You Think You See, But You Have No Idea

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Jasper, Alabama, United States

Friday, September 17, 2010

IEP time again...

Its simple really.
Being 7 is hard. Being 7 with a hearing loss is even harder.
Realizing that you don't hear what typical hearing people hear is hard. Realizing this when your 7, is nearly impossible.
Accepting when someone tells you what you heard is incorrect is difficult. Accepting this when your 7 isn't going to happen.
When your 7 you think the world revolves around you. When your 7 with a hearing loss, your disability is often misunderstood by the world.
At 7 your voice is small, your understanding is limited, and your ability to overcome is left in the hands of those closes to you.
Being the mother of a child with a hearing loss is hard. Being the mother, who was a hearing impaired child herself, looking into the eyes of your HOH child and understanding the tears and the struggles is even harder.
Sometimes I think it would be so much easier if I didn't understand how much it all mattered. I wish I thought that my HOH child making a 79 on a spelling test where no special accommodations were made for him was good. I wish I thought if my HOH childs teacher wrote notes that contain phrases such as: "If he had paid attention, I think he would have done better." or "he was working while I was giving directions." or "we read the story aloud together." meant just that. But it doesn't. For a HOH child it means EVERYTHING BUT THAT. It means he's hard of hearing. It means that he didn't know you were giving directions, it means he doesn't understand that he cant color while your going over directions, it means you read a story aloud in a noisy class room to a group of noisy 7 year olds and expected my child who can't hear well to follow and understand that story. It means YOU dont understand. All these things only mean that my child who can not hear well wasn't given the same opportunities as that of his hearing peers. These things only make me angry, because I know. I know how hard it is to be in a noisy class room with a soft spoken teacher and have that teacher blame you for naturally having the mind of a 7 year old. I know what its like to be considered "lazy" and "easily distracted" when thats not the case at all. In fact what is really going on is quite simple. Hard of hearing children adapt to their worlds, and have everyone convinced that they understand more than they really do. So. Actually the teachers don't realize they are the ones who are lazy, by not giving that little bit of extra thought. They also don't realize they are easily distracted by the fact that a child wearing hearing aids isn't a child that can hear. Hes a child with hearing aids.
HOH children don't know their limitations, they have to be given the opportunity to hear like their classmates. So! Before Cam's teachers can write such notes and I can except such grades, I have to know that he was given a chance. A chance, that's all I ask. Seems like a simple request to me.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Twenty dollars, seventy nine cents (aka $27.09)

I was at Wal-Mart the other day and I bought a couple of items. I get to the register, I get out my wallet to pay. The cashier tells me the total, (that I hear as $20.79) I get out the exact change because I don't want to break a 5 dollar bill for 79 cents. The cashier is looking at it. She counts it. She is puzzled. She actually doesn't know what to do.
Oh. I must have misunderstood, I leaned over to see the total on the display screen, I see its .09. Not a big deal, I gave her too much, I say I'm sorry. She hands it back to me, I give her back 20.09. We should be good now.
Yeah right.
You got a hearing impaired person here, who apparently cant read either. Poor cashier. (to her credit she was very nice throughout the entire ordeal.) I can see the people behind me trying to figure out what my problem is. I'm embarrassed now. Why didn't I just say I was hearing impaired? I don't know. Too many years living in the hoh closet. I was caught off guard I guess. Anyway, the girl says she needs more money, I know this by her gesture, still not really understanding, just guessing. So I give her a 5 dollar bill. Okay. That should take care of it what ever it is, lets just get on with this. I want to get out of here.
She still needs two more dollars. Finally the first thing I've truly understood her say. I get my wallet out, give her another 5.
Its done.
I walk out studying my receipt and it all becomes clear. She said $27.09. NOT $20.79
All of this happened because I heard seventy instead of seven. Two little letters caused that much agony.
I may not be able to stop it from happening again but I can keep from prolonging my agony.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

"All I think about is ears." How true.

I've been doing some catching up on a new blog I've been following Big Teeth & Clouds. I came across a sentence in one of her blogs that I think describes what it's like to be the mother of a hearing impaired child. All I think about is ears. Every thing is ears. Can he hear that, does he know whats going on, is he going to get hurt doing things that require hearing, is he being teased, are his hearing aids working, is his language still advancing at an age appropriate rate, does he really understand, he should be hearing that why isn't he hearing that?...the questions go on and on.
Now White Cloud and myself, our children are still young, one might think that as our children get older they would take over that responsibility of thinking about their ears and we could relax. I don't think so. Take my mom for example, she still thinks about my ears. She knows my hearing, or lack there of, better than anyone, probably better than I do. To this day, if I'm not hearing the way she thinks I should be, my mom will s
till ask me, "Are your hearing aids working, or are you just tired?". I'm 32 years old. I've had my aids for 30 years as of last month. My mom still thinks ears. I don't worry about what I hear. I just hear it or I don't. I get aggravated about it, but I don't WORRY about it.
Our children are lucky to have us. I'm lucky to have my mom. We are probably the only people on earth who will, after 30 years, still care if our children are hearing well. That's a special bond that I can only share with my mom. She worries about my ears, even at 32. Why? It's simple really. All she ever thought about was ears.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Why am I offended?

I hope everyone had a blessed and wonderful Christmas. I know we did. We had a feast with the family, drank hot coco, we sang Christmas songs, we watched old Christmas movies. Its been so much fun I almost hate to see it go.
As I've mentioned in previous post I love closed captioning. I was a late bloomer on this one, but wow, it's so nice to hear (or should I say understand) a movie. One thing I have noticed though is I hate it when people turn off the closed captioning. We have a much beloved room mate who feels the need to turn off the captioning when I'm not watching T.V., now I know what your thinking, I'm not watching it so what does it matter. Well that's my question. Why do I get offended? I shouldn't be insulted by this, but I am. Why? It seems irrational.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Life on the Planet of the Regular Hearing Kind.

I have a friend who had a sever sinus and ear infection that caused him to temporarily lose his hearing. Now he says he can empathize with my daily struggles.(he started a new job during this event, thus making his experience more dramatic.) What is really funny about it though, is I can now empathize with all the people in my life who are of ,the regular hearing kind, who have to deal with me. I mean, all the repeating, the questionable responses, all the times you talk and no one hears you....ugg. I must say it has been interesting to see it from this point of view.
Thank you to all my friends for dealing with my disability and having the patience, just to be my friend. I've always known my real friendships were few, but now I know it wasn't me, it was them.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Have I ever mentioned I do Theater?

I've always be a lover of Christmas.
I hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas season. I know I have really enjoyed this year. Due to our new economic status I have went really low key with our gifts this year. I've also discovered how to be a little more thrifty and this has actually been
fun. Not nearly as stressful as when I had money and had to find the "perfect" gift. No. This year has been more about finding the fun and the spirit of the holiday season. A very nice change. Who would have thought having less money would be less stressful.

What a difference a year makes.
Cam is doing so wonderful this year. He's made the A honor roll on all of his report cards so far. His teacher has been a blessing. His principal is wonderful too. They work really hard to make sure there are no communication errors, and with a house full of hearing impaired people that's not an easy (for those who may not follow my blog, my son and myself both wear hearing aids and have moderate to severe bilateral hearing loss, I've worn hearing aids since I was 2 years and 9 months old, my son since he was 12 weeks old.)

Have I ever mentioned I do Theater?
I directed another play this past October.
I've been doing theatre since I was in high school. I don't know that I've ever blogged about this. Theatre has been my true passion for most of my adult life. I've mostly been behind the scenes. I've been the director, the assistant director, the stage manager, the light and sound person, the costumer, the prop mistress, the set designer, and for one small night I was an actor. I generally won't work back stage during a production because, well, its dark and quiet. A HoH persons nightmare. Can't hear and can't read lips. Anyway, I just directed The Complete Works of William Shakespeare "abridged". It was a blast. The cast and crew were some of my closest friends so my hearing impairment was never an issue. How wonderful this was.

The cast and crew after the final production.
That's me wearing the ugg boots.
A very tired me

Monday, November 16, 2009

To hear or not to hear, that is the question.

I wonder what its like to have "normal" hearing. Some parts of it would be nice I'm sure. I just don't think I would like hearing when I'm used to silence.
Pros of not hearing:
For instance, when its time to go to sleep and I take out my hearing aids, or, when I'm taking a bath. I can't stand the sound of running water, or the sound of a razor while shaving my legs. I don't like the sound of a vacuum cleaner, nor do I like the noise of a mixer or blender. (I turn off my hearing aids before doing those things) Sometimes it just relaxing to turn the noise off. I like being able to just turn off my hearing aids when I want silence.
Then there are times I wish it wasn't an issue.
Cons of not hearing:
Swimming. When a doctor ask me to remove them. When I'm around water with my child (sprinklers, amusement parks with water rides). When your husband wakes you in the middle of the night for love. (nothing more sexy than "Hang on let me get my hearing aids", or better yet, "WHAT DID YOU SAY?!?" Or when you want to be able to hear your sick/crying/scared child in the middle of the night. Someones at the door knocking. Your cell phone is at the bottom of your purse in the floor board of your car. When you have to knock on someones door (you rarely hear "come in" or "go away" Movies. Telephones. Cell phones. TV.
Then there are so many more issues that don't even envolve just not hearing. They involve mis-understanding. That's a whole 'nother talk show baby.
Okay so the Cons out weigh the Pros of not hearing in my book. All I need now is my fairy god mother to wave her magic wand.
BUT. Then I wouldn't be me.
Maybe I would be better.
Maybe I would be lost.

Maybe it will never matter.