I watched the film; And Your Name is Jonah. My initial reaction to this movie in the beginning was frustration. This boy was clearly not meant to be in a mental hospital for the mentally challenged. He had the full capabilities of a normal child and it was not so hard to see. I don’t understand how a child of his capabilities could be misdiagnosed as having mental problems when clearly the only specific he had was not hearing. It makes me so frustrated because a child who obviously had so much to say was trapped in his body without any way of expressing himself.
As the movie continues, his parents find out that he is deaf. His misdiagnosis had him in a mental institution which makes me question if this foreshadows or depicts how deaf people were treated before they are diagnosed. As if they were treated as if they were “impaired”. It feels like a violation and offensive to anyone that is deaf. I also felt controversial about the views of deaf people from ignorant hearing people and how ASL was frowned upon. ASL is a form of communication. How else would deaf people communicate when the English language is taught to us from birth? Individuals who were born deaf cannot learn the English language like a hearing person. If sign language is so frowned upon how else would a born deaf person understand what is going on in the world. Jonah’s parents farther along in the movie decided to get him hearing aids, but that only made the noise louder and it wasn’t clear to what was being said still. The doctors even recommended lip reading because sign language was frowned upon.
Even speech therapy failed. With all these signs of defeat, I felt very frustrated with Jonah’s parents. Sign Language is the obvious answer. If your child cannot communicate with you and clearly sign language is the best option then learn and teach your child. It was the obvious choice that would help better communicate a parent with their child. If ASL was taught sooner to Jonah there wouldn’t have been situations in the movie where communication was essential. For example, when Jonah was being yelled at from a car to get out of the road. He could hear led to him falling off his bike. Another example is when Jonah couldn’t understand that Spiderman was a “good guy”. He ended up putting his brother’s Spiderman in the oven to get rid of him. Miscommunication between Jonah and his brother resulted in this. Another example is when Jonah’s grandfather gets a heart attack and died. Jonah didn’t understand and searched for him after the funeral because no one could explain to him what was going on. Finally, when Jonah got lost and was taken to a hospital by a police officer–the doctors and nurses thought he was dangerous and crazy. Another example of miscommunication.