Santa learns sign language so children hard of hearing can tell him what they want for Christmas

Santa learns sign language so hearing impaired children can tell him what they want for Christmas

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - It’s a tradition for children to sit on Santa’s lap and tell them what they’d like for Christmas, but for children who are deaf or hard of hearing, it can be very challenging.

The group, Geaux Sign, hosted children from the Louisiana School for the Deaf, as well as community members at Past Time Thursday, Dec. 5, where the signing Santa was to bring a little Christmas spirit to those that are deaf or hard of hearing.

He may look like your typical Kris Kringle, with the boots, belt, red suit, signature hat, and a Mrs. Claus, however, this Santa’s helper has a special way of communicating with some children when they tell him what they’d like this Christmas.

Mike Owens traveled to Baton Rouge from Georgia, where he lives now, but he used to live in the Capital City, and taught at the Louisiana School for the Deaf. Now, he’s teaching in a different capacity.

“I’m an instructor. I teach Santas how to communicate with deaf kids, and they want to learn because they get in contact with deaf kids all the time, but you never know when they might pop up,” Owens said.

Some of his former students at the School for the Deaf also showed up Thursday night, with current students and their families.

“I told Santa that I wanted a motorcycle,” said Rylan Pilk, a student.

“Really, the point is we’re trying to spread awareness about the deaf community,” said Megan Wimberly, a teacher at the Louisiana School for the Deaf.

Wimberly says giving these children a way to talk to Santa is priceless.

“They bonded with him immediately, as you can see, and it gives me the chills right now. I have goosebumps and they were able to directly tell him what they wanted for Christmas. It’s communication. They have accessibility. That is the key word: access,” she said.

“Santa is going to drink a ton of cookies and milk,” Pilk said.

This year, Santa is bringing some early Christmas cheer and a direct line of communication between these little boys and girls, who he says are all on the nice list.

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