Signs of Love
updated 03/06/2000 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 03/06/2000 AT 01:00 AM EST
It all began when Josh's classmates started to spontaneously mimic his chats with sign language teacher Maria Harrison, 39, who translates for him at school. Sensing they were eager to learn how, Harrison set up a weekly choir that has helped teach about a third of the 190 students at Clinton Park to sing by signing. "I love signing so I can talk to Josh," says Hannah Oglesby, 7. "And we are lucky because we will be able to use this all our lives."
Luckiest of all is Josh, who, since the students began signing last fall, has become so excited about going to school that one recent morning he was up and ready at 4 a.m. He happily joins his pals on the playground and "will grab their hands and show them how to do a sign correctly," says Harrison. Helping them, Josh says, is the least he can do. "They are," he signs, "good friends to me."