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.


T Kelley said...

Well put, as always.

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Good to hear from you again, Amy Kay.

As a hard of hearing adult, I can attest that I often overestimate my own ability to hear and understand. I didn't realize just how much I was missing until I was recently connected with an FM system. You are right that we (hoh) give others the impression that we are taking it all in. I'm glad you are pointing out to your son's teacher that this can be a false assumption that needs to be verified first.

Keep advocating, Amy Kay.

Joey @ Big Teeth and Clouds said...

Thank you for pointing out that it may be a blessing for me that I don't know exactly what it's like for her.

It hurts to know it's tougher for a hard of hearing child but it's all the more ammunition to take to that IEP meeting.

Hope you got some good points across to the teachers.

DebCNY said...

Nice post... It's not only good for you to vent, but good for others, like me, who can relate... and hopefully it will be good for those who had no clue - to get a better idea.

My son is 13 now... in middle school, and we still deal with this kind of thing and comments all the time...

Esther said...

Wow, that made me pause for thought... I have a totally deaf 14 month old girl (hearing myself) and I found your post quite emotive. Thankfully, she is probably going to be going to a deaf school but having found you I will be following your blog - I think it will be a real insight into my daughters world. Oh, and I LOVED your list of positives about having a deaf kid :o)

Amy Kay said...

Thanks everyone for your comments. :)

Anonymous said...

I am a deaf education teacher. Everything you said was so true. I hope your child has all the accommodations and modifications allowed. Does your child have a personal FM system provided by the school system? Please continue to be an advocate for your child.

slegg said...

Hi Amy,

This post is really great. It makes me want to pick my parents' brains to see if they ever received feedback like this about me. I was a very high achieving HOH 7-year-old with outstanding teachers but that changed as I grew older. Actually, people make comments like this about me now that I'm a working adult, in performance evaluations and such. It's a challenge to advocate for these kinds of issues. I think the biggest struggle is that a HOH person's disability is often interpreted as personality or character. Thank you for lending your voice around this important issue.

Jae said...

Beautifully written and your expretions were so heart felt.. thank you for making me aware!

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Shawna Lewis said...

Depending on what state you live in, there should be accommodations for your child that the school is required to provide. You should look into a 504 plan or whatever the equivalent is in your state or county. There should be no excuse for not insuring your kiddo's success!

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