A signing ‘Santa Jay’ incorporates ASL in annual Christmas videos
Santa Jay also keeps up with learning Spanish to be able to communicate with children that can not speak English
KOAM NEWS – As we celebrate Christmas, a big holiday tradition for some families is to take your kids to see Santa Clause.
But with the pandemic, many may not have had the chance to do that this year. So, a Kentucky man who goes by Santa Jay is hoping to change that.
“Everything is shut down, visits with Santa, my season has been vastly different I haven’t done half of the events I typically do and the ones I have done have been nowhere near the children.”
So he decided to release a video on Facebook as Santa talking directly to any child watching. It’s been shared more than 30 thousand times.
“So many things are different, it’s important at least for kids, they are able to see oh okay we still have Santa, there’s still some magic still some wonder.”
But there is something special about this jolly old Saint Nicks video. Santa Jay also uses sign language to be inclusive of children in the deaf and hearing-impaired community.
”To make sure you are accessible to everyone and including everyone and that’s a big responsibility. It’s very important I mean it’s important that no child feels like they have barriers that keep them from Santa.”
Dr. Hany Mikhail, with the Area Hearing and Speech Clinic in Joplin says it’s not too common to find holiday characters like Santa Jay.
“Definitely it’s very important so they don’t feel left out and if you’re a parent of a hearing impaired child they know all these things and we instruct them it’s a long journey when they are diagnosed with hearing loss.”
He says children that are hearing impaired rely on facial movements and lip reading, but with mask wearing during the pandemic, holiday traditions like visits with Santa have become especially difficult for those kids.
“It would be great to find a Santa Clause or anyone that can sign because a mask is a major issue with these children.”
He hopes to see more Santa’s follow in Santa Jays footsteps.
“If we can just spread that word around and make sure to make anyone who deals with hearing impaired children to know how to communicate with them and learn sign language it’s an advantage. But if they don’t then to speak slowly and clearly because articulation is very important for children.”
Santa Jay also keeps up with learning Spanish to be able to communicate with children that can not speak English.