Stay On Top of What’s Going On
I guess just watching them carefully and staying on top of the schools where they are. I know that sometimes you don’t hear about things right away from your kids, you’re not sitting in the classroom with them. I might hear about one teacher who is doing a lot of movies or videos and it turns out my kids couldn’t hear too well and maybe they were getting tested on those videos. I guess just trying to stay on top of what’s going on in the classroom. I think talking to the teachers, I do try to stay back and let the kids handle things, but I always say I’m definitely there if you need me to talk to the teacher I will do that. I think just watching what is going on day to day and seeing how the kids are reacting to their daily situation because you don’t want them too stressed. Asking a lot of questions, not being overbearing, but kind of knowing your child and watching and seeing how they’re reacting to certain classes. Just be there.
Arm Yourself With Information
The only suggestion I have for parents of children who are deaf or hard of hearing is to arm themselves with as much information as they can about resources that can help aid their family, so their child can have access to as many opportunities as possible.
Explore All Your Options
I would say definitely in the beginning to explore all your options. It’s hard, you’ll meet some people that you totally trust and value their opinion and then later on you find that that’s not the path you want to take. You have to talk to a lot of people and listen to your instincts. Think about what is right for your specific family and your specific situation because it is going to be different for different kids. Also, seek out other families who are in the same situation. I think that’s so important. There are so many ways to do that but you have to do some leg work on your own. You can get them through early intervention, through hospitals, and through the schools but you do have to seek them out. It is valuable to talk to other families.
Use the Resources
Use all the resources you can. There are a lot of really great resources. At the time of diagnosis we sat down with our audiologist and she shared who some of the resources were. At that point Elise was a year and a half. We started looking at the preschools and we got involved with early intervention. We spoke with people at the Commission for Deaf and Hard of Hearing. We listened and asked questions and called back when we thought of new questions. We processed between the two of us and made decisions on what felt best. Keep going back to the people who have been through it or who work with deaf or hard of hearing people and have ideas. Every family is unique and we had to make decisions for our family. It’s a journey.