A little bit of understanding

My husband and I went swimming yesterday and as I was labouring up down the pool (not a pretty sight I can tell you!). x There were a group of people that came in the pool, brought in by a carer. I could tell they each had disabilities/issues of some kind.

One of the young men in the group was swimming up and down and as he passed other swimmers he would make loud guttural sounds and put his hand in front of his face. Most of the other swimmers appeared extremely embarrassed and either moved or looked away. The young man occasionally got an embarrassed smile.

I too felt embarrassed and a little vulnerable, however, quickly realised that this was purely through my own fear and lack of understanding and that he could be deaf, and doing some sort of sign language. So (much to my hubbies embarrassment) I started chatting with the carer and asked if the young man was deaf and what was he saying. He said he was indeed deaf and he was telling everyone he passes that the swimming pool is dangerous and a hazard. I asked how would I respond to him to reassure him it’s ok and we are being careful. He showed me how to say, Ok! good man, which would be acknowledging his concern.

Well! You should have seen this young man’s face (he beamed) the next time he warned me of the danger of a swimming pool and I responded, Ok, good man. It was just so lovely. x Now

Now don’t get me wrong, I initially wanted to run (or swim) a mile, and sadly I even had the thought….. would he touch me, as his loud grunting and gutteral sounds felt intimidating. I didn’t know what to think, however, I decided to find out for myself and I am so glad I did. xx

I feel very grateful to this young man, who I will probably never see again, as he taught me not to jump to conclusions and not to run away from something just because I didn’t understand it and, of course, I now know how to say ok, good man in sign language!!!!!!!! – Leigh Jones aka ‘Charitycrafter’

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