Thursday, April 2, 2009

Mrs. Block

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.


Paula Rosenthal said...

Love how you wove your childhood memories into one beautiful post. You will be writing another book one day and this blog will be your notes and we'll all be able to say we knew you when! :)

I've revamped my site. Still needs quite a bit of tweaking but go check it out and let me know what you think!

Naomi said...

Love this post - you sooo rock - way to go girl!

Karen MEG said...

Awesome post! And good for you, your persistence and tenacity paying off like that! Jordan should be so proud of you!

I came via the "around the world 80 clicks" journey. So glad I did.

Debbie said...

You are a woman on a mission and god save the person who tries to stand in your way. Keep your hand on that cart lady and keep dishing out your inspirations. Your journey in all of this is just beginning and you are making a difference to so many out there.

Amelia failed her hearing screenings at birth. Not until we got her tubes (6-8 months old) did we know whether she would hear or not (in her case it as a huge amount of fluid building in the ears due to a barely-there swallow) but the point is -- we knew she had failed and that we had to follow up on screenings and testing.

You are helping parents in so many ways -- they will never even know who to thank for this; better yet, it will never even occur to them, because infant hearing screenings will be part of the systematic process when you have a baby --as it should be AND thanks to you!

Unknown said...

Thank you all for your comments- it's an exciting and emotional situation.
Paula- I'm tweeting because of you- overwhelming. I really, really want to write another book, I can't find the freaking time!!! Debbie- exceptionally motivation as always.
Naomi- have you slept??
Karen- Thanks for stopping by! How do I find the other 79 Moms??