Monday, April 27, 2009

Steve's Headaches

For the past two months, my husband Steve has suffered ongoing headaches, which he's told are probably tension headaches. The onset of them seems to coincide with his receipt of the news that he was denied a scholarship he'd been counting on for next year. So far none of his scholarship applications have panned out, and we're looking at huge loans to get us through the second year of his master's program (and our living expenses).

The headaches make it hard for him to sleep, and sometimes make him feel sick, as well. During the bad ones, it's difficult for him to concentrate on his work, and he's getting very discouraged. He's not sure he'll even be able to make it through the program.

I'd appreciate prayer for him. Not only for his physical healing, but for peace of mind. I'm looking for work that's either very part-time or else from home. No matter what, though, staying here will put a huge financial stress on us for decades to come. We need wisdom and guidance, faith and hope, realism and optimism. Thanks for caring...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sign Language for Ethan

It was back in late elementary school that I first remember being interested in sign language. I don't know why my parents bought "The Joy of Signing," but they did and I'm pretty sure that sparked my interest. I didn't have any deaf or hard-of-hearing friends or relatives. We had no deaf ministry in our church. But something about it intrigued me.

I learned all the lyrics to a few praise songs. I started a "sign language club" for my friends at school (it never got very off-the-ground!). I studied the book and tried to learn as much as I could. Later when I was in high school and living in Nigeria, I had a few opportunities to go to a local deaf school there. I didn't remember a lot of sign, but I used what I could. It was delightful to finally put my second language into practice!

Now it's more than a decade later and I've hardly given sign language a thought. I used a few "baby signs" for Naomi and Josiah when they were infants and toddlers, but not many. My two-year-old, however, is severely challenged in the language department and I am being re-inspired to take up sign again.

Ethan is 2.3 years old and communicates great with me. He has awesome understanding, great eye contact, and huge desire to be understood. BUT his only word is Mama. He knows a few animal sounds, a few vehicle sounds, and that's it. He doesn't try to copy our words. He doesn't babble or play with sounds. He points, gestures, sometimes yells, and is often left frustrated.

I'm having him seen by a doctor in a few days, to try to get him referred to a speech therapist. I feel like I've waited long enough to see if things just resolve themselves, and nothing's improved. In the mean time, a neighbor recommended that I use sign language with Ethan. I actually had brought my "Joy of Signing" book to the UK with me, so last night I made a list of about 100 words that I use a lot with Ethan, and began to learn them. I've already used a bunch today, and am also trying to teach Naomi and Josiah.

I don't know if it will make a difference. It might very well be pointless. But I'm willing to try anything that might help my little guy on the road to communication.

Sunday, April 5, 2009