Deaf children get help with Santa visits

When Vesta Davidson's son got to the mall Santa, for once he was sure the jolly elf would understand what he was trying to tell him.

Children all over Canada have been lining up this month for a chance to sit on Santa Claus's knee and whisper their Christmas wishes in his ear.

But for Davidson's profoundly deaf son, and others like him, the experience is often less than magical.

But the Santa at a Fredericton mall has a special helper nearby to help kids who communicate with sign language.

"Today we didn't tell him we were coming here," said Davidson. "When he got here and saw that Santa was here with an interpreter, you could see the change in his eye automatically.

"It was super," she said.

Sign language interpreter Ginny Black has taken her skills out of the meeting rooms and lecture halls where she usually works to help deaf kids tell Santa what they want for Christmas.

"Deaf kids are very descriptive, so a lot of the stuff will just be a description of what something is," said Black. "It will be up to me to look at the description and try to figure out what the name of the toy is."

For families of children who can't enjoy the sounds of Yuletide, the interpreter is a real treat.