Thursday, October 21, 2010

Here Are My Shoes

Here are my shoes. Now put them on and let's go for a little walk.

My son was born deaf. We couldn't get the doctor to listen to our concerns until he was 8 1/2 months old. Now children get tested at birth. I am grateful.

For the first three years we worked to get access to ASL as a native language for our son. We had to work really hard but were faced with many walls.  Now ASL is taught as a second language option at many schools and parents of hearing kids see the benefits. I am grateful.

At age three he entered a bilingual/bicultural preschool. His class was the first class to go through this program. He flourished and we expected his education to only get better. To quote his IFSP advocate, Larry Fleisher, "It is a good time to be deaf." A couple of years ago we visited his old school. Seeing how great his old classmates were doing made me grateful.

We moved and he entered the state school in Washington. They did not have a bi/bi program. I asked for it and offered up his old program as a resource. I was told no, they can't, the parents would freak out. The year after my son mainstreamed at age 11 they switched to a bi/bi program and consulted his old program. To late for Haddy but I am grateful.

I found out about a curriculum that taught deaf kids English. I brought it to the school. No response just vague reasons why they didn't try it. A few years later they discovered it on their own. I am grateful.

I asked for an ASL policy at the school and the board told me again no because the parents would freak out. I asked for the teachers and staff to be tested for proficiency and again was told no because of teachers unions. Now the school takes the language used for instruction seriously and I am grateful.

When my hearing daughter was nearing the age of three I asked the school to allow CODAS and siblings into the preschool. No I am told because of some legal reason regarding state funds and audiograms. This year the school admitted CODAS and siblings. It is too late for my family but  I am grateful.

The state school we left is now on a path that will best serve the children. I am grateful.

For years I have known my son would benefit from going a separate path from the common well worn road. A parent is the expert of their child.  I find often our way is to off the radar for most people but slowly I see others understanding us and for that I am grateful.

Now we are entering the world of mainstream education. Again I am offering my opinions and people look at me with that "you are a mom look" and I hope looking back we will be grateful.

You can take off my shoes now, I can see your feet are a wee bit sore.


  1. I guess later is better than never, but I wish so many more programs would do it sooner rather than later! Later means too many more kids get damaged from improper education and communication!

  2. mel - thank u for the walk

    i am grateful



  3. Don it is better late than never!

    Peace to you my friend Patti, I too am grateful for you