Private Schools and Special Programs
Her language is blossoming – she goes to a school for deaf children in a bilingual program, which is ASL. I truly believe that it’s the ASL that has closed the gap for her. If she hadn’t had the ASL foundation, her English would have been slower in coming. And both languages have flourished. When there’s a word she can’t pronounce well, and I can’t understand, she’s able to sign it to me. We are able to get through most communication situations.
School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
So then we went to the Horace Mann school and I was blessed with some of the most amazing teachers who again, didn’t just teach about what to do with a child who has hearing loss but really just to be a parent in that situation. The varying degrees of complications that these children had, not just hearing loss, was really along a spectrum, so you would walk into the school and you weren’t the only parent who looked dazed and sleep deprived and was also trying to figure out if behavior is happening because the kid is frustrated or three or not getting enough language and whether this would be the same if the kid was hearing or not hearing – just trying to figure out with the age range of what was normal or not normal. We’re still friends with all these teachers and we think of them as part of our family and vice versa.
Right now he is kindergarten at a private school in a full day program. He wears an FM system. It has been difficult for the teacher to figure out how to work the microphone and put the boots on his hearing aids. There is a person in the town that goes out there once a month to make sure the system is being used right and I’ve had the teacher trained and retrained and retrained. We’re getting there.
School for the Deaf
Riley will start preschool in February. He is doing early intervention. He was at a school for the deaf and hard of hearing. He gets speech and language once a week from them and early intervention once a month. He has had everything and is doing very well because of it.
Getting Her Into the Right School
I know as she was getting toward three years old, we had a number of meetings set up where there were different people trying to figure out what the right thing was and they were making proposals about where she could go, and then maybe we could bring these different people together. These were people who knew this because she was unique; there were no other kids that were like her. So ultimately we were seeing what our options were. To go to the ideal school for her was a hurdle because of geographic distance. There were other programs around that were a little closer. There was a possibility of them creating a program within the district itself. So there were all these things flying around, but when push came to shove at the end of the day, I think they realized that it was going to be too difficult to try to create this program from scratch. I really pushed to say, “We want her to go to the best school to meet her needs. We know it’s going to cost you a fortune to transport her, so we’ll drive, we’ll take care of the transportation. We eventually had to go to the director of special ed for the district, and I said, “Look, get her into the school, and we’ll drive her.” She said, “You’re going to drive?” and we said “yup.” Fine, that was enough.