Language no barrier for Deaf and hearing friends
OKLAHOMA CITY − It’s been nine, long years since Wilma Rehman last saw Jaime Lopez. The friendship that made them as close as family has survived double language barriers, a near-fatal illness and relocation to the other side of the country. In spite of the strong bond between them, Lopez, who is deaf, has never spoken to Rehman.
At their recent reunion in Oklahoma City, they communicated through a sign language interpreter who joined them, Lopez’s fiancé Amparo Amaya and other family members only a few days before Deaf Awareness Week, celebrated Sept. 21 through Sept. 27 in Oklahoma.
When they first met, Rehman, then age 21, was a certified bilingual instructor, working with non-English speaking students in the language lab at Clinton Middle School. When Lopez came to Rehman’s lab at age 13, his hearing loss had prevented him from learning English or Spanish, which was his family’s first language.