A deaf 3-year-old from Nebraska is being asked by the school district to change his name, his family alleges, because the way he refers to himself in sign language resembles “weapons.”
Apparently the Grand Island school district has a policy that prevents students from bringing “any instrument…that looks like a weapon” to school, and now hands can be considered “instruments.”
“Anybody that I have talked to thinks this is absolutely ridiculous. This is not threatening in any way,” Hunter Spanjer’s grandmother Janet Logue said.
Brian Spanjer, the boy’s father, added: “It’s a symbol. It’s an actual sign, a registered sign, through S.E.E. [Signing Exact English]”
Hunter signs his name by crossing his middle and index fingers– leaving his thumbs up– and then wagging his hands.
By JOHN ROGERS,AP – LOS ANGELES (AP) — Austin Chapman figured his short films must be pretty good because they’ve been sweeping major awards on the independent film festival circuit the past couple of years.
He was never quite sure about the soundtracks, however, because Chapman, who is deaf, could never really hear them.
Or any other music.
Then, a month ago he popped a brand new pair of bright orange, state-of-the art hearing aids into his ears and his world was changed forever. He cranked up Mozart’s “Lacrimosa” and suddenly tears of joy streamed spontaneously down his face. He turned on Radiohead and Devo and an epiphany occurred.
After years of scratching his head as friends around him snapped their fingers to the beat of Rolling Stones songs or got up and moved to the wave of electronic dance music created by DJ Moonboots, Chapman suddenly understood what this human fascination with sound was all about.
The 23-year-old filmmaker, whose life has largely been visual until now, still struggles to adequately explain the rush of new sounds echoing through his head. He compares them at one point to seeing a high-resolution photograph for the first time. Later, he describes the sensation as being exposed to a color you’ve never seen before.
Finally, with a broad smile on his face he offers this analogy: “It’s like the first time you kiss a girl. It’s like that.”
The experience came as he cruised around his Orange County, Calif., neighborhood with friends soon after getting the new hearing aids. He had always wanted to really hear Mozart, so his friends put on “Lacrimosa,” the brooding work the composer completed on his death bed in 1791.
“I was in the car and it was quite an experience,” recalls Kyle Sinnott, Chapman’s best friend since high school. “He was nodding his head and moving his fingers. He cried at one point, and the same goes for everybody in the car. Everybody let out a tear.”
Soon Chapman was playing “Brain Damage” from Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon,” and humming along to the ethereal “wooh oooh” guitar part that surfaces eerily throughout the song.
Music was in his brain and he couldn’t get it out.
Not that he’s embraced every new sound he’s been hearing since getting his new, improved Phonak hearing aids.
To his dismay, he can suddenly make out the sounds of other people’s conversations that he’d never heard before. Rather than enjoy his new eavesdropping skills, he finds them annoying.
“When I hear the talking, I want to say, ‘QUIET! SILENCE!’ he says with a laugh as he sits in a downtown deli on a recent afternoon, trying to ignore the conversation at a nearby table.
The sound of a baby cooing does please him.
“I’ve never heard a baby talk before,” he says, smiling in wonder. “Their voices are too high.” Read more…