Claire Koch, 5, can hear just fine, but her parents can’t — they’re both deaf. Being the child of two deaf parents (KODA), she has learned sign language proficiently, and she’s not shy about using it.
Her kindergarten class in Florida’s Tampa Bay area recently held a holiday concert for their families, and while her peers cutely but generically motioned along while singing seasonal classics, Claire signed her way through while she sang so that her parents would feel included. Her signing was a surprise to her parents — and a delight, of course.
That Claire is an obviously thoughtful kid is wonderful. That she’s a thoughtful kid with an abundance of personality, poise, charm and humor is what will make you fall head over heels for her.
It also doesn’t hurt that Claire’s performance is coinciding with the revelation that the sign language interpreter, Thamsanqa Jantjie, who stood next to the prominent speakers at a memorial service earlier this week for the late Nelson Mandela has been called a fraud for his inaccurate signing.
“It was just totally deflating for deaf people, like saying deaf people are not important,” Claire’s dad, Thomas, told My Fox Tampa Bay.
Jantjie has since argued that he is, in fact, qualified to work as a sign language interpreter and that he experienced a fit brought on by schizophrenia. He claims that he was “distracted by visions of angels” that caused him to flail his arms incoherently. Whether or not that’s true, it’s a shame that the focus on a significant historical event has been hijacked by mocking commentary and that those in the deaf community who had been hoping to be included in the ceremony were shut out.
While Claire can’t erase the shame of the the possibly-fake sign language interpreter, fortunately she does cast a delightful light on other KODA, and for anyone who thinks that kids so young think only of themselves, have you seen this video?
Check it out as this delightful girl signs her way through a holiday concert and see if that doesn’t get you in a merry mood:
Photo/video credit: Lori Koch/YouTube
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