September 16, 2011


Amid all the frustration I find myself dealing with, I realize that I need to take some time and give credit where credit is due.

It has never been my intent to use my blog to vent. Too often I think we, parents of deaf children, feel that raising a deaf child is a constant battle. That it is me against the world!! As my daughter grows, those battles become less and less. The reason, a wonderful staff at a humble school.

My daughter attends the local state school for the deaf.  By many standards it is not the best school, but anyone can learn from the hard work and dedication of its staff and teachers.  We have been there for, almost 7 years. I have seen many changes, many improvements.

We have a remarkable and dedicated superintendent that believes in giving our kiddos the tools they need to be successful. She always makes time to listen to my concerns and follows up to see that things are taken care of. We have dedicated teachers who work long hours to find new tools and new ways to encourage and support these amazing children. They take pride in what they do knowing they are doing something meaningful. Yet are humble enough to know they can always improve.

I am forever grateful for all they have done. Not only for my deaf child, but my entire family. Their love and dedication will be forever in our hearts!!

September 14, 2011


(All the comments in grey I have actually heard from other parents. They have said much worse. Thankfully I am a nice person. And "shut-up" is a swear word in my home.)

My family attended a local car show a couple weeks ago. We allowed the children the use of the camera to capture their favorite vehicle. My oldest took the pictures head on. He wants to see the motor under the hood, or the motor sticking OUT of the hood. My second child takes pictures from the side of the vehicle. She wants a good view of the "pretty" car. My third child stands back at the corner of the vehicle to get a good shot of both the front and side of the car. My youngest, well, we're lucky if we know what the picture is of.

"Well, all non-oral deaf live on SSI."

Everyone has a different perspective on what is right and what is not. I would never thumb through those photos and tell my child their view was bad, or wrong. It is their view. Their decision of what is best. Their end goal is the same: to enjoy the picture later.

"I knew that if my child was going to learn to read, they had to know how to speak."

All parents have a vision, their perspective of what they feel is the best method for raising their deaf child. Even parents with the same philosophy on deafness will see different ways to accomplish their goal: having an educated, confident child, who feels loved. Comparing notes is not a bad idea, but accept that your views and opinions may not be shared. Support what works, and throw out what doesn't. Most of all, show respect.

"You can't have a meaningful relationship without a voice."

I appreciate your "concern" for my child. Lets keep in mind that it is, in fact, my child. I am not abusing her by not forcing her to speak. I am not neglecting her by not putting her hearing aids on everyday. She is not missing anything by living in a silent world. She is beautiful, educated, excels in math and sports. She makes people laugh, smile, giggle and feel good about themselves. She is confident. She is amazing. She is mine. 

"You can't get a good education at that deaf school." 

 We chose to raise her "deaf". Do I wish she could talk? Sometimes. But then I look at her, and she smiles, and I know she is happy!

"Your daughter really struggles sitting still. ADD right?"  
(let me point out that she does not have ADD, ADHD or Autism)

April 24, 2011

LIfe for the Better!!

When we found out our daughter was deaf our lives changed forever. Not for the worse, maybe just for the different. But, because she is deaf, the captioning is always on, we know two languages, we drive 20 min further to church even though there is a building 5 minutes away. We can talk to each other across a crowded gym without raising our voice. I know way more about the ear than I ever thought possible. We go through more light bulbs than most families, I hear a few laughs at that one,  and we laugh every time someone says "Your house must be real quiet having a deaf child." Hahahah, little do they know, she is my loudest one. 

But there are other things, more significant things, that make life....... BETTER, having a deaf child. I now have a greater appreciation for those looking out for the needs of others.  An appreciation for a Scout leader who, with limited sign language, always makes sure my daughter is included in her brothers pack meetings. I have been  introduced to a community I love and never knew existed. Appreciate the love of a grandpa who struggles to wrap his aged, arthritic, fingers around a steering wheel, develop a bond with a little girl that is unbreakable. A family that supports and loves a little girl that, for the most part, they can not communicate with and a church that supports my decision in raising my child DEAF. 

I love the life my daughter has introduced me to. So while our lives have changed dramatically, it has been a wonderful, welcomed, roller coaster of a ride with all the ups and downs you can imagine, and I wouldn't change it for anything!

April 11, 2011


Our children's "Firsts" are so exciting to experience!  Their first bite of food, their first steps, first tooth, first word, first..........   As parents we all experience those firsts.  Then we have those "other" firsts. You know, the ones that mean something only to us. The ones no one else understands and maybe even think are little bit silly.  Today was one of those "other" firsts.  And for us, this first was important and will go down in history forever. 

A couple weeks ago on Saturday morning our family prepared for General conference. This is a semi-annual event in our home. We stay home and through the wonderful advances of technology, we listen to, or watch, the leaders of our church offer guidance, encouragement, and inspiration. We had been talking about it for a few days, reminding the children that church was at home for the weekend. That morning, the children woke up, had their breakfast, gathered their homework given to them in primary the week before and went down stairs. All of them but, our 6 year old. She headed up stairs. My husband and  I figured she would be down momentarily and we followed the others to the family room. Sure enough, a few minutes later she came down the stairs, her arms full, with daddy's laptop. He asked her what she was doing with his laptop, and started to explain why we don't touch daddy's laptop. Without waiting for him to finish and with a very serious expression on her face, she responded, "We are watching conference. I need the interpreter! I don't understand them, they are talking. I need that (laptop) to watch the interpreter for church!

We were in awe! She is 6 years old. Typically we do everything to in our power to ensure her participation in things. We leave the captioning on, attend church with a deaf congregation, interpret for her when needed or hire interpreters. She attends a deaf school and has play dates as often as she wants with her school peers. We also attend as many deaf community events as we can.

On this particular day, knowing her 6 year old self would not pay a lot of attention, we decided to let the interpreter go, and just watch with the caption. We will never take that attitude again! This is one of those firsts.  The ones that make us sit back and smile.  She is advocating for herself, and it was wonderful!

April 1, 2011

My Dream is to be a Mom.

A readers comment prompted this post.

I grew up in a strong religious family. My dream was to be a mom. Maybe a teacher one day. But mostly a mom. It is what I saw and what I knew. It is what the women in my "culture" did.
Many communities or cultures have young ones that grow up this way. Becoming the examples they see.  For the most part there is nothing wrong with following these paths. But if you aspire to be more, and you don't know what the "more" is, how do you know to go for it. My concerns are for more than my child. My concern is for all deaf children who want to be something more than they see. They all deserve the same opportunities as anyone else. A friend shared a conversation with me that took place between her and her son. I hope she doesn't mind my relaying it. She was trying to encourage him in his school studies, and he said something like "Why does it matter, if I am only ever going to work in the back room at TARGET". If the only examples our deaf children have for work are hidden back rooms, why would they strive for more. I would love to see more deaf professional reach out and mentor our young deaf. Tell them to keep reaching and never stop fighting. They can achieve anything with the right support and encouragement!

March 8, 2011

I look better without bangs.

People ask me all the time if I regret the choices I have made for my daughter. My quick answer is no, I don't have any regrets. Then I will observe our friends in the deaf community. They are a wonderful group of people. One observation I have made is that the majority of those that are working in their chosen profession are verbal.  I am not saying nonverbal deaf can't have a good job in their chosen profession, this is just my observation in the area where I live. So it got me to thinking, "Do I regret the choices I have made for my daughter?"

While getting ready for my day, I looked in the mirror to do my makeup and the thought came to mind that I look way better without bangs. My next thought was, "How I wish I could go back and not have bangs when I was growing up." I would have looked so much better in comparison. Now with these thoughts in mind, I could sit around and obsess all day about the "what ifs" of life, or I could live. I can't change my Senior year pictures to ones of me without bangs, and I can't go back 6 years and decide that raising my daughter oral is better.

Okay, so maybe the worst analogy ever, but my point is this, if we constantly focus and fuss over the things we SHOULD have done, we miss opportunities for what we COULD be doing. I love having hair that is all one length and easy to maintain, and I love that my daughter is well adjusted and happy. For now,  that is all that matters. If we come to a point in her path that doesn't seem to be working, we will find a different path that will work. We will continue to build her with confidence through love and support. We will teach and encourage her to advocate for herself and be humble enough to ask for help when she needs it.

We all have things we would like to change in our lives. But it is those very things that have made us who we are. If we made a different choice 6 years ago I would have a very different life, and I can not imagine my life without the many people that are in it today. They have all impacted my life in significant ways and given me experiences I cherish. So, to answer my own question, after giving it much thought I can say with confidence and no doubt, I don't regret it. It was one of the best choice we ever made.

January 26, 2011

Red Light, Green Light!

I am often amazed at peoples response to my child's deafness. As she gets older I see their reaction change slightly. However, I feel very blessed to be in a community that will embrace her no matter her language. Last night my family attended Pack meeting for my oldest child. He attends a hearing Pack as there are no deaf groups in our area. Everyone is aware she is deaf and a few know some sign language and can communicate with her.
At every pack meeting they play games. This is a favorite activity for most who attend. The game tonight, Red Light, Green Light. I am sure many are familiar with the game. I am a little concerned my daughter will not be able to follow the game. We give her a short explanation.  A scout leader starts off the game, he knows a little sign and she is able to participate without any confusion. My oldest was third and fourth to win. His sister got upset because she wanted a turn. Now, while her independence has, at times, been frustrating, I have always been grateful for her desire to be independent. She has no care or awareness that she is different. She is comfortable here. So, she asks if she can have a turn. Her brother makes an attempt to help. She tells him no. An adult leader steps up. I worry he maybe will try and "help". Then instead of "helping" her, he begins to explain to the 20 something children playing the game, this means green, he shows them the sign. This means red, again he shows them the sign. He turned the game over to my daughter, the game began. She says Green and they're off............

January 19, 2011

All by myself!

Tonight at bed time my 4 year old asks for a story. Not uncommon in our home. It is a nightly ritual in fact.  His book of choice tonight, "All by myself" by Mercer Mayer. We love the "Little Critter" series of books.  One of my children's favorite things about the "Little Critter" stories is to find the the mouse or frog peeking out on each page. He giggles over the mouse sleeping in the shoe.  We finish the story.  I kiss him good night and head to the next cozy reading spot. My 8 year old is up next.  She chose a 3D dinosaur book. Full of fun facts and jump out at you illustrations.  We finish quickly.  Hugs, kisses, and good night. Next my 6 year old. Her choice this evening is "Kites" by Bettina Ling. She is very patiently, not, waiting for me on the foot of her bed. I go in, sit next to her and open the book. I begin to read. She stops me and says, "All by myself mom, I can read it myself."  She then begins to READ to me the story of the colorful kites. With each point of my finger she correctly tells me the word and reads to me "Red Kite Flies". Next an orange kite. She pauses. Does the kite "Fly" or flutter like a butterfly? We stop and talk about the difference. She signs butterfly and flies the butterfly around. But the kite that is shaped like a butterfly "flies". I am so excited! I try to calm myself. I don't want to distract her as she reads her first book to me.  We get to the end. She stumbles with a word. I try to help. "No mom, myself." She finishes the story. High five and ILY kiss to the forehead!! She is AWESOME!!

January 15, 2011

Yep, looks like there is a hearing loss.

Six years ago I dropped my older children off at preschool and took my new born baby girl to her first audiology appointment.  It was a few weeks to Thanksgiving.  She was one month old. I was not familiar with the ABR test they requested, so I had no idea what to expect. We went in and sat down. They started hooking her up to little wires and sensors. I gently rocked her to sleep and hoped she would stay that way till the test was finished. I had no desire to put her through this again.  As the test began, I assumed the monitor would do something to alert us to what she was hearing. A beep, a screech, move, anything. It did nothing. When the test was over the audiologist looks at me and says, "Yep, looks like there is a hearing loss." Okay so, maybe not those words exactly, but that is how I remember it.

On my way out the door they handed me a folder full of information and a vague diagnosis. I left the appointment a bit stunned and went to pick up the children from preschool. While waiting for them, I bumped into a friend who asked how the appointment went. I looked at her and said with a catch in my voice and a tear in my eye, "She has a hearing loss". I stopped myself. I wasn't going to cry. She was healthy and happy. She has brought us great joy. No way was something like a hearing loss going to ruin that. I told myself I would not cry for the loss of her hearing. She was here and that was all that mattered.

When I arrived home I sat and went through the information the audiologist gave me.  OVERWHELMING!!! Where do you start? So much information. I noticed a business card attached to the inside pocket of the folder. It was for the early intervention specialist at the local state school for the deaf. I called her that day. We set an appointment for two months away. When she arrived she explained the ABR to me and said  "Your daughter has a sever to profound hearing loss".

And so begins our greatest journey........