What I thought would be cool is everyday for the next 4 days. Introduce each one of us to the audience. I think getting to know us more might help you understand our choices and this journey. Today I thought I would start with the whole reason why we are here. Heath.
He was identified as a Connexin 26 gene carrier. What does that mean? Connexin 26 (Cx26) is a protein found on the (GJB2) gene and is the most common cause of congenital sensorineural hearing loss. Connexin 26 mutations are responsible for at least 20% of all genetic hearing loss and 10% of all childhood hearing loss.
In other words he got it from us! It’s an interesting fact but that’s all it is, just a fact. As parents you want answers and so we got our answer as to why he’s Deaf. Many other parents don’t have that “luxury”. However, it helped us just move on to the more important things, communication. But anyway, back to Heath.
If we were to describe Heath in one word it would be determined. He knows what he wants, when he wants it and how he’s going to get it. Many would say that is how all 3 year olds are. But to us, there is something special about him. We haven’t quite put our finger on it but there is definitely something there.
He loves puzzles, cars and trains. He describes them in detail and has quite an imagination on how cars and trains all crash and burn at some point. ha! It’s amazing to see what the brain will do when given unrestricted access to language.
He’s quite social and is interested in knowing everyone’s name. He mentioned to us at one time when I told him I didn’t know the Starbucks baristas name, everyone MUST have a name. I laughed and asked her and then Finger spelled it to him. We wholeheartedly agree a name and an identity is important!
We’ve taught him the difference between being Deaf and hearing. After signing that he’s Deaf he does the sign for proud. And we encourage it. The confidence we build in him now will prepare him for the challenges he will face in the future. We think he gets it but time will tell.
His BFF is quite the determined toddler himself and seeing the two of them communicate is always entertaining. What’s amazing is that their friendship is meaningful because they have a real language to communicate in.
Heath is a full time enrolled student in the pre-school program at California School for the Deaf in Fremont and is thriving. He’s got friends, a language and a support system to build a foundation on for years to come. He is truly a fortunate Deaf child!
And that is my perspective.