Have High Expectations
Have high expectations. Don’t lower your expectations because of the hearing loss. I think that happens in the general public. I think there’s an assumption that goes back to the “deaf, dumb, and mute” image. Expect that your child can do most of these things but at the same time make allowances for when they don’t hear something.
If we were talking and playing and the music was on in the background it would be too difficult so we didn’t have music on so much and we still don’t. There are a lot of environmental concerns. We don’t read or do anything that’s new like, if the dishwasher is running. We don’t run the dishwasher during dinner because it’s too hard to have a conversation at the dinner table and same thing with the washing machine, which is also in the kitchen. So there are a lot of changes that we were never aware of before that you have to take into account and you just go with it if it helps the kids. You can tell if they can’t hear you if it’s a tough environment and to minimize that. I mean there are always going to be tough environments.
Equipment and Technology
The equipment part was one of the hardest parts we had to deal with. I’ve gone through garbage cans and had [the hearing aids] sucked on and had to lose insurance for whatever reason so that part of our system is not very evolved yet. I’m not sure when or how we’re going to catch up, but it’s almost impossible for a nine month old or even a two year old or a five month old to not break a hearing aid. They get sweaty, they get wet, they get lost and it felt like that was not an accepted part of the industry yet. The only advice I would say is that you just kind of have to hang in there and be diligent on your part but make an investment and figure out what resources you have to make sure that you don’t have to make a choice about having the hearing aids available.
In the early years, he had multiple ear infections and we couldn’t always put his hearing aids in so we always made sure that he had visual access to everything. We would take him to museums and to the park and even get on the swings with him because we knew that he would get to see something and seeing something is better than not having anything. That way he started to pick on a lot of things and now we go to the science museum and he’s talking about the dinosaurs and the solar system and I think it’s because he had visual access to everything and this exposure also attributes to his reading ability as well.
Read to Your Child
When she was little I used to read to her a lot. Then, when I found out she was deaf, at the age of two and a half (she wasn’t diagnosed through the newborn screening), I continued to always read to her. Now that she can go through a book or two a day. She loves going to the library. Just this past weekend she said, “Mama, can you take me to the library?” She just likes reading a lot, and she reads everyday. She likes mysteries, war histories, and a lot of books written for girls too.
The One Thing I Didn’t Understand…
One thing I didn’t understand until my child explained it to me last year was when she doesn’t hear when somebody says something and we reply “Oh its ok. It’s nothing…” it makes her feel like she’s nothing. I’ve learned to not say that anymore. I understand now how that makes her feel.
Go With Your Gut Instinct
Be very patient. Stand up for what you believe in, go with your gut instinct. I know my husband and I sometimes disagree over what they need. He thinks I’m asking for too much when we go to the meetings. He’s very laid back “things are fine, don’t worry about it”… You gotta go with your gut and ask for what you think they’re gonna need.
Help Them Learn to Work With It
You have to be a realist, you’ve gotta get what you can for your son or daughter, but you can’t expect the world. When they get older it’s not going to be there. You can’t expect if Evan goes to work for a company or something, they’re not going to soundproof the building for Evan. It’s their disability, and they need to learn to work with it. We can say what we think, we can only do what we think is best for them. We have no idea if it’s working or if it doesn’t. It’s hard to find that balance. It’s not the end of the world. It’s not a big deal. It opens up a whole new way of thinking, a whole new world. You get to learn sign. It’s all in how you look at it. You can walk through life “oh poor me poor me” and that’s what I try to teach Evan; “you’re not poor Evan, you’re Evan Logue. You’re not Evan Logue the deaf kid, you’re Evan Logue, no labels on you. You can’t go through life feeling sorry for yourself, you won’t get anywhere.” He has to learn to fight for himself, he’s gotta learn, and his brother Tom has gotta learn too, this is their disability, it’s not mine. We just help them through what we can. We’re not going to be able to be there all the time for them, when they go to college they’re not going to cater to them. I think that’s more of a father’s thing, you’ve gotta have that.