When The Deaf Child Is Ready!

For us ready means a lot. We are hearing parents with a Deaf child. Ready means a lot, didn’t I say that already…. What are we actually ready for, the journey… the life… the child? As we reflect on our last 5 years, we say… what has life been preparing us for, difficulty, adversity, differing opinions. I think all of it. Heath is a child confident in himself…he understands who he is and what makes him the way he is. He tells us when he’s had enough. As he says… I am Deaf… I am proud and yes… I am loud. It’s almost like he says internally… hear me roar because no one else will do it for me so I will do it for myself.

Ready for what?!? Ready for the world, no but seriously… he’s ready to take it on. Hearing or Deaf does it matter to him… No! He reminds me a lot of my grandparents on both sides. Determined to do what they wanted. Determined to guide their own lives and their own paths. Genetics… they are strong. Those same genetics say you will Be Deaf… those same genetics say… you will be Deaf and proud… those same genetics will say… Yeup. I’m Deaf so what! This has been the first time in 5 years when I said… Yeup he’s ready and and Yeup…. so are we!

So We Can Count… ASL style.

So I’ve been waiting for the day that my little was kindergarten ready…. one of the things on the list for all kids counting to 100 whether Deaf or Hearing. The joy you feel when your kid says all the numbers is just as magical as when they sign all the numbers. He does all the nuances of what a hearing child would do. It’s just so amazing. We’ve doubted ourselves many times every step of the way. But it’s little moments like this when we say…. Yeup we did the right thing. 😍😍😍 #katherinekovacs #ecefremont #csdfremont

The all Deaf baseball team!…. in Little League.

The all Deaf baseball team!…. in Little League.

It’s been quite sometime since we have blogged about Heath and his Deaf journey. Could it be that we are just a family trying to survive in this crazy rat race we all call life? Maybe. Or could it be that having a Deaf child just fits into our family dynamics and so our daily life is just that. Daily life and there’s nothing significant to blog about. 😉

However, we have hit a major milestone. The day your little person falls in love with a sport. It took us a few years to find what he liked but we think we’ve nailed it! Baseball! Whether he’s good or not that is quite debatable. He can hit the ball and so that’s all we ask for. Thanks to one courageous parent who rallied 11 Deaf children and their parents to form an all Deaf baseball team in a hearing league, these kids rallied!!

Is it a challenge…. Just ask their coaches. Teaching any kid the fundamentals of sports while they draw in the dirt or chase butterflies in the outfield is a task but, add kids who are visual learners and that adds a whole other layer. But, the coaches hard work has paid off. Look at these kids.

https://luciarogerson.files.wordpress.com/2018/05/img_5884-1.movWhat does this prove.. Deaf kids can! Don’t put our kids in a box of what they may not achieve. Don’t make the hearing parents feel like their kids will never have this kind of experience unless they fit in with others. The medical community scares parents into thinking that their kids options are limited. I’d argue that it’s the system that limits our kids! Not the other way around.

In the meantime check these rock stars out as they blow through the stereotypes!

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We Made Friends Along the Way. The Deaf Journey.

I made a statement to Heath that I would document his journey in 2017 every month.  However, I think when I made that commitment; I was going on a journey myself and did not know it, hence why I did not blog every month.  i failed at my commitment to educate hearing parents on the Deaf journey.  I guess maybe a year ago, I felt like there was so much to show about Deafhood, Hearing parents with a Deaf child, and our family in general and now that time has passed, I am not so sure.
Honestly, there is not much more to be said anymore.  The reality is… we are a Hearing family, who chose NOT to use devices to define our child’s existence, and decided to embrace everything about who he is, give him a Deaf identity, and allow him to fit into our family like everyone else does….awkwardly, whether you are hearing or Deaf.
I think the journey we are on as a family is truly just that.  A family journey.  I remember vividly walking into California School for the Deaf in Fremont and not knowing a single person and walking out knowing these two women, who would shape our journey as a family for the better.

Now we shared a New Year’s together with our families!  They are not only Heath’s Deaf Family but also our friends!  We are also blessed to have them all in our lives and we are blessed to share this journey called life together.


Our ultimate goal for Heath was to be able to have long lasting meaningful friendships with Deaf people and I think we have given him that foundation.  0-5 years old is critical for a child and I think that he is there.  He is confident in himself, who he is, and will be quite all right!
I guess the wrap up is… we just do not really have anything inspirational to blog anymore.  Our Deaf child is Five years old, fluent in ASL, has a Deaf Identity, is being raised in Deaf Culture, and Oh… by the way, has hearing parents.

However, really that is it.  ASL is Heath’s first language, it is the language of our home, it is the only thing he knows, and it is what makes sense for us.  As we move away from the controversy of devices vs. non-devices, we really just want to make sure of one thing… BE THE BEST YOU CAN BE, but in the end we thank Heath for giving us all friends along the way.

When the lights go out and you are Deaf.

When I started this blog I decided to write it from a hearing moms perspective about having a Deaf child and so this is my disclaimer today. I have no idea what it is like being a Deaf person or living a Deaf life.  But, something deep hit me a few days ago that changed my perspective again about what being Deaf might mean or resemble.

My 5 year old Deaf son is treated the same exact way at home as his 7 year old hearing sister. We make it a point to give him the same opportunities and interactions, no special treatment for anyone.  So as I routinely put them to bed something happened that changed me forever.

What’s my routine… well I turn on the hall way light, go into each child’s bedroom and kiss them good night as they lay in their beds. Usually there is a discussion about the activity the next day, mostly it’s me trying to get them to sleep so I can at least get in a few TV shows in before I pass out myself.  Depending on who wins rock, paper, scissors I go into one room first over the other. Usually it’s Heath who wins over Presley because he waits til she shows what’s she’s got. LOL

But this particular night she won. So I go to her room first. Do all the rituals involved there, turn off the light and then see ya tomorrow. Then I head into Heaths room, do the same, talk about who is driving him to school and then off with the light.

As I leave his room he starts to scream at me. Of course I immediately go back in. I sit on his bed and ask him what’s wrong. He said Mom, I’m scared of the monsters.

This was the first I’ve really heard of him talking about that. But it comes with the age in my opinion. So I turned on the light and I said ok, let’s look in the closet and under the bed. See no monsters, I tell him! It’ll be ok no worries. I turn the light off and say all good? He gives me a thumbs up and puts his head under the covers. Then, I hear him crying. So I head back in. This time I leave the light off. The light shining in from the hall way is enough to light up his whole room anyway!

But it dawned on me, when the lights go out so does all the communication and what he knows in the world does too. I can’t treat him like Presley who I can just yell to from my room…. go to bed! There’s no monsters.

When we leave his room. All connection to us is gone and in that moment I had just a slight little bit of anxiety for him. So I asked him in the dark, hallway lite room, as soon as my adjusted….Does it make you feel uncomfortable when the lights go out, your eyes are everything, and his little face said it all.

I reassured him again and told him again….. really, there is no such thing as monsters, I promise. Let’s get up and look together and this time we will do it with the lights off. We spent a few minutes looking around his room to ensure that we had looked in all the crevices. When all was secure he jumped back into bed.

In the middle of the night he came to my side of the bed and asked to sleep next to me…. I couldn’t help but just think…. of course! You’re 5 and your scared.  But even more scared when you’re trying to figure things out and you can’t see well and your eyes are the way you communicate.

The next morning, as I was fixing breakfast for the two of them I saw an intense conversation about how Heath was reassured, by me of course, that there were no such thing as monsters, while Presley felt the jury was still out.  Heath stood his ground and said he wasn’t going to be scared anymore with much conviction and confidence.

I couldn’t help but think that morning, without sign language, Heath and I wouldn’t have been able to have those countless moments the night before giving him the confidence to say in the morning, There’s no such thing as monsters!!! ASL has given us a language to communicate in and I couldn’t help but think about all the Deaf children who are language deprived and unable to communicate what their feelings are and I imagined how they could potentially be scared without reassurance that everything is going to be ok because they couldn’t tell their parents.

My advice to parents with Deaf children….Do not put your trust in devices, give them the language that is their birthright to know so they can thrive, be confident, and can express themselves.  So that at an early age you know what they are thinking and feeling, this way you give them the best that life has to offer.

This is my perspective.

Rear view Mirror Conversations: The 4 Year Old Deaf Experience

One of the things I always looked forward to with my second child was the conversations you have in a car.  Living in the Bay Area, California traffic is no stranger to us.  When we are in the car with our kids we do many things to entertain ourselves.  But when Heath was born, my husband and I were always sad about not having the same experience in the car with him as we did with Presley.

But was I wrong!  While in the beginning, it was challenging, now that our ASL has progressed and so has his, we are having many conversations in the car as if we would with our hearing child.  It brings joy to our hearts that we can have these same conversations with our Deaf child as we could with our hearing child.  We both are having the same experience that we thought we were going to be missing.

With rearview mirror in tow and not violating any legal laws, we have had many conversations.  Some are a follows.

Example 1 – CONVO all in ASL:

Heath:  Hey, we are going the wrong way to school!

Me: Nope, we are going a different way because the GPS is saying we will get to school faster.

Heath: What is a GPS?

Me: Well, it is a device helps me understand the fastest way to get you to school.

Heath:  I think you should go the way Daddy goes.

Me: Nope, I am going to follow the GPS.  trust me

Such a thinker! Here’s another example. 

CONVO all in ASL:

Heath: Why am I rushing to get in the car?

Me: Just get in…

As we pull out of the garage…

Heath:  I do not understand why we are rushing.

Me: Well, we are late.

Heath:  Why are we late?

Me: Because sometimes we just cannot get it together at home.

20 minutes goes by… closer to school.

Me:  Sorry, but there is no time play at school before it starts.

Heath: (With much distain). Mom, I saw you…

Me: You saw me doing what?

Heath: I saw you putting on your make up and all making your face pretty and now I am late for school, I do not get to play, and now I have to go just in the classroom without free time in the playground.

Me:( laughing ) I’m so sorry. I’ll be more considerate next time. 

These are amazing conversations that he and I have together without me worrying about if he can say any words or whether or not his speech is correct.  We have these conversations together in the car that I would normally have with my hearing child.

What is the takeaway?

You can do the same things with your Deaf child in ASL as with your hearing child…. Open your mind to the possibilities and make their world as big as yours!  You’d surprise yourself on how much fun you will have!

It’s Not Easy Raising a Deaf Child.

Why?  As I sat, down to write, this I tried to list the things that made raising a Deaf child difficult and when I listed them, they just seemed ridiculous.  While singing a song, having a conversation in the car and first words are all things we miss, the joys outweigh the difficult parts.  I guess we have not always felt that way.  It has taken years of getting to know Heath as a person and understanding the culture he is a part of, to not care about the things we used to put a lot of energy worrying about.  Adjusting your life as a parent to your child’s life is really something parents no matter what their child is or is not, do to accommodate that little person.  

And I guess the real difficult part about our raising a Deaf child with ASL only has been on us as parents not for him as a child. He’s had a positive experience being raised this way and it’s really what we wanted for him from the beginning of this journey.  But I guess even though we find these things I’ve listed below a little ridiculous, they are somethings people just don’t talk about.

We aren’t going to get “rid” of our hearing friends and so finding a balance of making time for our friends we’ve had for years and making time to make new Deaf friends has been a challenge. There are times when we choose to hang out with our hearing friends. Most of our friends children like playing with Heath but now that they are older it’s harder including him in activities because he doesn’t understand what’s going on. While Presley herself tries to make sure he’s included being 7 herself sometimes he gets left out. It’s a tremendous responsibility for her and so sometimes he ends up playing by himself because he doesn’t want to wait for her to interpret or he watches tv.  We are guilt ridden when this happens and we pay attention to him as much as we can. But it’s still hard.  It was easier when he was a toddler, babies just figure it out somehow together since the way they play is different.  Now he’s a little more aware of his surroundings and understands the differences between hearing friends and Deaf friends. 

Going to a family gathering and being able to communicate fluently with everyone and not being able to…It’s just sad! And for a family gathering that happens once year, you can’t expect 75 year old “aunt sarah” who you yourself only see once a year, to learn ASL fluently, it’s just unrealistic. And then there’s all the questions at said gathering…. why doesn’t the boy talk…. why haven’t you implanted him yet…. yada yada yada…. it’s all just so sad.  Oh and the ever ASL is such a beautiful language comment, even though I just spent the last 5 minutes telling Heath to behave himself and if he doesn’t he’s gonna get a timeout. Not any ASL poetry going on in that conversation. Annoying but sad since you have explain these things every year.  Sometimes you just don’t go because it’s easier not to. 

And there are just times when your hands are full and yelling to the people in another room is just more convenient and easier but your Deaf child is sitting there looking at you like…. I know you said something what was it.  Guilty! We are guilty of doing this and then after we feel guilty about doing it.  There are times when for Presley it’s just easier to tell us what is going on with herself than to sign it. So we let her. Guilty! We are guilty and we feel guilty.  Communication in our home is just one of those things where we have a rule. If a Deaf person is in the room, we sign. But we do break the rule with Heath and it sucks.  ASL isn’t our first language and there are times when it’s just easier to say it. Doesn’t make it right but we do it. 

But with those things said, I’m not sure I would change anything about our lives now.  In order to build a relationship with a Deaf person, you have to look them straight in the eyes. People don’t do that much anymore since we are all connected by our technology and by our devices. It’s easy to talk to Presley over the phone or in the car or even just sitting next to her without ever looking at her in the face once.  But with Heath, we have to sit him in front of us, look at his face and give him our 100% attention. We have the privilege of looking at him straight in the face to get to know who is he as a person. Looking at him straight in the eyes and knowing when he’s lying to us because his face says it all. Looking at him directly to communicate how much we love and care about him is truly unique and I’m not convinced we would change anything about this experience.  While it can be difficult at times it truly is a blessing to have him a part of our lives. He’s made us better people by just being him. 

My Deaf Baby Can Hear.

My Deaf Baby Can Hear.

MY FEB BLOG IS LATE.

Over the last few years, I have been seeing more and more videos popping up where parents are turning on hearing aids and getting a reaction from their infants when they hear the sounds presented.  It moves hearing people who have no idea really, what goes into that process to get emotional over the fact that this baby is reacting to sound.  In the spirit of why I created this blog this month or last month FEB!!  Is about the education of the hearing aid process from our perspective.

When the audiologist has told you that your baby is deaf after a series of tests, they then immediately give you the information on the hearing devices to correct this issue.
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The emotional state of the parents is fragile and so like most hearing parents they just follow what the medical staff proposes.  The audiologist begins the process for the fittings, creating molds, orders the very expensive hearing aids and then activation.   They do not recommend interaction with a Deaf person and they do not refer parents to Deaf advocacy agencies.  So far, all hearing people talking about what they are going to do with this Deaf child.  When this activation of the hearing aids happen in an infant you have no gauge of what that sounds means to them.  We as parents think that they understand the words that we are saying but in reality, they are just reacting to the sound.  Audiologists are able to identify the hertz and amps that a person is hearing accurately by an auditory brain response test.  But, in many deaf children their hearing fluctuates so there is really no way of determining what words they are actually understanding and what words just sound like gibberish unless they were hooked up to the device 24/7.

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In the meantime, the infant is losing imperative time in language development while all these professionals are trying to figure it out or to correct the problem.  Now, I am not opposed to these videos or the hearing aid process, if it were a standard practice for audiologists to require parents to sign with their babies while all of this was happening, but that is not the case.

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Parents are actually discouraged to sign with their babies, as there is the theory that it stifles speech development.  NO! NO! In addition, NO!  The language deprivation of deaf children in this country is a result of these philosophies and it must stop!

Videos like these without context must stop.

The reality is, children who do not sign and only use devices have to work very hard to try to speak with much exhaustion.  There are many success stories, but there are many failures as well.  Taking a chance on the language acquisition of a deaf child is not an option.  Here are two things to consider.

1.      Hearing aids cost anywhere from $2k- $5k, they are not covered by insurance companies and depending on where you live the price can change.  We experienced this first hand.  We went to one office where the hearing aids were $3,500 because the population in that area could afford them and would then buy them and all the services that go along with it.  When we did the research and found another location who would sell the same hearing aids for $2,000, we knew we were dealing with a business.  In addition, when insurance companies view these devices as an accessory and will not cover them in some cases, what does that tell you?

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SIGN LANGUAGE IS FREE, with easy access and no stress on the child.

2.      The Speech Banana: Let us talk about this for a moment.  If you are anywhere outside of this window, you will not be able to understand the words, without hearing aids.  Now, this is very complicated.  If a person has acquired language and if your hearing is out of the speech banana then you can probably make out the words.  However, infants are still learning language, they have no frame of reference to try to make out what the words are.  Even assisted with the hearing aids it is very difficult.  Now reviewing this table a child with moderate to severe hearing loss is at huge disadvantage.  Why?  Because they can still hear sounds, but even aided audiologists, have a difficult time getting the right frequency and decibels perfect for language acquisition.  Now many counter argue this point by saying, well then the child would be ready for a cochlear implant.  True, but those devices require a level of qualifications.  Usually in the severe to profound region, 80 – 90 decibels or higher and they do not always work.  Again, there are many success stories, but there are many who do not as well.  Now, what about those 50-70 decibel kids?  Our personal experience was just that.  Heath was born with mild to moderate hearing loss in one ear and moderate to severe in the other.  Aided as an infant and before the age of two he spoke three words, Happy, Mama and Dada!!  We were all excited… we thought.  Maybe he will be able to be fluent in ASL and speak too.  What a win win… but then his hearing declined after two and he is now profoundly deaf in both ears.  Just think if we would have taken the approach to focus on the speech portion of his language only.  How far behind would be?  2 years actually.  It is not worth that risk.

HOWEVER, WAIT!!!!  SIGN LANGUAGE IS FREE, with easy access and no stress on the child.  Why not learn it!  What harm does it do??
Moreover, I say… why are we still talking about this….ASL.. easy for the child, hard for the parent.  What would you choose!

I am Lucia Rogerson and this is my perspective. 

The Deaf Teacher.

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Webster’s dictionary defines a teacher as one whose occupation is to instruct.  While this may be true for hearing public school systems, our family views these instrumental individuals at the Deaf school as much more than just instructors.  Teachers of the Deaf at Deaf schools are extensions of their family and for us they have turned into aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters and friends for Heath.  Many Deaf children with hearing parents and hearing family members do not have people who can directly relate to them and their experiences as a Deaf person.  Whether a child is implanted, uses a hearing aid or is an ASL user, the fact is they are still a Deaf person and that fact will never change.  There is a tremendous opportunity for a Deaf child with hearing parents to be around people just like them despite their modality of communication when they attend a Deaf school.

Deaf people need to be around Deaf people!  That is my opinion and I will stand behind it not only from a research perspective but also from a social and emotional perspective.

Imagine going through your entire life as a Deaf person without knowing or being exposed to someone like you, or being able to have someone who understands what it is like to be Deaf in a hearing world.  Teachers who are Deaf themselves give a Deaf child an opportunity to know someone like them and Deaf schools give these children an entire community at their fingertips.

Teachers are often overlooked, taken for granted or even criticized for their approaches to educating children.  The teachers at California School for the Deaf in Fremont are an amazing group of people who truly care about the children and provide them with the best education.  These teachers have molded Heath into the person he is and for this, we will be forever grateful.  However, one teacher has been consistent in Heath’s life for close to three years and she is an amazing person inside and out.  She is a person that I would consider a friend but more importantly Heath’s guide into the Deaf community and Deaf world.  She put together this video of their journey with the following comments.

“I would describe Heath as a happy child.  I have known him since infancy and the first time I saw him I noticed his eyes.  He arrived by means of a playgroup in our Early Childhood Education program at California School for the Deaf in Fremont.  His eyes were big, bright and wide absorbing everything around him.  His family kept bringing him to us and they asked many questions.  When he was 18 months old they worked with the school district and was able to enroll him into my class and he has been with me ever since.  First in the toddler class and now in preschool.

He started as an observant toddler, watching everything in his environment.  He began by sign babbling but as I worked with him, it was not too long after that he started to sign clearly and fingerspell.  He is now four years old and can now have a deep conversation in ASL.  He expresses his opinion, asks questions, compares, is analytical, a leader in school activities, reads, writes and much more!  He is thriving just as we would expect any child to who has full language access both at home and at school.

I have been in the field of Deaf Education for many years now and it does not matter if the child comes from Deaf families or hearing families.  What matters most is that they come from a signing family with love and advocacy.  Heath has been blessed with all of this and more.  It has been my absolute honor to be a part of Heath’s life as his teacher.”  Maureen Yates, California School for the Deaf, Fremont, CA

Deaf Teachers they are instrumental in a child’s life, development and growth.  Do not deprive your Deaf child of these individuals.

And that is my perspective.

Afraid of LEADK and NDF.

 

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A small group of people are upset that the efforts of LeadK are making its way into many states.  I think those that are afraid do not understand the core value of the initiative and find what it stands for intimidating based upon unfounded beliefs.  I personally was there when the outlining of the first bill began in California.  ALL school and state leaders, including Oral Schools, Deaf with special needs schools, SEE signing schools and yes the California School for the Deaf were present.  All of those individuals wrote this bill together.  Unbelievably to me, they all came together for one common goal.  A child being ready for kindergarten and that is it!  I was truly surprised to see the head of the Oral school in the same room with the representative from the Deaf school ( ASL & English ).  What it showed me is there is an educational issue for children who arrive to kindergarten without the foundation they need to succeed.  Whether they are Oral or signing, all educators want the same thing for these children and that is preparing them for life with a foundation of a rich language.  If that mean spoken English, then that is what it means.  If that means ASL and English, then that is what it means.  However, parents have the right to know if their children are at risk before it is too late.

What LeadK is not… is the Deaf communities’ avenue to force hearing parents to sign with their children.  Let us dispel that myth again for the umpteenth time!  What LEAD-K IS…”is a goal to show accountability with the states tracking and monitoring the language acquisition process for deaf kids between the ages of 0-5.  The purpose of this law is to ensure that all deaf children have the foundation of language acquisition ready for kindergarten and lifetime academic achievement. Additionally, the goal is to inform parents whether their deaf children are acquiring language through IFSP and IEP meetings.  The parents have the right to know if their child is not meeting the language acquisition milestones so they can have a plan of action while the deaf child is very young.“ (Credit Julie Rems Smario )   EQUAL ACCESS… THAT IS IT!

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Now, with that said.  Many are also afraid because ASL and English bi-lingual Deaf people now have a well-known spokesperson, Nyle Dimarco, to raise awareness of the language deprivation occurring throughout our nation.  It is an epidemic and teachers of the deaf are seeing the results of children not having early access.  While technologically advanced hearing devices have made it easier for deaf children to hear English, let us face the facts, it does not work for everyone.  Despite how many people like to spin it, not everyone qualifies for these advanced technological devices and sometimes they do not work. So then, the questions are as follows, what happens to those kids whose technology fails them?  What happens to those whose technology does not work despite their years of efforts?  What happens to those children unqualified for the advanced technology who are stuck in the middle?  If those children’s assessments continue in the same way as they have been in years past then they will not be ready with a solid language foundation that is critical.

This spokesperson, Nyle Dimarco has captured the hearts of many Deaf and hearing people alike and he has become a tremendous role model for all children Deaf and hearing.  Again, I think people are afraid of what Nyle’s foundation and LeadK together can do to bridge the gap and focus on what is important to the child’s well-being, love and language.

 

We had the privilege of being a part of the first annual fundraiser for this collaboration and seeing what it has been able to accomplish is unbelievable.  We are truly excited and look forward to seeing this cause grow and flourish as it brings awareness to the language deprivation in many of our deaf children.

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Now, let us be honest about where our family is, we do not hide it.  We chose not to provide our child with technological advancements despite qualifying for them and many have said that we are limiting his options, narrowing his view of life, requiring him to use interpreters for his entire lifetime, limiting his family members who can communicate with him, and forcing him to struggle in this hearing world with communication.  Some have gone as far to say that we are abusing our child and endangering him by not giving him every opportunity.  And I would say you have a right to that opinion.  It is your right to feel that way.  However, there are those who feel the exact opposite.  And that is their right to feel that way.

Nevertheless, for our family, and us the way of life that we have chosen works.  It more than works, our Deaf child thrives in it.  In addition, we do not judge families who have taken the route with technology because we understand, as we have been there ourselves.  We have had all the same concerns as many.  We have done the research, weighed the pros and cons, and for us it just did not feel right.  We took what we call the holistic approach to life and just wanted to see what the child could do without going to doctors regularly trying to fix his problem, going to speech therapists regular trying him to get to say words that may or may not mean anything to him.  We decided to let him be different yet surround him with people exactly like him to build the confidence in who is as a person.  We decided to let him not feel like there is anything wrong with himself and that he’s just fine the way he is.  We decided to give him the mindset that despite his Deafness he can do and be anything he wants to be.  And we are so glad we made the decision we did in the way we did it because we have seen him month after month, grow just like hearing children and children with technological devices that work.  He’s learning his ABC’s, counting, spelling names, being conniving as he tries to get out of timeouts,  being stubborn, and overall just being your average 4 year old!  When Nyle came along it was just icing on the cake!  We feel every accomplishment Nyle makes in the public’s eye continues to prove to us that the decision we made and continue to make for our family is a good one.  Seeing our child with Nyle himself communicating with the confidence and joy as any other Deaf child from Deaf parents again proved to us that hearing parents could do this.  While our journey is not over and we have a long road ahead of us, we know that we have a foundation of love and language to build on which is what is best for our Deaf child.

Finally, we feel that every hearing parent needs to know that there is this rich amazing community of people who are just like their deaf children and they need to know that this community exists, is flourishing and has an amazing group of individuals to get to know.  Once a hearing parent has had the opportunity to know a Deaf person in the Deaf community, then we feel you have a full spectrum of choices, not just, what your physicians are telling you.  There is group of people just like your deaf child and they are there waiting to accept them if the time comes.  Why not look at it a different way and give the Deaf community the first chance rather than the last.  What is the harm?  They can offer your deaf child something you cannot as a hearing parent… knowledge and understanding of what it is like to be a Deaf person.

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And that is my perspective.