Every Thursday evening my children get a special treat. Rather than going through the mundane routine of teaching the English language via paper and pencil, on Thursdays Michelle Walker pays us a special visit and teaches my children sign language during a one-hour session. When she shows up, the kids learn everything from how to say the alphabet, spell their names and create words and phrases using their hands. Saying my boys are rambunctious is a bit of an understatement. They’d rather sprint around my house 7 times than do anything that requires them to sit for more than 5 minutes. But, Michelle has been an excellent teacher and super patient with them. Just 3 weeks into our lessons, my 3 boys can spell their names, say quite a few phrases, count to 20 and say the alphabet with sign language. Sure, we’ve cheated a little bit using a few YouTube channels, but we couldn’t have done it without Michelle’s expertise.
Michelle is a wife and mother of 4 girls, which explains her profound level of patience. She runs Lend an Ear Consulting as a one-woman show, but that doesn’t stop her from servicing all kinds of families. Whether your family is hard of hearing or not, she delights in teaching this universal language to all people. Thank God, our entire family hears well in both ears, but if you are hard of hearing, like Michelle is, she can teach you sign language as well. As a childcare practitioner, Michelle has a special place in her heart for children. Her light voice, calm demeanor and gentle spirit are sensed by children and my boys love learning from her.
As a preemie baby, Michelle was born hard-of-hearing. This experience, and the subsequent discrimination and other challenges she has experienced because of her perceived disability, has pushed her to create a way to break down communication barriers between those with and without hearing loss through Lend An Ear Consulting. One of the unique things Michelle did during our first Lend An Ear session was that she educated my children on what it means to be hard-of-hearing. She showed them her hearing aid and explained how it works and why she needs it. The next day in a show of what I think was empathy for Michelle, my youngest son Phillip kept telling me he couldn’t hear in his left ear and that he needs a hearing box. I love that she gave my boys this lesson and shared her compassion for people who are hard-of-hearing.
We still have a few weeks to go in our lessons and we will hate to see Michelle go, but if you would like her to come to your home to teach you or a family member the beautiful art of sign language, here’s her contact information:
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Hello. Welcome to BrownMamas.com a blog for Black moms looking to thrive while raising kids in this hectic world and the headquarters for Pittsburgh Brown Mamas, a Pittsburgh support group for Black moms. Here I write about raising my three boys, living in and loving Pittsburgh, dating my husband, gardening and all kinds of other stuff. Thanks for visiting. Stay long & come often!