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The Sign Language Surprise that Delighted a Young Boy at Disneyland

The happiest place on Earth just got happier, particularly for one little deaf boy who was thrilled when Mickey and Minnie surprised him by speaking in sign language.

Delighting small children is Disney’s trademark, and viral videos of children interacting with their favourite characters are commonly shared on social media. One recent video which did the rounds was a little bit different.

Mickey and Minnie make use of sign language

The heartwarming footage, captured by Chantelle Fox, shows her three-year-old adoptive son in a special meeting with Disney characters Mickey and Minnie. The little boy is mostly deaf, and was offered the opportunity to meet his favourite characters during a recent trip to the popular theme park; a special treat organised by Olive Crest, a nonprofit that provides safe homes, counselling, and education for abused, neglected, and at-risk children.

With the help of an ASL translator, Mickey and Minnie were able to use sign language with the little boy, saying “It’s nice to meet you” and “I love you”. His initial look of shock and delight gave way to huge smiles and warm cuddles, as he embraced both characters. His case manager Katie Takeshita later commented that “He has never been affectionate with strangers,” preferring to be with his parents instead. Communicating in sign language brought the shy little boy out of his shell, to the delight of his family and onlookers.

Hearing Awareness Week – Sunday 20th – Saturday 26th August

This lovely snapshot of a little boy being able to communicate with his favourite Disney characters in sign language highlights the importance of awareness raising, and our attempts to embrace inclusivity. Hearing Awareness Week aims to do exactly that, an annual event in Australia that runs from the 20th – 26th August this year. One in six Australians is hearing impaired, deaf or has an ear disorder, so the need for awareness of these issues is something the organisers are passionate about.

Hearing Awareness Week is partnering with a number of commercial entities, health providers and community groups to bring these issues into the spotlight. Their website contains a number of free resources, including posters, fact sheets, information guides and media releases. For more information about Hearing Awareness Week, visit their website at  The Deafness Foundation and the Deafness Forum of Australia are also partnering in support.

The fact that so many institutions are embracing inclusivity is in large part due to the wider awareness facilitated by events such as Hearing Awareness Week. The results speak for themselves – happy children who feel valued and included.

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