Chatty child lives in different world to deaf family
Chatty five-year-old Jasmine Paull Martin is adored by her brothers and parents, but as the youngest hearing member in a deaf family she often feels like she lives in a different world.
Jasmine communicates via sign language with her parents, Vicky, 33, and Nick, 35, who she helps around the house for, but can often feel left out and like an only child when her family converse in sign.
But Jasmine, who gets extra help with reading at Lovelace Primary School where she is a pupil, said she would never change her family, whom she is fiercely protective of.
She said: “It is confusing because when I sign I get mixed up with the signs so I keep looking at my mum for help.
“Yes it does annoy me but I would never swap them. I love my mum. I share with my mum and my mum shares with me also. And I always give her a huggle.”
Mrs Paull Martin comes from a four generation deaf family, except for her sister, and said she was surprised when she found out her first child could hear.
She said: “I think it’s quite frustrating for her. I think she feels left out really because all of us are deaf and we all sign to each other.
“I feel sorry for her because she can’t talk and have a real conversation with her brothers. At the moment it feels like she’s an only child.
“When she sees my sister she explains everything to her but wouldn’t tell those things to me. I feel like I do miss out on things in her life.”
But while communication might be hard, the Chessington family put a lot of trust in Jasmine and continually remind themselves to do things others may take for granted, such as putting music on in the car and changing the TV volume.
And while Jasmine can be a huge help when shopping, and around the house with her two younger brothers, Bailey, three, and Romeo, 16 months, her family do not want to rely on her and encourage her independence.
Mrs Paull Martin said: “I do have friends that rely on their children but I really don’t want that. I have managed all my life.
“I really disagree with it; I don’t think it is fair.”
Jasmine is a member of Kingston’s Young Carers’ project, which gives children a break from helping their families and the chance to meet young people in similar situations.
Jasmine’s family said the group, which caters for children aged five to 18, is a chance for her to communicate easily with people on her own level.
Mother Vicky said: “She loves it, she’s really happy. Her world is there, she loves being with the people there."
During her time with the project Jasmine has taken part in a drama production, which she made sure her family could watch from the front row, with copies of the script so they would know what was going on.
Kingston Carers’ Network is a charity that has supported unpaid carers for more than a decade.
For more information, or to donate, visit kingston carers.org.uk or phone 020 3031 2757.