Friday, December 13, 2013

Five-year-old CODA Spreads Holiday Cheer

Winter break has officially arrived for Portland State students! Here to help you get in the holiday spirit is Claire Koch, a five year old CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) from Toledo, Florida, who signed her entire holiday performance for her parents, who are both deaf.

Claire's parents posted the video of her performance after learning about the recent claims that the sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela's memorial was a fake. Her mother, Lori, said, “It became obvious that he was making things up. He was repeating the same hand movements so it was obvious he was a fake.”

Claire's father agreed. “It was just totally deflating for deaf people, like saying deaf people are not important. [Mandela] is a famous man who did so much for many people.”

Lori Koch's immediate reaction to the Mandela interpreter controversy was to send a tweet with mixed tones of pride for her daughter and dismay at the disrespectful signer:

“Even my 5 yr old daughter signed better for her deaf parents in an xmas play.”

Video commenters have noted Claire's impressive grasp on ASL, sense of rhythm, and enthusiasm. Her future as a top signer looks promising.

What do you think about all of this? Any thoughts on the Mandela interpreter? It seems that Claire Koch might be a tiny restoration of hope that the deaf community (and the hearing community) needs after the disappointing situation at Mandela's memorial.

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