Picture day at school can be every kid’s — and parent’s — worst nightmare. Now, along with the usual stress and commotion of getting the kids to school on time, they have to look nice too? It’s a tall order. But when little Kaylieann Steinbach’s school picture day arrived and her dad asked her what she wanted to wear, she had no hesitations.
Her father, Austin Steinbach, told us the touching story behind the awesome photo. Kaylieann has always loved Superman, who she calls “Pooterman” or “Pootergirl” because she has profound hearing loss in both ears and cannot hear “s”s. But that doesn’t stop her from loving a giant S on her outfit!
In September, Austin and Kaylieann attended the San Francisco Comic Con, and Kaylieann dressed up as Supergirl, of course. “[She’s] refused to take off her costume since (eventually it was replaced with a Spider-Man one so I could wash the Supergirl),” Austin told Babble.
“On picture day at school she was given the choice of outfits, none of which were Supergirl. She walked up, looked over each of her choices, turned and said ‘POOTERGIRL!’ and well … I couldn’t argue with that answer,” Austin said.
The adorable photo of Kaylieann proudly wearing a Supergirl outfit (and holding a Superman figurine, of course) beaming ear to ear in her official school photo has circulated Reddit and gained quite a lot of popularity. Redditors were especially touched when Austin explained Kaylieann’s deafness, and the journey that he and her mother are taking to help her start learning American Sign Language (ASL).
“She’s 75 percent deaf [in] both ears. Both her mom and I are hearing though,” he wrote on Reddit. “We just got the news from her audiologist five months ago and are learning ASL now and love it. She’s learning so much faster than us though! I love how much her learning sign has opened up her expressiveness and vocabulary. It’s so heartwarming to see her grow and become herself. We’ve started attending deaf groups and get-togethers once a month and it’s helping her confidence [in] signing tenfold.”
In response, users commented with helpful advice after their own experience with deafness. Reddit user Fhyrestar specifically came forward to share their experience being 50 percent deaf, and what their parents did to help. Among other advice, 14-year-old Fhyrestar told Austin:
“Read with your daughter. Read with her a lot. Get two copies of every book you read with her, and have her follow along in the second copy of the book. Having a mental and physical representation of sounds is so important. If not for my parents doing this with me, I can guarantee you I would be a stuttering, insecure shell of a child. PLEASE READ WITH YOUR DAUGHTER. I BEG YOU. READ OUT LOUD. I FORGOT TO MENTION THIS ORIGINALLY.”
Austin also said that Kaylieann’s love of superheroes most likely comes from him. He even has a Batman carseat for her. “Supergirl and Spider-Man have always been her favorite,” he said. “She’s torn between Hulk, Spider-Man, and Supergirl most days.”
We love Kaylieann’s confidence and her love for superheroes. She’s definitely a superhero to us.