Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Deaf Discount

This is something I started in November. I never got around to finishing it but the topic is important.

Today while shopping my son came a cross something he wanted to buy. The vender was very friendly and helpful. Haddy handed him a $10 bill which was the price of the item. The man said,

" I'm going to give it to him for $8" he then handed my son $2.

"My cousin is deaf" he tells me.

All my son's short life this has happened. He won a skateboard once after the guy who took his entry form  told me he was going to let him win. He always gets free food from restaurants, random gifts from strangers in public and various odd free stuff. Service clubs have special events for the blind and deaf which is lovely but.....

I am grateful for the generous nature of folks but sometimes I wish people would just treat him like other kids. He does not need any "help" he is not diagnosed with a disease. Every time something like this happens he just looks at me awkward, not really sure about what is happening. I have always taught him that he is just a kid who happens to be deaf.

I have the same feeling about school. Please don't pass a deaf child because they have a challenge.

I really don't mean to sound ungrateful. He doesn't get bullied or ignored by the world. I just happen to be a helicopter mom in search of a perfect world.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Just Kidding

I am  cleaning up my blog. I have so many posts I never got around to posting! This is pretty recent, I wrote it about a week ago...... hey,  be kind, I didn't really edit....

 Life has been really busy around my house. I get crazy every year around this time filling orders for Christmas. I was working away yesterday when I got a text from my son.

"Are you OK???? We just had a tornado alert!"

Me: "Tonado????" (yes I spelled it wrong, I have a smart phone that is hard to text on, my phone makes me look stupid.)

Son: " Yes! It is really bad in Portland and heading towards Vancouver. You need to let the dogs in!"

At this point I think my son is teasing me. I head off to the computer to check the weather. Meanwhile I hear thunder and rain pelting the house. Just as I find a weather report my mom starts calling. She has dementia so this is a common occurrence, real common, like once every hour. This phone rings and rings so I finally pick it up.

"Melinda, oh hi, I was on my way to the beach and a tornado hit the coast so we turned around. Are you safe?" (yea, I am safe but I need to get back to my orders if anyone wants to buy food this week)

So how did my son get my loopy mother in on the joke? I assure her all is well. She is in a care facility so I know she didn't venture off to the beach. I check the weather report and see a tornado did in fact land about 40 miles south of us. So according to the local news we are not having a tornado warning but a flood warning.  I text my son,

Me: "They canceled the warning, there is a flood warning"

Son: "Oh, well my school is in lock down and all the kids are in the cafeteria" ( lock down happens when there is a safety threat, the cafeteria is in the basement)

Me: "Well, don't worry and enjoy the drama"

After school I get the the whole story. My daughter tells me they had lock down at their school because of a "big storm". End of story.

 My son tells me a much more dramatic version. Some kids were outside playing and they saw a huge wall of a storm headed their way. They panic and run into the school. One is crying. (remember this is an arts magnet school, the kid was probably a theater student) My son was goofing off with a friend in theater class. (We will address the behavior issue at a later date)  His friend stops goofing and looks concerned like she is thinking about a grave issue. (my son is deaf and goofing off so he has  no auditory cues or information from his interpreter) The friend then tells him there is a tornado warning. He thinks she is kidding so he tells her there is an alien warning. Then another kid runs up and tells him the same thing. The kids are then herded into the cafeteria. He tells me the kids are all "freaking out".

So Haddy is shuffled off to the cafeteria. I learn about how some kids were praying, some were writing Wills for their families. I watch him as he giggles and relives the drama. I learn that when he saw my text about the flood warning he announced it and "forgot " to mention that there was no tornado warning.  He tells the kids he wishes he had a surf board while they freak out because they are in the basement.  Haddy is always joking. I learn that maybe my kid might be the calm one in an emergency. I also learn that somehow he can extract specific information, really specific stuff, even when folks are "freaked out".  I also learn he has entered the realm of fearless teenager. So the end of the story?

"Mom, art schoolers are so dramatic, the funny thing is they haven't really had to deal with anything"

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Mom, I Miss Deaf Culture

My son is thirteen and mainstreamed full time. A few years back I would have never imagined that. I am a big advocate for bi/bi education and allowing deaf kids to be involved in deaf culture. I wanted my son to learn language in a natural visual way. I thought I was doing everything right. Same old story.

As he grew he out paced his peers which brought on the dilemma of what to do with him. He didn't fit in with his own culture. The other kids didn't go home to a family that signed. The other families didn't do what we do. We are a needle in a hay stack.

He is now at a charter art school. It is a huge deal that he got in. He scored 90% on his state reading test last year...... whoopee. By the way I hate those tests. The thing that kills me is he is Deaf.

So every day he goes to school. He puts up with so much crap just to get information. I get so frustrated but he just moves on. Yes, he has friends but they use a text screen and home signs to communicate. Maybe some folks think that is character building but I know as a child I was able to have open free conversations.. one third of his new education involves music. Did I mention he is really deaf?

Tonight he tells me he misses deaf culture. I have two reactions. One is relief. One is sadness. I am relieved he still has roots with the deaf community. He will always find it. Maybe I am relieved because we invested everything in that. I am sad because he doesn't have the access he once did.

My kid is much smarter than me. He tells me he just needs a week. He just needs to see his old friends. He tells me he loves his new school because he is an artist. His plan is to make a documentary. He will tell the world what it is like to be deaf. He wants to make a film about the world of being a deaf kid from all angles. He is planning this so he can go to WSD and see his friends. He is also planning this to teach hearing people that deaf people have a different way of socializing, communicating and being..

So he tells me he will ask for the support of his two favorite teachers. He tells me that a friend in college already volunteered to direct.

So it is 4 am and I am done writing this post. If you are a mom you understand why I am awake.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My Travels Through The Aging Mind

I feel like I have deaf education pretty well covered in my life. Research, workshops, networking, moving, advocating  and parenting. Yep, got that covered. Now after all that hard work we can rest just a bit and enjoy the ride. Live a normal life. Not worry so much.

Well lets not get too comfortable. My mother has dementia.

Mom is sick.. the hours spent serving a deaf son are now spent serving a ......... very sick person. The bean bags we chucked past Haddy don't matter here.

The other day he jumped out of my car mad, I wanted to chuck the brush at him, I didn't because we are still connected at the hip.

So the new topic is,

How do you get your  Deaf kids attention? I have an entire list ....