Sunday, June 21, 2009


The world is frequently an infuriating place. Take Thursday, for example. I took D. to OT; we got there a few minutes early and sat in the waiting room.

A minute or so after we entered, another mother and her daughter entered. The speech therapist who we see came out to greet them. It was obviously their first time, and the speech therapist asked the woman, "You're BeautifulGirl's mom?"

"Yes," said the woman, and from her speech it was immediately obvious that she was Deaf.

"OK," said the speech therapist. "So, I'm going to take her back, and in about 25 minutes I'll call you back to observe the last few minutes of the session and to talk to you about what we did."

The mother asked a few questions, the therapist answered, and then the mother signed and spoke to her daughter to tell her that this is the speech therapist, and you're going with her, see you soon.

A few minutes later, D. went with the OT to his session, and the woman and I were left alone in the waiting room. She had seen me sign with D -- we use basic signs, like "Sit in chair" and "Stop," and a handful of others.

"Do you speak sign language?" she asked aloud and signed.

"Only a little," I told her. "I studied a little a while back, but I've forgotten a lot."

"No, you're very good!" she told me. Liar. But that's not the infuriating part.

The receptionist called the woman over and said, "So you're the mom? I spoke to your mother on the phone."

"Yes," said the woman. "She makes my calls for me, because it's very difficult for me to use the phone."

"Whatever," said the receptionist. "Look, you need to pay $10 today, and then we're billing your insurance. So they'll mail you an EOB. Watch for it in the mail, and let us know when you get it."

Except that when she said all that, she was looking down at her pile of papers, thereby making it very difficult for the Deaf woman to read her lips. So the woman said, "I'm sorry, I didn't understand you."

Whereupon the receptionist sighed and began speaking as one might to a three-year-old. Which I found infuriating.

I told the OT afterwards, and I have a call in to the owner of the clinic, because, dude? NOT COOL.

And if you didn't find that infuriating enough, how about this? Unlawful discrimination rears its ugly head at Abercrombie & Fitch, home of clothes for kids who want to look like pimps and tramps. Anemployee in their London store was banished to the stockroom because her prosthetic arm violates their Look Policy.

Seriously, doesn't that just make you want to scream and throw things?


Mama4 said...

Ugh- that makes me so mad! My mom happens to be deaf and I see people treat her poorly all the time! I was always the "translator" as a child. I hope you let them have it!!! :):)

moplans said...

its more making my jaw hang open in disbelief.
good for you for making that call.

J is at a pediatric clinic that purports to serve the inner city. I have, more than once, seen reception chastising moms who clearly do not understand what they are saying.

Anonymous said...

Dear Author !
I with you completely agree.