Antony & Terry Daamen atdaamen at MYOFFICE.NET.AU
Thu Jul 25 07:24:44 UTC 2002


Dear Valerie, I was trying to send this email to James and Judy Kegl
privately, but this email 'bounced'.

Dear James and Judy Kegl,

Hi how are you both?  I went to Cairns for my interpreters accreditation
and in the office there I saw something that might interest you and I want
some advice.

(You need your world map maybe) In Papua New Guinea (PNG as it is called)
was a Deaf boy with the tribes over there and living in a similar way as
the Deaf people in Nicaragua.  He is very good at the daily tasks in their
life like fishing, catching animals for food etc.

However, he has very little language!  So the father and son have moved to
Thursday Island (T.I. for short) in the hope that his son Michael (14 years
old!) could have an education!

In the interpreter's office in Cairns  was a note on the notice board where
a teacher of the TI State School asked for a teacher's aid to move to TI
and help with teaching this boy Auslan!!  I rang the teacher (Jenny Waine)
and she would like somebody to come over and "immerse Michael in Auslan"
 They (teacher's etc from that school) themselves don't have the time to
spend with him.  This would mean teaching his whole community (family,
relatives, friends, TEACHERS etc) Auslan and all of them signing to him and
one another, RIGHT?

My wife is not interested in moving to TI, so we will need to look for
somebody else.  However, I would like to know if it is possible to teach
him language?  I remember from your video or wherever that from 0-5 years
old is the primary window of opportunity to learn language, but that up to
12 some language can be learned.  What about 14?

My heart goes out to the boy.  Jenny was saying that his father
communicates by ......pointing!!  No rudimentary home sign for drink or
whatever just pointing.  E.g. point to the food, then his mouth means "eat

What can be done? How?

 I suggested to contact the PNG's Deaf community, rather then the
Australian because we have a different language.  The PNG and the TI people
are different people with different language.  The aboriginals on mainland
Australia are divided in many different tribes that don't understand one
another tribal language...

So how can a white Dutch man with a white Deaf wife speaking English and
signing Auslan be of help?

I think it would be better if a Deaf Islander couple or PNG people with PNG
Sign Language skills could move there?

Thanks for any advice you can give us

See Ya,

Antony & Terry Daamen

"And just a little while longer, and the wicked one will be no more;
.........But the meek one themselves will possess the earth,
And they will find their exquisite delight in
the abundance of peace. - Isaiah 37:10,11

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