November 13, 2018 3:50 PM   Subscribe

Anna Trupiano is a first-grade teacher at a school that serves deaf, hard-of-hearing, and hearing students from birth through eighth grade. Recently, a six-year-old child farted so loud in class that some of their classmates began to laugh. The child was surprised by their reaction because they didn’t know farts make a sound. This created a wonderful teaching moment for Trupiano. posted by Dr Ew (27 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

I just came across a reference to this in that Reddit thread too.

Highlights of the thread: Farts, some surprise that the sun doesn't make noise, toilet flushing is quite alarming to hear for the first time, ticking clocks drive people up the wall.
posted by figurant at 4:13 PM on November 13, 2018 [2 favorites]

My partner was telling me about this and cackling a couple of weeks ago via one of their friends in the Deaf community. They got hearing aids a few months ago and it's been amazing realizing how much it's made communication easier (although I really do need to pick up ASL). I confess I'm sort of jealous over the Bluetooth capability on their usual set!

When you think about it, though, it makes total sense the kid would figure that you can tell people to stop listening to farts because it's rude: after all, that's how vision works! Touch too, for that matter, and taste; if the kid is born Deaf, the only thing they've really got an analogue for is smell re: choosing to use the sense or politely direct it elsewhere. My partner adds that many Deaf people choose to believe there's no such thing as bathroom noises and acknowledging them is deathly rude--you're supposed to just pretend there's nothing happening, not tell someone to keep it down if it's loud or something. On balance, I think I tend to agree.
posted by sciatrix at 4:44 PM on November 13, 2018 [8 favorites]

some surprise that the sun doesn't make noise

I can see their point, actually. Visually, it's pretty much the loudest thing there is. It's a bit counterintuitive that it's also totally silent.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 5:15 PM on November 13, 2018 [22 favorites]

Random BBS history anecdote:

Back in the BBS days there was a higher than average representation of deaf people because of the crossover of BBSes with TTY services, and chat/text only BBSes were obviously really popular in the deaf community.

And local BBSes usually had pretty frequent meetups. Once or twice a month. People would do this to hang out but also pay the SysOp for credits for dial in time. And there were also BBSes that focused on deaf users and they also have their own meetups. And sometimes these meetups lined up and shared a venue, often intentionally because of the shared community.

The first time I went to one of these I was fascinated with how noisy the deaf BBS meetups were, and how noisy they were at nearly everything because they just didn't navigate the world the same way, and I'm just talking about vocalization or subvocals.

Pushing a chair in might mean an intensely horrible scraping noise because why would someone acutely deaf even be able to hear it? Had a few beers? Animated, passionate arguments in ASL can sound like a slap fight! Bussing a table can mean exceptionally noisy glassware or plateware! Even playing a coin op video game can be... much noisier and more enthusiastic.

Between the two communities it was kind of a known thing and injoke. I knew one really nerdy guy from one of the BBSes who laughed about it and would say stuff like "Yeah, we know. We're trying to take everyone down with us."
posted by loquacious at 5:20 PM on November 13, 2018 [28 favorites]

A friend spends winters as a host/staff at a state park in AZ, duties include leading hikes through the desert. Although she was aware that her hearing had been deteriorating for a few years, she didn't reach the point where she would benefit from a hearing aid until a couple of years ago.

The first time she led a hike while wearing her new hearing aids, she heard the first rattlesnake warning she had ever heard while hiking at the park.

Just the thought of all the snakes she hadn't heard while walking those trails in the preceding years makes my blood run cold.
posted by she's not there at 5:55 PM on November 13, 2018 [18 favorites]

This perfectly ties in one of my favorite all-time jokes. (background: I'm deaf enough in one ear - born that way - that it's a fun game to scare the shit out of me by coming up on that side. I mean not fun.)

Q. Why do farts smell?

A. So deaf people can enjoy them too!
posted by notsnot at 6:34 PM on November 13, 2018 [16 favorites]

“I know it started with farts, but the real issue is that many of my students aren’t able to learn about these things at home or from their peers because they don’t have the same linguistic access,” she told GOOD.

“So many of my students don’t have families who can sign well enough to explain so many things it’s incredibly isolating for these kids,” she continued.

Oh my gosh, this is a depressing thought. I'm glad that good teachers like Trupiano are out there. If I had a kid who I needed to learn another language to talk to I'd go get a PhD in that language or if I couldn't do that I'd find some way of being able to talk to them. You have to feed the kid and keep a roof over their head yes but talking to them is so, so, so important. If you can't talk to them what are you doing.
posted by bleep at 7:25 PM on November 13, 2018 [11 favorites]

the only thing they've really got an analogue for is smell re: choosing to use the sense or politely direct it elsewhere

Smell is my analogue for the experience of discovering something obvious to many people which you have a different experience of.

When I was a kid - around 10 or so, maybe a bit younger - my family was driving to my Grandparents' house when everyone in the car started complaining about the nasty smell that a skunk had released. Eventually, I got tired of the complaining, and said something to the effect of if the smell is bothering you so much, why don't you just stop smelling it?

Somehow, the conversation that followed continued long enough for me to learn for the first time that most people actually breathe out of their noses, and that smelling strong smells shouldn't require a lot of effort. I had no idea that noses could do all that.

Not long after that, I had my tonsils and adenoids removed, and my respect for skunks grew considerably.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 7:52 PM on November 13, 2018 [29 favorites]

The sun should make that Hypnotoad sound.
posted by BeeDo at 8:17 PM on November 13, 2018 [27 favorites]

If you can't talk to them what are you doing.

Learning ANY language as an adult is very difficult, and it would take more years of study to become fluent than you realistically have. That child is going to be signing a year after birth. Or should be, at least. So you get 1 year to learn the fundamentals, never mind speak like a native, which is what you want. And it’s not like you have people in your daily life to practice with. Most of us don’t have deaf friends to practice what you learned in class with. And that’s given that the doctors figure out on day 1 that the baby is deaf, and you enroll in classes right away.

I say this because my friend fostered a deaf baby for over a year, and she was really well set up for it. She already signed because her husband is deaf. That baby was as well off in a (mostly) hearing household as she could probably be.

The single father, who was trying to regain custody, was working multiple jobs to make ends meet and get his kid back. He’d take PTO from work to go to doctors appointments but he ran out of PTO, because she had multiple appointments (I think 3-5!) every week. He was doing his absolute best, but had so little time to learn a new language, on top of everything else. “Getting a PhD” in her language was out of the question.
He got custody back, and while many things will be better because of that, there’s no way his knowledge of ASL will be good enough. The situation had no perfect solution. My guess is that he’ll fold and get her cochleaer implants soon, which no one wanted.

Sorry for the rant but I hate the idea spreading that these parents aren’t trying. Maybe some aren’t, but I’m sure a lot are. Raising a deaf baby as hearing parents is just an incredibly difficult situation, exacerbated to the point of impossibility, of course, if you’re poor.

(I know, I know. The post is about farts. I swear I laughed.)
posted by greermahoney at 8:52 PM on November 13, 2018 [29 favorites]

If you can't talk to them what are you doing.

greermahoney has it. Even for families that are well off, it is exceptionally difficult. Be kind.

As for the article, I saw this previously on Facebook. I think I'm the only person who didn't find it funny. The Deaf community has a lot of hearing people pointing fingers and finding humor in the very fact that they are deaf - even well-meaning teachers. I find it offensive.
posted by Toddles at 9:18 PM on November 13, 2018 [6 favorites]

My partner adds that many Deaf people choose to believe there's no such thing as bathroom noises and acknowledging them is deathly rude--you're supposed to just pretend there's nothing happening, not tell someone to keep it down if it's loud or something.

This is totally Deaf culture to me. The thing at Gallaudet of "oh, your next door neighbor is playing loud music at night and you can't sleep? Huh, that does sound like a bummer oh well what can you do :shrug:" is so lovely to discover for the first time as a deaf person who is used to living in - and adapting to - a hearing world. And hearing grad students do generally get used to it or find workarounds eventually, but watching the learning curve is beautiful.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 11:14 PM on November 13, 2018 [3 favorites]

The school for the deaf where I spent a while volunteering offers, like the one in the article, services for deaf/hard of hearing kids from birth up. The baby classes (up through kindergarten, I think?) are designed for baby-and-parent, so that hearing parents of deaf kids can come to school every day, learn sign language along with their kids, have a community, etc. This is wonderful--except, of course, based on the concept that there's a parent in the household who is free to do this. Single parents, households where both parents have to work, or where there's another special-needs kid or an elderly grandparent who needs care, etc. etc., good luck on your own.

(also, you mean people DON'T always pretend they can't hear bathroom noises? I was always taught that you politely ignore farts, stomach rumbles, poop noises, etc. etc. ... "acknowledging them would be deathly rude" sounds just about right.)
posted by huimangm at 2:07 AM on November 14, 2018 [2 favorites]

I mean, the reason I said I need to get on learning ASL is that my spouse has hearing loss from a condition that is not going to get better and may well result in bilateral deafness at some point in the future. So keep that in mind as I comment here, because I am very, very well aware of the structural issues that make picking up ASL or BSL or any other sign language hard for hearing people...

...but language access for children is and has to be a fundamental human right. Including and especially early language access. Depriving a person of the ability to communicate with parents is dangerous for that person as well as cruel: it prevents cognitive stimulation that children need as well as the kind of emotional attunenent that humans need to develop strong attachments to family members. The ability to engage in basic communication with others needs to be considered as the fundamental human right it is, and that goes doubly for children.

That isn't to say that hearing parents just need to try harder against those structural and systemic disadvantages. It is saying that we as a society need to acknowledge that the only way to make this right accessible to children and keep families unified is to provide support and resources for parents to learn ASL with their children as the children grow and develop. That means providing not just access to resources but also time and financial stability for parents and caregivers while they learn fluency. If we aren't willing as a society to do that, we had better be willing to reckon with the trauma we are going to inflict on both children and especially parents.

I have sympathy for parents in this situation, but my first sympathy here is always for disabled children above nondisabled adults. Yes, even when the only options that our society leaves open for parents are emotionally horrific: because adults are better prepared to handle that horror than children are, and adults are better at self advocacy than children.
posted by sciatrix at 5:09 AM on November 14, 2018 [3 favorites]

you mean people DON'T always pretend they can't hear bathroom noises?

In my experience men mostly do not. Do something loud in a public restroom and people are going to acknowledge it. '
posted by The_Vegetables at 7:01 AM on November 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

In my experience men mostly do not. Do something loud in a public restroom and people are going to acknowledge it.

Male bathroom experience confirmed. Even in the white collar-est of public bathrooms if you rip a jolly fart you can expect an anonymous someone 3 stalls over to chime in with anything from "Wheeee-hoo" to "You all right in there?" to "More room out than in, right?" or "Courtesy flush" and so forth.

Of course it's not an everytime-it-happens thing but, yea, there's something about the anonymity of the stalls and testosterone (or is it human nature in general?) that brings out the camaraderie in fellow bathroom users.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:09 AM on November 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

This... does not happen in women’s rooms, in my experience.
posted by greermahoney at 7:35 AM on November 14, 2018 [15 favorites]

Or in England in my experience where even acknowledging that another person is present in the restroom with you would be noteworthy.
posted by Molesome at 7:47 AM on November 14, 2018 [3 favorites]

I have seldom experienced that in men's rooms, either. Most guys are governed more by the "take the most distant stall/urinal and stare at the wall" philosophy. Now of course your friends might say something but that's a different story.
posted by atoxyl at 8:36 AM on November 14, 2018 [5 favorites]

I like the part where Kid 2 asks "can hearing people see farts?" Such a simple question! I wonder at what age kids fully get the difference between seeing and hearing. Naively I'd think by age 6, particularly a Deaf kid, but I guess I'm wrong!
posted by Nelson at 10:13 AM on November 14, 2018

Kid 2 clearly knows that seeing and hearing are different; they just don't understand the mechanics and only know that hearing people can perceive some things that the kids cannot.
posted by Scattercat at 10:43 AM on November 14, 2018 [2 favorites]

Oh my goodness, NO: in women's rooms, we all politely pretend that we're not doing anything at all, no sirree, just quietly standing in a stall making no noises and emptying no bowels or bladder. No commenting on any noise or smell. NOPE. I mean, making eye contact while washing hands is fraught.
posted by fiercecupcake at 12:23 PM on November 14, 2018 [3 favorites]

Japan had a problem when they switched from squat-trench toilets to modern plumbing: most women would hold the flusher down so that the sound of the escaping water would mask the sound of, well, their water. It was a major environmental problem on an island nation where water management is actually a pretty big problem.

The solution was that some water closets in Japan will still have little devices on the wall that make waterfall sounds so you can avoid the embarrassment of someone hearing you tinkle.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 12:51 PM on November 14, 2018

It should at least play some Peer Gynt Op. 23 when it comes up in the morning.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 3:18 PM on November 14, 2018

The Koan- A Short Story
posted by homunculus at 9:52 AM on November 19, 2018

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