Home LOCAL PARIS North Lamar student thrives in new environment || Language barrier and hearing impairment does not stop Chase Barber

North Lamar student thrives in new environment || Language barrier and hearing impairment does not stop Chase Barber

by MyParisTexas
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Born deaf, raised in a Chinese orphanage and moving to the United States at the age of thirteen is all but amazing for those who meet North Lamar eighth-grader Chase Barber. 

 In August of 2017, just shy of Chase’s fourteenth birthday, Kacie and Clint Barber of Paris, Texas, arrived in China to complete his adoption.

“In China, a child is only available for international adoption until the age of fourteen when they ‘age out’ of the orphanage,” said Chase’s mother Kacie. 

Waiting on him at home were his brother Kallan, now a sophomore at North Lamar High School, and sister Kylie, a sixth grader at Trinity Christian Academy.

“We did not know any sign language whenever Chase became a part of our family,” said Kacie.  “We are all learning together.”

In spite of being born deaf, Chase learned to read and write Chinese.   “He communicated using Chinese Sign Language and now is learning English and American Sign Language (ASL). He works incredibly hard and his ability to memorize is impressive,” said Kacie.

Chase began his time at North Lamar ISD under the umbrella of special education due to his auditory impairment.  Auditory Impairment teacher Wendy Fleming began working with him and quickly determined Chase to be very bright and wanting to be in class with kids his own age.

A year and a half later, Fleming continues to meet with Chase on a regular basis. He fits right in with his eighth-grade peers at Stone Middle School and is on the same learning path with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).  Science teacher Stephanie Easton credits his communication specialist Amy Hudson and SPED case manager Misty Ford for much of Chase’s accomplishments in the classroom.

Easton said much of Chase’s success has come from front-loading.

“I stay in constant communication with Amy, sending her everything I have up front so she can communicate with me on the best way to help Chase integrate with the classroom and complete the lesson for that day (notes, labs, vocabulary work, etc.).”

At the beginning of the year, Easton gave Hudson a list of elementary and middle school science vocabulary words that she felt would be helpful to Chase.

“We take vocabulary cards and practice with pictures and signs,” said Hudson.  “I will sign something and he will pick up the picture that matches the sign, or I will show him the word and he will match the picture.”

Hudson said the hard part is that Chase is learning English and ASL at the same time. Using an iPad, they use a communication program called ProLoquo2 GO. She said that he may learn a word in sign language, but he may not recognize the word in print. The iPad really helps him to connect all the dots by learning the sign, seeing the word in print and seeing a picture.

Hudson said, “I can’t tell you how excited I get when I see him using this vocabulary in everyday conversations. Chase is a very fast and determined learner. He has taught me that language is one of the most important gifts you can give to someone.”

In learning to communicate with Chase, Easton said she always looks at Chase as Hudson interprets.  She wants him to know she is talking to him and that Hudson is facilitating the language barrier.

Easton uses a free website called Sign Savvy to look up words she needs to communicate to Chase.  Now her students use this to communicate with him in the same way.  This year on his birthday, the class and his teachers surprised Chase by signing the song Happy Birthday.

“If I didn’t have Amy in the classroom, this year would have not gone anything like it has,” said Easton.  “She really is the piece of the puzzle for how well Chase is doing.”

Easton said Ford has also been an integral part of Chase’s classroom success.  She, too, is in the classroom making sure Chase is getting the best and most accurate accommodations.  She assists with the STAAR and benchmark process by undergoing online STAAR testing, which has helped Chase be more successful on standardized tests.

Chase has many interests and enjoys art, running, soccer, cooking and playing Xbox. Although quite small for his age, he is part of the track team.  When track season came around, the coaches made sure they had a place for him to run.

“Chase is a great kid to work with, and he always has a smile on his face,” said Coach Leddy Carder who has had him in the off-season this year.  “The students love Chase and communicate with him however they can.”

“Chase can run all day it seems like, so we put him in the 800-meter race. Chase has not set the track on fire just yet, but he is competing and getting better every day.  He appears to be enjoying every minute of it.  Sometimes that’s all it is about,” said Carder.

Carder said that he uses an app on his phone to communicate with Chase.  “Chase will make Chinese alphabet symbols, mostly without looking, and shows it to me and it reads in English.  In turn, I reply and the app turns it into Chinese words.  It works.”  He adds that Chase has a great attitude and is adapting very well.

Chase Barber celebrates his 14th birthday in October 2017 with his new family.

NLISD Communication Specialist Amy Hudson helps Chase Barber prove Isaac Newton’s second law of motion, the Law of Acceleration, by weighing a baseball, ping-pong ball, marble and golf ball.

Chase Barber, top right, sits with his track team during a ribbon ceremony.

Stone Middle School track coach Leddy Carder congratulates Chase Barber on his run

Former Stone Middle School Principal Kelli Stewart, left, presented Chase Barber the Stone Star Student Award at the November 2017 School Board meeting.  Others with him are NL’s Auditory Impairment teacher Wendi Fleming, Deaf Ed Interpreter Lydia Nichols, his sister Kylie, mother Kacie, brother Kallan and father Clint.

Kacie echoed Carder in saying the majority of the time Chase is happy and has a smile on his face.  She said he is proud to be part of a team and that he has good friends.  One, in particular, Garrett Russell, helped and encouraged Chase in his running.

“His kindness really means a lot to me,” said Kacie.  “It was freezing one night at a track meet.  When they were called down to the field, Chase left his track warm-ups in the stands.  They had to wait about fifteen minutes, so Garrett removed his own hoodie and gave it to Chase.” 

“North Lamar has been great with Chase,” said Kacie. “This is a new experience for our family as well as the school. The teachers and administration have worked hard to accommodate him.” 

She credits Chase’s success to all those who have worked with him at North Lamar.

Sharing a poem from English class that Chase wrote about of his past life and his life now, Hudson said, “He said he is so happy to be an American and to have a family.  He said he used to wish he had a mom, a dad, and a family.”

“I know I was supposed to come and help him learn, but he has taught me so much more than I could ever teach him. He is happy, thriving and so appreciative of everything he has or gets. He has taught me how to love even through the difficulties. When it is hard, I see how he tries every day just for simple things. I thought God needed me for him, but it turns out that it was the other way around,” said Hudson.

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