It takes a spot of courage to stand up tall and a bit of derring-do to rise when you fall

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Standing In The Light

Today I stand in a place that I couldn't see ten years ago---even five years ago. Then, in large part, I was stumbling in the dark.

My two youngest sons were born deaf. At the time, I knew nothing about what being deaf meant. I had no idea what the possibilities were for a deaf child---if indeed there were any. I pictured a silent world for all of their lives. I envisioned limits and boundaries and silence. I grieved. I mourned what they would never hear, would never do.

And then we were given a video called "Dreams Spoken Here" created by Jean Weingarten Peninsula Oral School for the Deaf (an oral school which my children would later attend). On this video it showed a handful of children, different ages, who were deaf. These children were talking and discussing things things about their life, things they enjoyed doing, things they were involved in. And I was stunned. I never imagined such a possibility, that my deaf children could actually learn to talk! It changed my life, our lives. I would later learn, through this difficult and miraculous journey from silence to sound, that my deaf children would learn to hear and to talk and to whisper and to recite poetry and to read and to perform on stage. I would learn that there were NO LIMITS for a deaf child.

This past Saturday my husband and I were again on a parent panel put on by the Let Them Hear Foundation, a wonderful foundation founded by Dr. Joe Roberson. (This is the "miracle" doctor who performed cochlear impant surgeries on both of my children. They each have bilateral implants.) There were two other sets of parents of children who are deaf and have cochlear implants. It was an honor and a privilege to answer questions from an audience comprised of educators, audiologists, speech therapists, etc. It was an honor and a victory to share the experience of deaf children mainstreaming in regular classes, regular schools, regular life. And it was a milepost, a measuring stick, of where I am now compared to where I was before. Where my children are now compared to where they were before. I am humbled and in awe of their resiliance and courage.

Where once I grappled and groped and saw only darkness, I now stand in a brighter place. I know there are challenges ahead; I know that there are rough spots and work to do always. But I am enjoying the light at the end of the tunnel.

5 Comments:

Blogger heatherfeather said...

what a beautiful opportunity for you to have. i used to work with kiddos with special needs and the most valuable thing i could do as an "expert" is to let grieving parents talk to other parents who have learned to embrace the possibilities instead of drowning in perceived limitations which may or may not exist.

that and show them that their kiddo is just a kiddo who loves to giggle like every other kiddo since the dawn of time. but that was working with kiddos with autism so it's a little different than HI.

when it's yzerh turn, lemme know.

8:16 PM, November 06, 2005

 
Blogger jay are said...

I have the utmost admiration for anyone who works with special needs kids. It takes a special heart and courage and patience--not just anyone can do it right or do it well. And autism: that is so different from what my kids' experience has been. That must have been very unique and special in its way. My kids have had so little to deal with (and thus I have had so little to deal with) compared to what some kids and parents go through.
Thanks for your kind words.
fltqvfy forever.

9:46 PM, November 06, 2005

 
Anonymous si said...

What a touching & eloquent post. I do admire you & your whole family for your perseverance & courage. I hope that your light keeps shining brightly.

10:14 AM, November 07, 2005

 
Blogger Michelle said...

Did you know the "cochlear ear" implant was invented/discovered, right here in Oz! How bout that!

It certainly has changed many a childs and adult for that matter, life!
Great post Jay :o)

10:24 PM, November 07, 2005

 
Blogger jay are said...

I don't know if I knew that. What a fun fact! Thanks for sharing...I know we order our batteries from cochlear direct and now that I think of it....could it be from there? Now I want to go check...

Cochlear implants are definitely a life-changer in such a great way.

12:17 AM, November 08, 2005

 

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