Monday, September 14, 2009

The Story Begins

Over the years I have noticed our stories for the most part begin the same. If you were a hearing parent of a deaf child 12 years ago your child most likely was not screened at birth. You probably had no back round to reference in regards to deafness and chances are you had never met a deaf person. You enjoyed your sweet little baby and bragged about how he would sleep through anything. My favorite was how I could vacuum and he wouldn't stir. He was healthy and happy.

Around 3 or 4 months you start to notice something but can't really put your finger on it. Sometimes he doesn't respond. At 4 1/2 months you tell your pediatrician you are not sure if he hears everything. The seasoned professional pulls a set of keys from his pocket, dangle them just to the side of the child's head and your clever little one turns his head to the keys. The doctor then tells you to stop reading parenting books and enjoy your baby.

Eventually you convince someone to test his hearing. You wait for a month or two before they can fit you in for an ABR. This is the first of a trillion anachronisms you will learn. While you wait you almost decide to cancel the test because your baby seems to respond to sound. You later find out he is using vibration air current and visual cues to navigate daily life. You go to the test. The results tell you your child has a profound hearing loss. The audiologist hands you some cards and a brochure or two. You are stunned and confused. You ask what you should do. The well meaning professional tells you to get hearing aides fast and do not sign because it will slow the potential for speech. They tell you there is a great oral program in town.

You walk out of that building and this is where we are all left to pick a path.

12 years ago.....

I was at work when my son had his ABR. He was 10 1/2 months old. I was working on a TV show and we were shooting at a distant location meaning no cell reception. There was one pay phone a van ride from the set. I had 30 minutes for lunch so I told my husband to be waiting by the phone. I had a hard time pulling a teamster from the catering truck to drive me to the phone, 20 minutes into my lunch I got a ride. When we arrived a producer was using the phone. I waited, and waited finally with 7 minutes left I got my chance. My husband answered. He told me the news. I had more than 7 hours of work ahead of me.We were shooting at night so I tossed on some sun glasses and sat on set quietly cried. Nobody noticed so I just spent the whole night sitting in my chair rolling the word deaf around in my numb brain.

The next morning was Saturday so we couldn't call any of the numbers on the cards. We felt like the world had caved in but didn't know why. After staring at each other on the couch for 2 hours we decided to go to Barnes and Noble and buy every book we could find.


He finished his fourth day at his new school. Last week they accidentally put him in the grade level math class. They also sent in a special ed staff member to observe him. Hayden raised his hand and told them there was a mistake. He needed to be in the advanced class. He then asked to read in the back of the class until they worked it out. Well I sent his math evals over and they moved him up to the advanced class and the Special Ed teacher felt really bad, problem solved. Other than that it has been so terrific. The staff is awesome and everyone is so friendly. The school district got 2 really qualified interpreters we couldn't be happier. The school is hard to get into so we were nervous about his chances. Over 400 kids apply and there were only 95 openings. This is a public arts school kinda like the school in "Fame" .

So four days in and he loves it. The only class that is a wee bit on the not so happy side is dance. The reason for this is the work is really hard and he isn't the most athletic kid. I am sure once he gets in shape it will get easier. He has made 3 friends and the kids taking ASL love hanging out with him. Funny when I pick him up all these kids are trying to get his attention to say hi. This is an awesome group of kids we feel so lucky that this school exists.The best part according to him is the vending machines in the cafeteria. As of today his favorite classes are English and World Studies.


  1. Nice to connect with another parent-- looking forward to reading more. :)