Sunday, June 8, 2008


I was really trying to be a good Mamma by vacuuming my house, but the vacuum cleaner literally just exploded...I am NOT meant to clean my house (which now smells like burnt vacuum cleaner).

Sofia after spending the morning outside screaming, I mean as if her hand got slammed in a car door, because every now and then she sees a spider the size of a quarter of a baby tooth just said the funniest thing: "Mommy, what is English?"
"Sofia, English is what Mommy speaks to you, it's a language. We speak Italian, English and Jordan is learning to speak French." I replied.
Sofia asked, "Like Japanese?"
Shocked at my intelligent 5 year old, I suddenly understood and said, "Right, like the Japanese you see on Naruto or Dragon Balls."
Sofia smiled and said, "Yes, Mommy, I speak English, Italian, Japanese and Fairy Tales."
"Yes, Sofia, that's correct."



Yesterday was the presentation of the Italian Version of RALLY CAPS. Twelve people spoke including the Adminstrative Representative of Cochlear Italy, our pediatrician, our child psychiatrist, our first audiologist, our speech therapist and another one of our speech therapists travelled 8 hours to be present as well, our current audiologist responsible for mapping the ci, the vice-mayor of Grosseto, a representative of the Medical Association who endorsed the book, the President of our Parent Association for Families of Deaf Children, Jordan's friend the famous Martina and Jordan.

There were over 120 people in the hall, every seat was filled and people were forced to stand:). I had invited the ENS, Ente Nazionale dei Sordomuti (Deaf individuals who communicate using LIS). After sending a letter to their President requesting their presence and an interpreter, the president contacted me accepting the invitation. There were about ten people present from the Association, and I was VERY excited about this.

I was a strung-out nervous wreck. There was media coverage, tv, newspaper, etc. I was so nervous when the TV guy interviewed me that I think I made him nervous. Okay, speaking before 130 in a language that is not your own, is kind of scary. I must have sounded half-decent because one of my student's moms just texted me: "I saw you on TV and in listening to you speak, one can truly understand exactly just what a mother is capable of doing for her child. Long live women!" THAT was a hot message.

However, this day was not about me, it was about Jordan. Every single person who spoke, spoke to Jordan. He began the presentation by playing "Old McDonald Had a Farm" on his guitar accompanied by Martina, who is just amazing. When she spoke about Jordan there wasn't a dry eye in the house.


After one hour and a half of speeches, Jordan read his letter. He read it clearly and sincerely. After the letter, he decided he wanted to speak to the public. Spontaneously. He said, "I would like to thank everyone for being here with me today. Now, I feel good. I play baseball, I play the guitar, I hang out with my friends, I do anything I want. Before, when I wore hearing aids, I wasn't so good. I was frustrated and life was difficult. Then, I got the cochlear implant and my life changed. Now, I feel good. Thank you again for coming."

I am a nervous mess and my son is a natural. Calm, cool and smooth. Jordan signed books for about an hour, after all he is a published 11 year old. After the book presentation, Luca, Jordan and I went out for pizza. Later that evening we went to an end of the school-year party and on our way home, he said, "Thanks, Mom, this was the Best Day Ever!" (Note: It was also his last day of school:))




Anonymous said...

Sending huge congratulations across the sea -- what a great moment for Jordan, for you, and your family. And wow, what a scary public moment! I love the image of you and Jordan on a book reading/signing tour. I've got the English version for when the little one is a bit older, I think I'm going to start collecting, so I'm going to order the Italian too!

MKChaikof said...

How exciting! And a big congratulatons to all of you, especially to Jordan. As a mother, I know how great it is to sit back and watch our kids speak up for themselves. It is thrilling, rewarding and gratifying. I'm sure it's just the beginning for Jordan.

Divided said...

Congrats, I agree that this must have been a great moment for Jordan -- imagine meeting so many people who are interested about the book and seeing Jordan! It is wonderful that people from ENS attended, as well. Did you have a chance to talk with them, too?

Jodi...I can't help but be curious about the reaction from people. Because I know that in Italy, they (hearing people, in general) don't have very high regard for deaf individuals and sign language. Seeing the success that Jordan had with his CI they would probably think that every deaf child should have a cochlear implant and therefore, be successful. Even though Jordan and you did not pursue learning LIS, I only hope that you were able to seize the opportunity to emphasize the importance of learning Italian sign language as well and encourage bilingualism (especially when the babies are not candidate for CI or did not succeed like Jordan did with the CI). If not, perhaps in the future you would.

You received a lot of publicity and the message have reached far and wide across Italy...imagine the impact you have made...this is quite a feat!


Unknown said...

Li-Li's Mom and Melissa,
Thank you for your comments and support as usual, overwhelming and much appreciated.

Divided *smile*,
This is what "went down" at the book presentation. The president of our association is an incredible man who is the grandfather of Lorenzo, I've written about him before. Silvano Biagioni learned of his grandson's deafness when he was 2 1/2 years old, very late, yet was determined to educate him using the oral approach. This man single-handedly paved the way for my son by creating a speech therapy center in Grosseto, working with the FIADDA to make sure certain things like hearing aids, cochlear implants, ci batteries, speech therapy, fm systems, etc. were covered by the Italian National Healthcare System. He made my life with Jordan a helluva lot easier.

He had ENS fighting him every step of the way, ENS was a much stronger organization at that time than the FIADDA. He had to be extremely passionate and convinced in his endeavor. This passion has remained and he is determined that every single deaf child born in Italy have access to the spoken word.

Let's just say that his speech at the presentation reflected this commitment to the oral- auditory-verbal approach to deafness. He basically said that LIS was limiting and marginalized deaf individuals.


When Dr. Biagioni finished his speech and sat down, the interpreter informed me that the president of ENS wished to intervene. At which point, the tactful diplomat that I am and have learned to become, said how my experience with my blog has led me to a greater knowledge of issues surrounding the American Deaf Community. I discussed some of these issues and added that I looked forward to creating a relationship with ENS as I had been trying to learn LIS for at least ten months, unsuccessfully. I also said that while I did not choose to teach Jordan LIS, there are many families who choose to incorporate sign with speech.

Then, the president addressed the audience. He said that he felt the need to respond to Biagioni's comment. He was late deafened at 18years of age (he's about 65 now)and opted a couple of years ago for a cochlear implant (gasp). He said that the sound that the ci produced was not exactly like what he had been used to hearing. He talked about how the teachers used to smack his hands when he would sign instead of speak.

He said that he was very happy for Jordan and his progress and that he was honored to be present at the presentation. He also looks forward to working with me in the future.

Phew. That was a moment, an exceptional moment. Just after he spoke, my speech therapist spoke and added that each child is different and can benefit from a variety of approaches...
Things got Really deep at the presentation...
PS. Btw, we aren't "all over Italy"...yet.

Divided said...,
I had a hunch about comments and reaction at the book presentation. Silvano Biagioni is the kind of person that has connections and makes a lot of noise in achieving for what he believes in...the oral method. I can only imagine that Dr. Biagioni is quite well known and his comments saying that "LIS was limiting and marginalized deaf individuals" are the very reason why the deaf community shuns from people who indicate they know what is best.
I am glad you gave the president of ENS an opportunity to respond to Dr. Biagioni even though hearing people may not give a lot of credibility to what anyone from ENS has to say. People would gravitate towards people like Dr. Biagioni because that would be the "answer" to every hearing parent's dream to have their child hear.

Jodi, I know that you have learned so much since you've started blogging...from the deaf community but it is very limited (I see most of the bloggers are the younger generation and many without manners or respect and vice versa)...the deaf community is vast and you haven't met 98% of them yet. It's so different from those bloggers.

I sincerely hope that you will learn LIS one day soon...along with Jordan, Lucas and Sofia. It adds a wonderful dimension to communication and Jordan may not come to appreciate it now but maybe one day in the future he will...maybe not. But signing will come in handy when he is not wearing his processor...because of his hearing loss Jordan's visual cues take over his listening cues, automatically. I believe that is true for everyone with hearing loss irregardless of the kind of aid they are using (hearing aid or CI or none).
You may be interested in this link...Dr. Radutzky and Debra Cole, a ph.d candidate from Columbia University in NYC implemented this program:

On a personal note about Dr. Radutzky, she worked very hard to provide educational opportunities for the deaf in Italy by sending students to America to learn and to build up a core of deaf teachers in Italy. She has done an incredible job of it too and I respect and love her tremendously.

Anyway, thanks for the scoop on what went down at the book presentation. My warmest congrats.


Valerie said...

Oh my I am teary eyes. What a wonderful day! We live for these days, the one in which our children develop into that fine young person we believe they are.

Enjoy the day! Thank you for allowing us, your readers, to enjoy it with you too.

Naomi said...

So awesome! How wonderful for Jordan to feel all that love and admiration directed right there at him - pretty powerful stuff!

Congrats to you all

Christian and Lily's Mommy said...

Congrats! How exciting! I love watching Jordan grow, and see how amazing he is doing.

And, Sofia..."I speak Fairy Tales". IS SHE ALL GIRL, OR WHAT?.

Sending lots of hugs, and vino your way.

Abbie said...

Unbelievable! I am sending a HUGE VIRTUAL hug your way! This must have been one of the best shining proud mother moments ever :) A nervous wreck or not, you did a great job portraying the entire experience :) You raised a fine young man to talk to all those people with ease...

Congratulations and love you Jodi!!

VBnBama said...

No He Did Not!! I mean did you cry right then and there 'cause I would have!?!? Our last "speech" there was only about 20 people and I was talking about the how Gage takes his processor off to walk into a dark room...he don't want to HEAR anything he can't SEE...and he interrupts me and says "no Mama!! I'm just scared of the dark!!" so we're not near as cool/calm/collected and Mr. Jordan. He's such the ladies man anyway though, he's earned his confidence. And isn't that great about him signing all those books! but tell him now I feel, not so special, now that he's signing everyone's book **grin** I'll always treasure my autographed copy of Rally Caps!

VBnBama said...

p.s. and I love that she speaks fairy tales!!
How precious is that?