Friday, August 31, 2012

K9 Sign with Dad: Communicating with the Hard of Seeing

Those of you who've followed this blog know that Ranger has learned several "words" in a shared gestural language called K9 Sign. See the first post in this blog for more details. This morning while I was throwing the ball for Finna my husband was trying to "talk" to Ranger in K9 Sign. I was highly entertained how Ranger replied.

To get the full picture you need to know a few signs. "What" is the pinky on the right hand moved horizontally left to right, "Is" is formed by moving the right hand pinky vertically top to bottom and "This" is made by pointing with the right hand index finger. I make the sentence "What is this" with my elbow against my side and my hand moving maybe an inch from the line formed by my arm. My husband is learning the signs and tends to make them very broadly. "What is this," when he signs it is the whole fore arm moving along with the fingers and hand. His signs cover feet rather than barely an inch.

Ranger was being asked to identify treats that "Dad" had for him. Dad had a handful of generic treats to which Ranger would sign "Food" by lifting his left paw up and setting it down. When Ranger tells me that I have "food" for that people in the park are packing treats his sign is very subtle a quick lift and place that most people don't even notice.

Watching Dad sign "WHAT IS THIS" Ranger obviously concluded that Dad must be hard of seeing because Ranger responded with highly exaggerated gestures replying "FOOD." It really made me laugh. When Ranger answers my small quick signs you have to watch closely to catch his reply but when replying to my husband's slow exaggerated signs Ranger answered in kind.

I suggested my husband go inside and bring out the video camera so I could record their conversation but he and Ranger went off to do something else.

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