Sunday, October 6, 2013
I began writing this blog five years ago for two reasons: I wanted to share Jordan's hearing loss journey with other parents, and writing was a cathartic experience that enabled me to heal things I never knew needed healing.
Naomi Higgs, co-founder of the Pediatric Cochlear Implant Circle once wrote: "It's not a sprint, it's a marathon!" No truer words have ever been said in regard to raising a Deaf baby.
I remember when Jordan was about two years old and wore hearing aids. I took him out for some ice-cream in the center and we stumbled across a Rock band. He pointed his little finger at the musicians playing and indicated that he wanted to get out of his stroller. He stood there for about thirty seconds, then his little legs started moving and he did this funny squat dance to the beat of the song.
I started crying, my baby could hear music with his hearing aids.
We danced there for a good twenty minutes, then we went home.
I wrote about how his pre-school teachers told me not to send him to Elementary School because he was violent and could hurt other children. Jordan was extremely slow to learn new vocabulary, he had very poor comprehension and even poorer expressive language skills. I told those teachers that he was frustrated because he had difficulty communicating, but he could read and he was going to Elementary School.
Jordan got his Cochlear Implant when he was in 4th grade.
The CI gave him access to spontaneous language: he felt closer to his peers, his frustration decreased, he began learning to speak English. The picture above is of the first time Jordan spoke on the telephone and heard our voices. My Mother-in-Law captured the moment.
Jordan went to a Middle School specializing in Musical Education. He sang in a choir and learned to play the Classical Guitar.
When I ran into difficulty during the first two years of high school and was considering moving him to a more difficult educational setting, my CI Mom friend, Paula said, "NEVER set limitations on your son, ALWAYS strive for more. His hearing loss is only one part of him, he can do ANYTHING he sets his mind to achieving." Jordan chose to change schools, conscious that he was choosing a more difficult academic path. And he is doing just fine.
Between Italy, the USA and Australia, I am part of a global Cochlear Implant Community. I use my experiences and network to help others at all points of the journey, just as I learn from families who are further ahead of us on the path.
This type of CI Community support is fundamental to ensure that our kids remain kids, as well as to safeguard our own well-being during the process.
I am proud and honored to say that Cochlear EMEA has recognized the importance of a Mother's Voice in the journey that so many of us travel, and they have offered me the opportunity to serve as a Consultant to Cochlear Europe, Middle East, Africa in regard to communications and relationship management with recipients and candidates and their parents and other relatives.
Three continents of families.
One family at a time.