Sunday, November 28, 2010

It's not over 'till the deaf kid sings

Chance has begun his journey into the world of singing lessons. We want to be very careful as at this point, Chance has no issue with singing and is quite confident is his abilities. Chance tends to sing monotone at times, but we think that is a situation that can be unlearned as Chance is exposed to music, taught how it works and learns to listen for the difference in the various notes.

I have never wanted to post anything that will cause Chance embarrassment and cause reason for Chance to enter therapy as an adult:) Chance knows that I am posting this video of him singing and is fine with it. He is quite confident in his singing abilities and we are quite happy with that. Chance sings in school productions, at AG Bell Fairs and at church without a second thought. As has always been the case, we want Chance to be able achieve all that he is capable of and believe that singing can be a real strength for him in spite of his deafness. He hasn't been held back so far in anything he has attempted!

I post his singing now to show where he is as we are starting this journey and will add other samples of Chance singing as we go along. My hope is to chart his progress and document how far we have come.

Here is Chance reading/singing the story of "Frosty the Snowman", to some of his siblings for a bedtime story. He is a great big brother.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Chance and his guitar

Chance has started on what we hope will be a long illustrious relationship with a guitar and music.
Chance's dad and I approached the choir and music teacher at his school as we had heard that he had given voice lessons before. We explained how Chance tends to sing in a monotone and not fluctuate his voice as much as he needs to when he sings. (Chance was actually with us at the time so we had to word things carefully:), but we thought he had the desire and ability to be quite a good singer.

The teacher paused and kind of stroked his chin for a minute. Thankfully, Chance got otherwise engaged at this point so we could all talk a little more frankly. The teacher explained to us that he was not trying to put us off, he just wanted to make sure that he could do it.
He told us that he feels terrible when he can't help a child learn to sing and that it had happened just once when he worked with a little girl who really struggled.

I was preparing for a gracious rejection of our request. But instead, he had Chance come over and sing a little something for him. Then he told us that he did not have any experience working with deaf kids and singing. We told him that we understood that.
He then said he would love to give it a try with Chance.

Chance can sing, we just need to help him get the most out of his hearing to recognize the subtle note changes in songs and practice.
The music teacher thinks highly of Chance which of course helps:)

The music teacher thought that learning to play the guitar while Chance is taking singing lessons would help him to hear the different notes and teach him how music works. Chance thought that was one of the best ideas ever. Chance has been asking to take guitar lessons for a while but I have been telling him he needs to learn the piano first for which he has been taking lessons.
The teacher let Chance hold a guitar and had him strum it. Chance beamed.

So it is that Chance has started taking guitar and voice lessons. He is so excited and has been practicing as well. When the boys returned after their first lesson, the teacher was impressed with how well they had done in one week.

Chance's brother has been asking to play the guitar longer than Chance has. So we realized that if we let one, we should let the other. Now our boys are learning to play and sing together. The music store is now a bit richer from our purchase of two guitars and I expect great things from this venture! And lots and lots of music in our future!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Chance and the Fm system

Chance has an FM system on loan from the School for the Deaf that he is using. Well, the idea is that he is using it, but apparently, Chance is picking and choosing which classes he will use it in.

The thought running through my head is this,"So, Chance who is deaf, is going to decide when he can hear enough and when he can't?" Built into that thought is the fact that since Chance is deaf, HE DOESN'T ALWAYS KNOW WHAT HE ISN'T HEARING! "

Yet Chance is trying to convince me that some classes warrant using the FM system and some do not. I can understand not wanting to use it in P.E. as it is cumbersome to run around playing capture the flag with an FM system attached to your person. And frankly, I don't know that anything would help Chance hear everthing in the cavernous gym where thousands (ok, it is more like 20, but when they all are yelling, laughing and carrying on, it sounds like thousands) of 5th graders are dashing about their voices bouncing off the walls and ceilings creating a force of sound that is not unlike a jet taking off.

However, social studies? Chance's peers give presentations in that class sometimes on reports they have done. Chance is certain that he hearing all of that?

And what about the fact that I have been in some of these classes helping out and I have seen how the class can start quiet with all the kids sitting and writing individually but by the end the teacher is up front discussing spelling rules?

I am tempted to attend each class and let Chance use or not use the FM system at his leisure but then ask him questions about details about what was said and see if he caught them all. I am betting that he didn't.

We have actually set up a payment program (OK, bribe) for the next little while to reward Chance for each class he uses his FM system in. I am willing to wager that if he were to wear the system in every class, with the exception of P.E. and dance, he would find all sorts of interesting details that he hasn't been catching.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Sweet Dreams !

Our oldest son is taking a short trip with the other boys in his church class to a temple very early one morning and we were trying to figure out carpooling for the activity.

Chance's dad and I realized that both of us could drive our two cars and deliver the boys to their destination and then I could come home as all of our kids should just be sleeping while we were gone. In our discussion, we talked about how Chance could just be on alert for any cries etc. for the short time I was gone.

Then we looked at each other as it dawned on us that Chance may not be good for this task. Chance can't hear squat during the early morning hours. A robber could enter the house and make as much noise as he wanted and he would be safe from detection from Chance. The house could be on fire with beams crashing to the floor and the baby could be screaming and Chance would lay nestled up to his pillow snuggled in blankets.


We could slap his implants on him before we leave, but would that really work? He could hear stuff, but would he awake from a dead sleep for a crying baby? Chance doesn't like to put his implants on for a bit after he wakes up and it seems mean to wake him up in the wee hours just to put his implants on. The point of our plan was that all of the kids could just sleep for the 10 minutes I was gone, but should someone need something, Chance would be on call. Except he can't hear anything.

So, we will be getting another adult to drive so I can stay home :)

Chance is going to have the ultimate excuse as to why he doesn't get up in the night when his own babies cry. He can honestly say,"I didn't hear anything!" and sleep blissfully on :)