Game-Changer … Will He Make It?, Part II of III

Game-Changer … Will He Make It?, Part II of III
By Monette Benoit, All Rights Reserved.
March 2013

Part I began: During an errand to a home improvement center, I witnessed a “game-changing moment,” in my opinion. It unfolded before my ears – and my eyes. Then I was gifted with an opportunity.

I needed a tool. I walked with purpose. After seeing me repeatedly strolling the same aisle, an employee asked me what I was seeking.

He said, “That’s not here! It’s the only tool in our department that’s way, way over there!” I asked for the aisle number. He said, “Follow me.” He was accurate with “follow me.”

We briskly strolled from one end of the large store to the other. I followed; he walked three steps ahead of me.

That was when I noticed a frowning employee approaching in a sprint, lips pursed. I stepped back. Yet my radar was up; I thought I saw it. I watched the frowning employee’s intense focus.

The frowning employee never took his eyes off the young employee’s face who responded, speaking into the air away from the frowning man.

Part II: The employee shrugged. Then that dude increased his walk until he was two steps in front of me.

I touched his right arm, startling him.

I asked if he knew the employee that he had assisted. “Nope. Started today. He’s just some new guy. Okay?”

I believe I smiled for the first time. To his back I said, “He is deaf. And he is way smarter than you.”

This news brought the employee to an abrupt stop. He stopped so suddenly that I almost walked smack into his back. Stunned, he made eye contact.

I said, “He asked for help. You never made eye contact with him. You pointed to the air. You walked away from him as you spoke. He cannot hear you. And he is smarter than you with coping skills you do not have.”

Then I paused. The daughter of a mother with elementary special education degrees and of a father with adult psych/counseling sheepskins, I had dropped the nugget.

If he wanted the message he would pick it up – or not. I thought given the chance, he might. And he did.

The employee now walked at my side. He spoke softly, asking, “How is that guy smarter than me?” Yes (!), he bit my info hook request.

Softly, slowly, I shared the man’s first language is clearly ASL.

I mentioned his gestures and his focused eye contact – how he “never removed his eyes from your face.” He spoke softer than one might in a building with raised ceilings and cement floors. He cannot hear his voice; he avoided being loud. When he, the deaf man, received the information he requested, he thanked you with a hand gesture – an American Sign Language thank you – clearly an automatic reflex to you before he mouthed “thank you.”

My new “adult pupil” looked stunned. “I didn’t know any of that. No one has ever told us. This is his first day! Will he make it?”

I paused and softly said (so he leaned in to hear me – again, teacher/coach focus), “He will have challenges. He applied for a job with no acoustical control – high ceilings without covering on heating, fan units hanging from the roof – and these cement floors … He has no sign interpreter to assist him when he clearly uses ASL to communicate as his first language. He worked with you using lipreading skills … yet you can now help him.”

Part I of III is posted March 2, 2013, on Monette’s Musings at and

Part II of III is posted March 17, 2013, on Monette’s Musings at and

Part II of III is posted March 29, 2013, on Monette’s Musings at and

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As a 25+ year court reporter, CART provider, author of NCRA test prep material, and an instructor, public speaker, Monette Benoit has taught multiple theories, academics, all speed classes, and the 225 homeroom within NCRA-approved schools and a community college. She understands the challenges many adults now face in our industry and schooling.

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