Friday, April 2, 2010

Boys Will Be Boys

The other day I was sitting in the lobby waiting for a friend, when a mother walked in with her son. The mother had the bleach-blonde-grandma-beauty-parlor look, rare for Italy and was wearing faded cotton sweats. She had the I-have-to-put-my-change-away-fast desperate look in her eyes and her son...evil. As the mother spoke to the secretary the little boy began to climb...everything. The secretary offered him a snack. He accepted...he did not say thank you. He asked if he could climb this platform thing that served as a railing to the steps. The secretary said yes.

The boy looked at me and grinned, I grinned back fascinated.

The boy asked for another snack...he did not say please. The secretary asked the mother if it was okay, and the mom said yes. She wiped her brow, the boy grinned and took the snack...he did not say thank you. The secretary glanced over at me and asked me if I wanted a snack. I said, no thank you, but that I wouldn't mind climbing the railing. *Smile*

The secretary smiled back.

The mom finished her business, thanked the secretary graciously, took her son by the hand, caressed his hair, and they left.

Her son had behaved like a perfect angel.

The other day I asked a medical professional for assistance because a foreign family's deaf daughter was only receiving speech therapy services for a total of one hour every fifteen days. When he told me that the only choice they had were public services and the availability of the speech therapist assigned to them, meaning that they had to accept that one hour, I wrote back that slamming the door was totally unacceptable...obviously I was joking, struggling to find a yes.

His reply was that the TONE of my response was the only thing unacceptable.

Strangely, that little boy's grin flashed before my eyes.

Perhaps that mother had flashed before his...


Paula Rosenthal said...

It never ceases to amaze me how little doctors understand the correlation between hearing loss and language development nor how much speech language therapy can literally change a child's life. Show the doctor the video of That's Just the Way We Hear 2 on YouTube and tell him to figure out which of the kids are deaf (there are 2). Point out that Julie had 4 years of nearly full-time, daily speech therapy and oral deaf education so that she can communicate as well as the doctor and all of his family members. Ask him if he would only want 1 hour every fifteen days for his own child. I am SURE he would find it unacceptable! Keep up the good fight. Every kid deserves to learn to listen and speak and to grow up to be doctors, lawyers, educators, bloggers and whatever they want to be.

Deb Blatt said...

Gotta shout out to Paula and say that as a speech therapist, we are lucky that there are parents like you and Jodi . You are true advocates and make a difference not only in your child's life but so many more.
God Bless You.

Paula Rosenthal said...

Deb, thanks so much for the shout out! :) The day I became a true advocate was the day another parent looked at me with eyes widened and a slackened jaw and said, "You mean, you went to college?" She couldn't believe that a profoundly deaf woman with 2 hearing aids (back then, 2 cochlear implants now) was able to graduate both from college and law school. I knew then that I had to figure out a way to educate other parents about the wonderful things their children with hearing loss could accomplish. And now, I am so proud that my deaf daughter is following in my footsteps to help educate others too.