit,Reddit
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