Yesterday we shared an article discussing Language Deprivation Syndrome, exploring its consequences and highlighting the benefits of early sign language exposure for Deaf and Hard of Hearing children.
Today we wanted to share with you a moving episode of New Amsterdam, a captivating medical drama. This particular episode, titled "Give Me a Sign," beautifully underscores the significance of communication for individuals with hearing differences.
In this episode (Season 5, Episode 6), we meet Jael, a five-year-old deaf boy. Jael's parents reveal he lost his hearing at 12 months due to illness. They were advised against teaching him Sign Language, believing it might hinder speech development. Despite their efforts, Jael's vocabulary remains limited, causing frustration and isolation.
Dr. Iggy Frome questions this approach, citing that a typical two-year-old knows about 150 words. He diagnoses Jael with Language Deprivation Syndrome, stressing the critical language acquisition period.
The parents are surprised they weren't informed earlier. Dr. Frome criticizes the medical field's able-bodied bias and encourages them to consider providing Jael with a language of his own.
Dr. Frome introduces the family to Dr. Wilder, a deaf surgeon, showcasing her success in the oncology department using American Sign Language (ASL). He emphasizes how Sign Language transformed her life, leaving Jael in awe of its potential.
Watch the trailer here:
As I watched this episode, a flood of emotions washed over me. There were tears, disappointment, sadness, hope, happiness, and joy - a rollercoaster of empathy and compassion.
This episode of New Amsterdam serves as a reminder of the power of language and the profound impact it can have on a person's life. It challenges preconceptions and advocates for inclusivity.
Where to watch
Currently you are able to watch New Amsterdam - "Give me a sign" episode streaming on Sky Go, Now TV, Amazon Prime Video, or buy it as download on Amazon Video, Apple TV, Google Play Movies, Microsoft Store, Sky Store.
Language Deprivation, as defined, arises from a chronic lack of access to a natural language during the critical phase of language acquisition, typically the first five years of a child's life. This period holds heightened neurological sensitivity for language development. Read more about Language Deprivation in our post here.