Thursday, April 2, 2009
My Elementary School Guidance Counselor Shirley Block, a plump, jovial, golden blonde who always smelled like powder saved my life when I was going through my parents' divorce. I would spend an hour a week in her little office playing with finger puppets, but above all reading books. We read books about strong women who travelled the world and fought for causes they believed in...and they always prevailed. Always.
I was visiting Baltimore for the summer, once, when Jordan was about 2 years old. At that time he wore hearing aids, was learning to speak and was often in temper tantrum form. I ran into Mrs. Block at the supermarket. So happy to have found her after so many years, I hugged her and thanked her profusely for all of her help and love that she gave me during a difficult time of my life. As I was speaking to her, Jordan was sitting in the shopping cart and Mrs. Block put her hand on the handle of the cart. Jordan removed it. She put back on the cart. Jordan removed it. She put it back on, looked at him and in a firm voice said, "My hand is staying there." Jordan didn't touch it again.
I saw her for a total of five minutes, and she touched my life again by disciplining my child with love.
My child is Deaf, he doesn't need "Special Treatment." He needs auxiliaries, his ci and support. He needs to be taught right from wrong just like everyone else.
Right and Wrong, Yes and No.
Today, the President of the equivalent of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the FIMP, Dr. Giuseppe Mele, gave me permission to take the Tuscan Study to a National Level.
I began the meeting by showing him a video of Jordan and explaining how so many pediatricians do not listen to a parent's concerns until it is too late.
For the first time, a doctor let me talk for one hour straight and really listened to what I had to say. He didn't shake his head once, although he did bow it to think every now and then- and at that point I would say, "Should I continue?" And he would say, "Yes!"
I said, "I would like to use a questionnaire on line to assess the level of Italian Pediatricans' awareness of issues in Deafness and the Newborn Hearing Screening."
He said, "Yes!"
I said, "Considering that the results will indicate that Pediatricians are not aware of issues in deafness, I have created a potential program to be implemented..."
He said, "Okay, we can add a page to our website filled with resources for the pediatricians and parents to start with..."
I said, "You know, if we launch an awareness campaign, I really think it would be a good idea to let me speak at the Conference so that I can convey the message to a larger amount of pediatricians- um, 2000 to be exact."
He said, "Maybe!"
My son was born Deaf and that has been a difficult yet enriching journey that we live every single day. Overcoming the obstacles that have been thrown at us in this journey has made me a stronger woman...
For the past eight months, I have put my hand on that shopping cart and it has been removed-I can't tell you how many times.
Just try to budge it now.