You Think You See, But You Have No Idea

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Jasper, Alabama, United States

Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Different Day, a Different World

I had the meeting with The Board of Education and also with Cam's school. I brought along the information packet for his teachers and the other educators that were present. It went really well. Better than I had hoped. That was about 3 weeks ago. Everything has improved so much. Its almost like having another school, another teacher and also another child. I didn't realize how much it was effecting him. Cam is happy and learning so much more than before. Its so nice to see him happy its nice to see him enjoying school again. I feel so blessed right now. I never would have thought it would work.
The whole experience has opened my eyes to the fact that sometimes you can get the help you need. Sometimes people really do care. Sometimes the system works. Sometimes I need to let go of my past and realize the whole world isn't out to get us because we're Hard of Hearing. Don't get me wrong, this doesn't happen often, but when it does, it shows me what the world is capable of being. A world where being HoH isn't a burden, just a different way of living.

Note: For those of you who follow my blog you will notice this is the first blog where I've used the term Hard of Hearing. I've done a lot of research on the terms and its not that I don't still see myself as Hearing Impaired or that I will never refer to myself as such, but I will use which ever term fits my mood, after all its just a term.

It’s okay to be called deaf, hearing impaired, hard of hearing or whatever title you feel comfortable with. It’s when you limit yourself, put yourself in a “poor me scenario,” and degrade yourself . . . that will stop you from reaching your greatest potential and aspiration in life.
~Justin Osmond

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Hearing Impaired and Evacuation Papers

Cam and I went with my life long best friend (we'll call her Ruth) and her two older children, along with one of Ruths other friends to the Toby Mac concert at the Birmingham Jefferson Civic Center Arena. It was Ruths Birthday. We all spent the entire day together and had a fantastic time!
Ruth and her two beautiful kids.

On the hearing impaired end of it though, the Birmingham Jefferson Civic Center Arena was an ABSOLUTE NIGHTMARE! It saddened my heart beyond belief at the ignorance and callousness of the people who were employed at the event to help people.

But before that,,,

We arrived 4 hours early for the concert and stood outside with our children (imagine the pain of and waited on the doors to open because there were no pre-sell tickets. But, even that was fun...

Waiting, waiting, waiting...

When we got inside, Ruth, being the person she is and my forever friend, asked the floor manager if there were any seats for the hearing impaired or if they could help us because my son and I both read lips. They had seats up on a platform set aside for this sort of thing, but my son and I wouldn't be with our friends. WHAT?!? Okay so the fact that they couldn't set aside an entire section for the hearing or visually impaired and their entire group of friends, I get it, sorta, but the fact that they wouldn't help us?!?

If we weren't willing to to it their way, then sorry. Go away. HUH?

I told Ruth to forget it anyway, because we were early enough to get seats on our own. So, we go over to a section at the side of the stage that was filling up. Only to be told we couldn't sit there the section was closed. (I've been to concerts where you couldn't sit back stage so that wasn't all that surprising.) Ruth again asked if we could stay so we could read lips. No! Go over there, to some reserved seats for hearing impaired. We go. No seats. By this time the arena is full.

WHAT?!? You've got to be kidding me.

We've spent 40 minutes getting the run around and lost all chance to be any where near the stage. Up top we go. I know it wasn't my fault, but I felt horrible for my friend. If she hadn't been with us and tried to help us, she would have been very close to the stage herself. But as always Ruth wasn't even fazed by the whole thing, lets get seats and have fun!

I get up to go complain, because we got the run around. They should educate their staff on reserved seating, or the lack there of, and not send people on a wild goose chase.

The lady at the service desk tells me that they have equipment for the hearing impaired. HUH? Thats not what I'm here about. I'm talking about the ignorance of the staff. I ask to see this equipment, I wanted to see what it was that was suppose to help me in the nose bleed section. She digs around in a box on the floor that has written on the front of it in a marker, "Hearing Impaired and Evacuation Papers". Now you've got to be kidding me?!? What does hearing impaired equipment have to do with evacuation papers? How insulting.

after a few minutes of searching she brings out a amplifying headset. Again, YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME. What good is that going to do me? I read lips. No matter how loud you make a sound, unless I have something to work with,(facial expressions, lip reading, captioning, something) I can't figure it out anyway. What a waste.

I go back to my seat.

And sit. In the dark.

Everyone around me is laughing and having a good time with the music and praise.

I sit. In the dark.

Cam at 5 has learned to adapt as well. I look over and he is pretending to play drums by himself while his friends are engaged in the show... My little boy sits in the dark too.

Now I'm Sad.

Then to my astonishment what do I see? The section that was closed is now open for the second wave of people. They only closed it so the first half of the arena would fill up so when they let the second wave of people in they could find a seats instead of it being scattered.

I'm Infuriated!

Now, I'm spitting fire!!!

I go back to the service desk to write a formal complaint.

A very nice gentleman listens to my story and tries to help me. He sees the floor manager and stops him to see if he can help us find seats closer. The floor manager is irate when he sees me and says "I've already talked that woman! She didn't want to separate from her friends!" No I didn't and my son isn't going to leave his buddies either.

So, I go and search on my own.

I find seats behind the stage, but at least from there we can see the big screen.

I went back to get everyone. My beautiful hearted friend Ruth and our other friend and all the kids were thrilled with the new seats. We got to see the performers as the entered and exited the stage. Very cool. Thats why we're forever friends.

Cam never lost attention, and in fact during intermission he went to the restroom, when he returned he asked me if he had missed any music. At that point we were having a great time. The concert wasn't over until 10:00 pm. Cam was exhausted. (He is usually in bed by 8) He fell asleep in my lap during a slow song. I turned off his aids and rocked my baby for the last couple of songs. Only a hearing impaired child can sleep though a christian rock

Why is it so difficult to help us? Why does it irritate people that we need help?


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

For hearing aids to be most effective, they must first be worn.

I've been so appalled by what happened last week that my heart wasn't even into writing about it.
My little boy went an entire day at school without his hearing aids because his teacher had them on her desk...
Preposterous you say, but I am here to tell you it happened.
His batteries went dead at 9:30 am in the gym. He goes back to class, his teacher then makes the assumption that he had been sent to the office to call us. (btw, I personally gave her a pack of batteries and Cam knows how to change them himself) 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 1:30, 2:30, 3:10 his dad picks him up at school. When Cam gets in the van, he doesn't have his hearing aids...
She never bothered to call us, and it was so unimportant to her that she didn't even remember to give them back to him at the end of the day!!!!
Disgusting isn't it?
And Oh btw, when my husband went into the school to retrieve the aids, the teacher couldn't even find the hearing aid batteries that I gave her.

Let's just say Cam's School is in for A BIG WAKE UP CALL!!!
I have a meeting in the morning with the head of the Board of Education. If that doesn't make me happy I will go to the State.

If anyone has any suggestions, please feel free to shoot me any suggestions or links!