A couple of months ago I fell ill when I was home alone with Harry. My other half, Scott, had just left for work when I suddenly felt a horrendous pain in my stomach. I was on the verge of collapsing, so I curled up on the kitchen floor to stop myself from completely blacking out.
Luckily, Harry heard me fall to the floor and came straight over to see what on earth his Mummy was doing! He immediately knew that something was wrong and signed to me to ask if I was sad. I said, “yes” and used sign language to asked him to find my phone. He understood the sign for “phone” and immediately tottered off to find it.
Thankfully, my phone was within reach for my 2-year-old and he ran over to me with my phone so I could call for help. While I called my partner, Harry went in search of his toy doctors’ kit. When he came back, he listened to my heart with his plastic stethoscope and took my temperature with his wooden thermometer. It was the cutest little thing. He really understood I wasn’t well and needed help.
I managed to contact Scott, who luckily wasn’t on the train yet, and he was home with me in minutes to take me to the hospital.
I was having an ectopic pregnancy, which had ruptured causing serious internal bleeding and required me to have emergency surgery. I’m fine now, but it was touch-and-go for a little while. (You can read more on my story on my personal blog Lucie and the Bump.)
Fortunately, in my emergency, I was able to communicate with Harry using a mix of speech and sign language. He is my little hero and without him I might not be here today.
I think it is really important to teach little ones with a hearing loss some basic sign language for circumstances like this where you or they might be in danger. Children with hearing aids, cochlear implants – like Harry’s – or even those with normal hearing can benefit from sign language.
Consider practicing emergency sign language with your children. You can also teach others who spend time with your children how they can communicate with them in emergency situations. Who knows, they might help save a life some day.