We prepared for our next home visit. At this point we were calm, nervous, excited and afraid. We needed a plan. First we wrote out our ideas of what was important. What did we really want for our child. We did not think about his deafness at this point but rather what did we envision to be a good outcome for any child.
I wanted him to be happy through life. I wanted him to wake up everyday excited to go out and live.
I wanted him to look in the mirror and see someone he really liked.
I wanted to be sure he had the tools and confidence to try anything and work hard in the process.
I wanted a child who lived with grace. who loved diversity and was willing to at least see all sides.
I wanted a child who was strong enough to help others and himself.
I wished for him to be a life long learner and see the beauty in the written word.
I wanted him to know what love was, to find happiness with a partner .
I wanted him to know the joy of true friendship.
I wanted him to enjoy whatever employment he had.
I wanted to give him the option to live as large as he wanted.
I did not want him to be hindered by fear or self doubt.
I wanted him to feel safe and loved at home.
My husband had the same vision. It was really important to start every thought with I, it had to be about my needs and desires so I could push through and know our decisions were about him and not our own weakness.
We drafted up a list of services we wanted. We had decided to focus on a native language he could acquire it naturally, the only option was ASL. We could use ASL to make sure he got a blue print for grammar and structure of language. We would voice off when he was in the room and feed him as much incidental information as possible. we would introduce English through print. We would work on his speech. At this point we were torn between T/C and Bi-Bi education options so we needed more info on both. Here is what we asked for at the second meeting,
1. We wanted to meet as many deaf people as we could. So information about deaf events and any help finding deaf people of all backgrounds. We wanted to interview them.
2. We needed a deaf mentor. We wanted someone with the same hearing lose who did not depend on speech and was fluent in ASL. We wanted someone to take us to restaurants, markets and anywhere our son might go so we could learn how he would navigate the world if his speech didn't become a mode of communication.
3. Our friends wanted to learn to sign but couldn't manage a sign class. We asked for a private teacher to come to our home once a week for sign brunch. This was a class we hosted in our living room. I cooked a huge brunch to entice folks to come.
4. They told me the had a resource library and I had a long list of academic articles and books I wanted to read.
5. We wanted to visit the local school options.
What was so frustrating was we knew what we wanted but everyone moves so slow
She would explore ways for us to meet deaf people.
She would ask about a mentor and sign teacher but people don't ask for that
The library is so messy, she didn't know if they had the materials I requested
She would arrange for some visits to school programs
I look back at all of my mistakes as a parent and from time to time chuckle. If I could do it all over again I would teach my son to tie shoelaces before the age of nine. At his third grade IEP the teacher told me he couldn't tell time on a clock with hands....oh crap! He could tell you about the birth laws in China but had no idea what time it was. I was so freaked out that because we had set the stage so carefully for him to have a typical childhood we forgot to teach him 2 really typical life skills. He had velcro shoes and a digatal clock.
Hee hee, he can tie his shoes and tell time now.