And Your Name Is Jonah Questions

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In the movie, And Your Name Is Jonah (1979), there is a family that is going through some tough times. Jenny and Danny Corelli (Jonah’s parents) are seen walking into an institution to pick up their son, Jonah. There had been some confusion on the diagnosis; it appears that Jonah was diagnosed as mentally retarded.

Jenny kept questioning and questioning if the new diagnosis was in fact correct, and was just dumbfounded. They could not believe that Jonah had been in the institution for three years for being mentally retarded.

They arrived at home where the grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins were throwing a welcome home party. They were just having cake and music was playing in the background and Jonah saw his grandpa dancing and he joined in.

It was pretty apparent when the music went off that he was deaf because he just kept dancing and dancing until they tapped him on the shoulder. After the party, Jenny and Danny were trying to get the family back on track and living normal lives, but little did they know it would be disruptive to the family.

The parents set up an appointment with an audiologist to determine if he was deaf. The audiologist informs the parents that she is not sure if Jonah would benefit from wearing hearing aids, just that the sounds would be amplified but not hearing clear sounds that he never heard before, so he gets hearing aids.

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The audiologist also recommended speech therapy. Jenny enrolls Jonah into a school but was informed by the supervisor there that they only teach the oral method at this school. Jenny goes along with this and Jonah is now attending the school.

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After a while, there seems to be some dysfunction in the family dynamics as the parents are struggling to figure out what to do with Jonah. There was a birthday party for Jonah and Danny; Jonah’s father bought him a bike. As Jonah is riding the bike out in the street, someone is honking at him to move, but Jonah is oblivious to what is going on around him. His parents are frantic and yelling at him to move, and the driver of the car hits Jonah, the accident was not fatal but did scare everyone. Danny and Jenny get into an argument because they do not know how to deal with Jonah’s deafness.

His father is clueless, not sure what he believes or understands what is going on and during the argument he leaves the house. It is now up to Jenny to figure out how to deal with Jonah and living life as a single parent with his younger brother and has applied for welfare. As time progresses, Jenny is trying to help Jonah speak and is having a difficult time with this. And Jonah continues going to school and is struggling during this time. During the movie, you can see that Jonah is attached to grandpa, as he visits him at work at the market.

They always do things together, even though neither one of them know any signs or any form of communication. Grandpa loves him and Jonah loves grandpa. One day, grandpa has a heart attack and passes away. And Jonah is not sure what to make of this, as he does not understand what is going on. Shortly after the death of grandpa, Jonah steals money from mom’s purse and hops on a city bus to go visit grandpa but he is no longer there. After he discovers grandpa is not there, he wanders off and shortly after that the police get a hold of him.

He is taken to a hospital and because he is unable to speak and was acting belligerent they strapped him down. As his mother finds out where he is, she walks into the hospital just in time to see him being strapped down and is devastated; she demands that they release him, as he is just deaf not retarded. But as time goes on, Jenny, Jonah’s mother, is taking him to speech therapy and sees a deaf couple with a deaf child. She goes chasing after them on the sidewalk to find out some information. They inform her that they have a deaf club and she is more than welcome to come and meet other deaf people.

She goes to the deaf club with another parent that has a child that attends the oral school that Jonah goes to. While they are there, Jenny and her friend meet an interpreter that explains what is going on and Jenny stated that teaching the children sign language was a big controversy. But after sitting there with the deaf group, she realizes that sign language is an option for her family as she is learning it herself. After a few days, a deaf friend visits Jenny and her sons in the park, teaching Jonah different signs.

Jonah did not understand at first but after a while he finally got the concept and wants to learn more and more. As they get near a pond, Jonah picks up an empty turtle shell and asks the friend what that was. The man said it was a turtle but it died and shows him the sign for that. Jonah had a flashback to his grandpa dying and now understands this. Jenny has decided to allow Jonah to enter a deaf school so he can learn sign language and be with other kids like him.

The movie that provided examples of the materials that were learned in class was about a deaf child who has a hearing loss. Most likely a sensorineural earing loss but it was never explained how he became deaf in the movie. It really devastated the family to find out that their child was not disabled and had been institutionalized for three years. Jonah had no clue how to communicate with his family and vice versa. At that time, the social worker probably would have done the same thing as everyone else. I am not sure how things would have been handled; although, I believe that they probably were not big advocators in stressing that the parents have the right to choose what is best for their child or they were never assigned a social worker.

I believe that in this day and age, there would be issues on how it was handled. I would ask the family what their understanding of the functioning of the human ear, what happened, what did the previous doctor/audiologist say. As a social worker, I would have advocated that the child needed a proper hearing test, and determine what kind of hearing loss it is or how it happened; for example, was it a disease like German measles or medications that could have caused the deafness in the child. I would ask the parents to tell me their life story, what they can remember or think of in terms of his deafness.

I think also, it would have benefited the family to have counseling support, to help them with their child and themselves. It would have given them more of an idea of what to expect. I would schedule home visits with the family to see how they were interacting with the child and assist them in learning/teaching them sign language if they choose. I would also counsel them on the pros and cons of attending public schools and deaf school. Education wise, it would be better to attend public schools and have deaf education classes in the school.

But attending a deaf school is better for the child socially because they would be around others that are the same; they can communicate and will not feel left out socially. Explain to the parents that the deaf child, Jonah, is just like a hearing child but unable to hear. I would encourage them to attend sign language classes to help them learn to communicate with their child and let him feel as he was part of the family. Allow Jonah to have the freedom to be who he wants to be within reason, if they have strict rules about things, and then they need to follow through with it.

But otherwise, let him have freedom as the hearing child does. As a social worker, I would work closely with the audiologist to determine what type of hearing aid would be best for Jonah and then discuss with the parents, and how they feel about this. As well as the primary doctor, as to keep everyone informed of what was going on in the situation. I would also recommend that Jonah receives speech therapy/lip reading to help him with vocalizations; also discuss if they would consider cochlear implants and explain how it works.

I would encourage the family to apply for Social Security Income (SSI); I can provide information for them if needed. I can explain the different devices they have for the deaf/hearing impaired people. They have closed captioning on televisions to help follow along with the conversations, have flashing lights for doorbells/telephones. They also have Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD/TTY maching), which helps deaf/hearing people communicate on the phone, and would explain how that works.

They also have vibrating alarm clocks with or without flashing lights to help the deaf people wake up, would also explain how that works. I would also refer them to Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) to apply and receive proper devices, as well as hearing aids for Jonah. I can set up for the family to meet other parents who have a deaf child/children to help them feel better, and they can discuss among themselves how they feel or what they believe and share with each other.

I would need to find out about the family’s health insurance coverage and explain that most insurance companies do not pay for hearing aids, batteries, etc. It would be all out-of-pocket expenses, would also explain that they can refer to DARS for any of these needs and that DARS would help them. If they have any questions or problems with this, they can come see me anytime. I would stress to the family, what they choose for Jonah would be their options, I am there to help them and provide information and to answer any questions they have.

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And Your Name Is Jonah Questions. (2019, Dec 07). Retrieved from

And Your Name Is Jonah Questions
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