‘Signing Santa' brings holiday traditions to deaf children

By: Jared Leone, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Updated:

NORFOLK, Va. - Like most kids, Camron Ellis was excited to go to the mall. 

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Ellis, who was born with severe hearing loss and uses a cochlear implant, was one of several dozen other deaf or hard of hearing children Tuesday to see Christmas carolers and tell Santa what they want for the holidays as part of the “Signing Santa” event at MacArthur Center. 

“(Camron’s) just full of joy and having the time of his life,” his grandmother Temekka Ellis told the Virginian-Pilot. “He looks forward to this every year. This is our third time here.”

The Talking Hands, a group from Suffolk high school’s sign language class, performed “Frosty the Snowman,” “Silent Night” and other holiday classics, according to the Suffolk News-Herald.

“This is probably the only time these deaf kids get to see Christmas carols in sign,” signing teacher, Anita Fisher, told the Pilot

“For me, this is about the kids,” high school senior Ray Liverman, who took up sign language three years ago, told the Pilot. “I saw what this group was doing and I like the Christmas songs, so I just started in the class. I know it sounds sappy, but it just really warms my heart when I see the looks on their faces, because they understand the songs now.”

The mall also offers a “Calming Santa” event for children with autism and other special needs.

Camron Ellis, 5, wearing a bright red shirt and blue jeans, moved his hands, trying to keep up with the singers as they signed “Jingle Bells.”

“Music,” he said. “Yes. Thank you.”

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