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........