Namine’s choir class had an hour-long performance to give, which was more than just songs. It was themed along the lines of patriotic and “founding of the nation” type songs (is there a single word for that?), but before they began, a couple other classes gave their performances.
First, Namine’s sign language class sang and signed a couple songs. Ever since it began, Namine has just adored learning American Sign Language; she still signs regularly and sometimes we have to ask her to speak as well as sign, because we can’t keep up. ✌️
Next, the Spanish class sang their songs. Namine wasn’t in this class, but not by her choice. She wanted to be in both the ASL and Spanish classes, but there is only so much time in the day!
As I mentioned, the choir’s performance of patriotic songs was about an hour long, but it really flew by. In addition to songs, there were also speaking parts and scenes different small groups of students acted out.
It’s not a new thing for a parent to be proud of their child for having a speaking part in a class performance, and I might be biased (just a little 🤏), but I want to give you a little background here, just so you understand how incredible this is to us.
I’ve mentioned in a few posts about how Namine’s love of sign language has been rekindled, but it used to be that it was the only way she could communicate. When she was a baby, she had a tracheostomy breathing tube and could not easily make any vocal sounds on her own.
It was a long and difficult road to get her to the point where she could get rid of the breathing tube. It required surgery: a cleft palate repair and a mandibular distraction (which is just as scary as it sounds). Some of her doctors even predicted that she would never be able to get rid of her tracheostomy and would have it for life.
She was able to be decannulated (a word which here means “had the tracheostomy tube removed”) at the age of two and a half, but then she had to learn to speak. Even then, she still was tongue-tied — not a figure of speech; the webbing on the bottom of her tongue, called the frenulum, kept her tongue from being able to move freely.
To help remedy this, Namine had another surgery, called a partial frenulotomy (or frenectomy, depending on who you ask): the webbing underneath her tongue was clipped. There was danger here; too much and she might need a tracheostomy tube again. Thankfully, that did not happen and Namine was able to enunciate more clearly.
Namine has spent countless hours in the hospital and clinics, enduring surgical procedures and speech therapy, working hard to improve her speech. I don’t believe it can be understated how amazing it is that she now is comfortable giving speeches in school, helping us to present in front of medical college classes, and has speaking roles in plays and performances like this one.