A moment in the cafeteria

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In the cafeteria today it was loud and noisy.  Exactly as loud and as noisy as one would expect from a cafeteria. One kid, however, definitely stood out.  He was a small kid.  He was kneeling in his chair looking out over the crowd of children flowing in and out of the room and he was vocalizing at the top of his lungs.  He was hard to miss.  It sounded a little like barking.  Not imitative of a canine, but very loud, sharp vocalizations. I was subbing for another teacher and I was there, nominally, to maintain some sort of order. It was way over the top so I thought about shushing him. Buuut is a loud kid in a room that’s already loud and noisy really worth the fuss?  It’s a cafeteria not a library. As I gave the kid a second look, I saw he had a cochlear implant, so I let him be.  He seemed happy enough, so I don’t think he was in need of help or hurt or anything that would require a teacher’s attention.  Just by the look on his face it seemed like he was happy to see friends.  I’m also given to understand that this technology has difficulties in these exact situations so I have no idea what his perception might be, or how to communicate precisely with him if I tried, as in, “It’s ok to yell and shout so long as you do it a little bit quieter”.  I’m not sure that’d make a lot of sense for a fully hearing typical kid.  I wonder if the sounds he made made sense to him.  In his mind was he forming fully functional words and phrases.  Did he know he was barking?  Was this a quintessential moment of childhood where if you’re loud and happy it doesn’t necessarily have to make perfect sense? Perhaps a member more familiar with the deaf community can answer.  So, he wasn’t hurt. He wasn’t hurting anyone else, and one kid, even a much louder kid, in an already loud place didn’t seem like a huge deal.  Even without the implant I’d have probably let it slide. I am sooo not picky about these kinds of things.  But it did make me pensive about the how variable perception can be.  How even under the best of circumstances between (supposedly) reasonable adults, communication can be hard.  How we relate to each other, or sometimes not.  How isolating differences can make us (if his implant was off or nonfunctional for all I know his barking might have been the only thing he might have been able to hear) or how differences can bring us together and make us stronger.  Again, no point really, just kind of sharing a moment from my day.

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