Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fine tuning the speech...

Chance's speech is coming along very well. He can hear the sounds he needs to pronunciate for almost all he hears. There are a few errors that we need to work on, but the thing we notice the most now, is language usage.

Chance will hear a new word, and I think he just hears it and then starts using the word the way he thinks the word is used. This is great as it is exactly what kids do when they are learning language. Every once in a while though the words Chance chooses to use are not the usual way of saying things. This is fine, because he is still learning vocabulary as are all of the kids his age. Certain words though, his peers would already know.

For example, Chance was distressed because one of his friends at school had not been there for 3 days in a row.

I expressed to Chance that maybe his friend was sick. The flu is going around and it can easily knock someone out for 3 days.

Chance hung his head and said," No, I think he has been transported."

Doing some quick thinking about what that could mean in the context of our conversation, I realized that what Chance meant was, he thinks his friend had been transferred. As in transferred to another school.

THESE are the sorts of things we need to fine tune now. Helping Chance clarify what some of these new words he is picking up mean.

Thankfully, Chance's friend Ryan had not been transported. He had been deer hunting.

Monday, October 25, 2010

See October 15th:)

I just noticed that since I started the blog entry I posted last night a bit ago, it posted BELOW the one I posted last week. So, in order to read the latest entry, scroll down and read about the reading scores started on October 15, but posted October 25th:)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Deep conversations

Chance just LOVES to have these deep conversations when his implants are off. Tonight, I was at the computer when Chance came up and said,"Do you know what is really bad? It would be awesome to go to the moon. I would LOVE to go to the moon in the future, but I probably can't."
"Why?" I asked as it dawned on me that Chance had his implants off so of course this was just the right time to have an in depth discussion about his odds of landing on the moon someday.
"Because you can't even see black holes and then they just suck you in."
"People on earth help you land on the moon if you go." I said looking right at Chance so he could read my lips.
"Did you know that if you get stuck in a black hole, it stretches you out like a piece of spaghetti?"
I did not know this actually.
"Imagine your guts floating in space." Chance said as he walked off.

Well, at least he is not worried that being deaf or having implants will keep him from flying to the moon someday. He is just worried that his guts will be strewn across space when he gets sucked into a black hole that snuck up on him.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Chancc's reading scores are back

We just got Chance's reading scores back from parent teachers conference. Chance's charter school is run more like a junior high school in the fact that the kids don't have just one teacher but instead rotate throughout the day to several teachers. There is a writing room, a math room, a science room and so on and so forth. There is one "homeroom" teacher who receives all of the test scores and who is our contact point should we need information. The reading test covered reading and comprehension. Chance scored WELL above average in both categories for 5th grade, the grade he just transferred into.

Chance's writing teacher said that Chance is in the highest writing group as well and is self motivated and on task. Then she told me what a special soul Chance was and how privileged she feels to be around him and teach him. Then she said, "surely you know this." I actually do know what an incredible soul Chance has. I am delighted to know that his teacher sees it as well. I help out in Chance's writing class each week and I get to see how Chance is self motivated and focused. He really desires to do well and applies himself as best he can.

Oh, my little deaf son is scoring above average in reading!!!!! Deaf children traditionally have been known to be behind in reading. I think that is changing, but Chance went without language for 2 years and he was not all that excited about reading when he started.

Now, he comes to me with all sorts of interesting facts he has learned about in books.

We as parents were asked in our parent teachers conference to list Chance's academic strengths. We listed reading and math and writing. I think we chose well:)

Most people around Chance will just see how well he is doing in school and take that for granted. Few people will know how incredible the journey Chance has experienced has been. How Chance himself overcame such odds to get where he is. He went without language for 2 years and through determination and sheer grit, Chance overcame this monumental obstacle and forged ahead overcoming the incredible barrier that going without language for 2years during your formative years is.

Chance does have an incredible soul and I stand in awe of him and his amazing strength and perseverance. Chance is not held back by his deafness and he is willing to work his heart out to succeed in all that he does. An incredible soul indeed. A soul I am honored to call my son.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The door slams

This past weekend, Chance's uncle took Chance and some of his siblings with cousins to spend the night in a cabin he was watching for the weekend.

When we went to pick them up, it was apparent that a good time was had by all. The cabin was perched up at the top of a mountain in bear country. It was fenced around the perimeter of the cabin so one could feel relatively safe playing outside.(I know, I know, a little fence will not always keep a marauding bear out, but there have been few bear sightings during the cabin's life which started in 1962, and what can you do, never enter the woods because there might be a bear?).

The kids made forts out of wood and branches that were quite well built. There was a boy hut and a girl hut with windows and everything. There were trees that had been chopped down, deer wandering through camp, footballs thrown in the open spaces and popcorn kernels hurled into the open fire and popped back out as popcorn. It is a great place to be a kid.

Along with enjoying sounds of nature in the woods, the extended family got to experience the sounds of Chance. The melodic sound of doors closing in the night, that is. Chance has not done this behavior for a while at home, but apparently, he was inspired to revive his old routine at the cabin.

Before we knew Chance was deaf, he about gave us a heart attack some nights because as we lay sound asleep, blissfully dreaming, Chance would slam a door somewhere in the house when he got up in the middle of the night and scare us to death. It is a very unsettling thing to wake up to a door slamming. At first you don't know what is going on and wonder if you should hide from invaders that have entered your home and call 911. Chance, who can not hear the door slam is blissfully unaware that anything is amiss and just goes about his business. It has been a while since those of us at home have been blessed with the closing of the doors in the middle of the night, but perhaps the mountain air prompted Chance to close the doors again. My personal theory is, Chance can hear the doors but very softly and since he was in a new place, maybe a kind of scary place when you get up in the middle of the night, he closed the door for comfort. To hear something, anything in the great silence that is Chance's world at night when his implants are no longer on.

The result was, everyone knew when Chance got up to tinkle in the night.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Chance is a celebrity

When I asked Chance how school was going this past week, I got this response: "Well, all the kids are getting to know me for one thing for sure."

"What is that?" I asked trying to figure out what he could be talking about.

Chance just removed the magnet part of his implants and said "Because of these." He said it like I should have guessed that all along.

Not being sure if this was a positive or negative situation, I pressed for more information.

"Do the kids ask about your implants?" I asked.

"YES! Chance said.

"What do they say?" I asked.

"They ask me what they are."

"And what do you tell them?"

"That I am deaf and with out them I can not hear."

"What do the kids say when you tell them that?" I asked still wondering if this was an annoyance to Chance or just a part of his life that he was comfortable with.

"Wow or oh." Chance replied.

"Then what do they say?" I asked wondering if the implants were opening doors for Chance to meet more kids in 5th grade.

Chance started to laugh. "Sometimes they tell me to take the implants off and then ask me if I can hear them." Chance seemed amused by this so I was not alarmed.

"Some of the kids ask me if I can read lips. Then they have me take the implants off and stand in front of me and say stuff to see if I can tell what they are saying."

"Can you tell what they are saying?" I asked.

Chance threw back his head and laughed. "Yes! Then the kids are like, NO WAY!" Chance is an excellent lip reader and I pity anyone that goes up against him.

"One girl came up behind me and I said, "I know you are there because I can feel you walking on the floor." Chance said obviously delighted that he had been able to detect her.

Then Chance said in wonder, "I now know that I can feel noises from the ground!"

"Are the kids nice when they ask you about your implants?" I asked trying to stay neutral but also wanting to know if anyone was harassing Chance about his implants."

"Yes." Chance said. "The kids don't stare at me at this school like they used to at my old school." Chance said with obvious relief.

"The kids would stare at you at your old school?" I asked surprised. I even verified with Chance that the kids at this new school did not stare at him like the kids at his old school.

"The kids at your old school stared more? The kids at your old school saw implants and hearing aids all of the time because lots of kids wore them there."

Chance shrugged, "I don't know why they stared but they did."

Chance obviously feels like he got stared at more at his old school. The only thing I can figure at the old school is sometimes the deaf kids were pulled from their regular classes to go for language help from a School for the Deaf teacher and they usually ate lunch together. Maybe the kids were looking in curiosity at the deaf kids who congregated together at lunch etc. and since they were different from them, they would look over in curiosity. Chance had great friends at his old school both deaf and hearing. I don't think it was mean spirited that Chance felt kids stared more. But is is intriguing that he doesn't feel that way at his new school. There are only two deaf kids at the new school and both wear implants. Maybe they just blend in more with all of the other kids.

Chance does not seem annoyed at all that the kids are asking about his implants which is good. My experience has been that kids are just curious and once they are told about the implants, they just go with the flow. Kids just want to know what they are which is natural.

I did ask Chance's brother who sees Chance quite a bit at school if the kids were nice to him or if anyone was mean because of the implants. His response was,"Not at all."

So, I guess Chance is educating the school about implants and just how gosh darn good he is at lip reading:)