Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Self-advocating

One of the main topics they stress to you as a parent of a deaf child is to teach your child to advocate for themselves. They won't always have you with them and besides, they have to have the ability to go out into the world and do things like tell their teacher when they can't hear, or have someone repeat the instructions when they missed what was said.

We have tried to ensure that Chance is expected to be as independent in the same things his older brother was at his age..whatever age that may be at the time.

That self advocating came to the forefront today when I got a phone call from Chance.

Chance called me from a neighbors house to ask me if his two friends could come to his little brother's T-ball game so that they could all play tennis during the game at the tennis courts at the Junior High.

Apparently though, the details had not been worked out before he called me because he kept talking to friends and working things out while we were on the phone. This was OK, but I was surprised that Chance would carry on a discussion with me, two friends and all of the background noise that was coming from his friend's house where they have 4 young children that I could hear making noise. He usually does not appreciate lots of noise while he is on the phone and will sometimes hand the phone to me if he is talking to someone and there is too much background noise on either end of the line.

The talking went back and forth for a minute, with Chance asking me if he could invite his friends, then telling his friend to ask his mom, then asking me what time the game started, then having his friend tell his mom etc. etc.

Then, Chance yelled, "EVERYONE QUIET!" Then a little softer, he added,"I'm on the phone."

Wow. Chance told the neighbors to be quiet in their own house? I think he was talking to all of his friend's siblings and not his friend's parents. Chance is not that brave enough to tell parents to be quiet. That is a good thing:)

It is true that he has been playing at this neighbor's house since he was 3 years old and it is the home of his oldest friend. But should he yell at all of them to be quiet?

Perhaps I should have a little talk with Chance and tell him that he should limit yelling at people to be quiet when he is on the phone when he is at someone else's house:)

Or perhaps he could ask everyone BEFORE he makes the call to please be quiet so he can hear on the phone.

Chance self advocating is a good thing. Maybe we should focus a little on technique now:)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Singing with the girls....

Today in church, the kids played a game to help them learn the songs they will perform in the fall for the entire congregation.

Chance loves to sing and so when as part of the game, one of the songs was to be sung by "just the girls", Chance screwed up his face in frustration and signed to me as I was sitting behind him and over several seats,"I love this song! I want to sing!"

And then he did sing. With all of the girls in the room.

Of course this got some of the kids in the room laughing and pointing at Chance but he did not care and just sang on.

Chance's dad was up in the front of the room helping with a prop for the game and when his eyes caught mine, he nodded toward Chance and signed to me that Chance was singing. I could see that he was concerned that Chance had not heard that only the girls were to sing and now he was innocently singing along with the opposite sex.

I just smiled and half signed, half mouthed that Chance knew it time for just the girls to sing. He was just choosing to sing anyway.

As I watched Chance sing out undaunted by a few boys around him who were pointing and laughing at him, I thought how great it was that he didn't care about their reaction.

To me it showed that Chance is not self conscious about being different and does not feel the need to hide back in the shadows. He is deaf yes, but that does not define him. He was not worried that the other kids might think he didn't know only girls were singing. He didn't seem to care what they thought about him at all.
I hope he keeps this confidence forever and does not allow himself to be swayed by what others say.

The irony is, that the next step in the game, had only the boys sing the next verse. Chance looked back at me and with a big grin on his face, began to sing again. This time with the boys.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Chance is in the play

Chance's school put on the play, "1,000 cranes", based on the book. Chance got a part with quite a few lines and he was devoted to practicing to the point that one night when I told him he had to go to bed he complained,"You are not letting me practice for the play like I am supposed to!"

I am a brute that way.

Chance did a great job and had all of his lines completely memorized. He got a little nervous on stage (who doesn't), but he had those lines down pat and he did a great job. I found myself thinking,"None of these people would guess this is a deaf boy if they didn't see the implants. He is confident and he presents himself very well. We are so proud of this boy of ours!