Sunday, February 26, 2012

Compassion despiste the implants

Compassion I don't know if I have mentioned this before, but when Chance was first diagnosed as being deaf, I checked out a book  from the library about deafness with something like this on the cover:"An unbiased look at the different modes of communication for deaf children."  It was perfect!  That is just what I needed to read at the time, an unbiased look at modes of communication.
After actually reading the book here is a brief synopsis:

Deaf children who learn to sign for their primary mode of communication are thoughtful, well-behaved, well adapted and loved by teachers and parents alike. They are also happy capable adults who are at peace with themselves.

Deaf children who use talking as their main mode of communication are rude, unruly, undisciplined,  disruptive in the classroom and my favorite:  unable to have compassion for others. As they grow older, they are conflicted and unable to feel a part of either the signing world since they grew up talking and unaccepted fully by the hearing world.

As you can see, it was a well rounded unbiased book giving equal credit to each mode of communication:)

"Thanks for the lift, bro !"
Chance carries his brother in Disneyland.
Every once in a while something happens with Chance that  makes me think about the part of the book that said,"unable to have compassion for others." Something that totally refutes the statement made in that book.

While at parent teacher conferences this week,  one of Chance's teachers said that one of Chance's friends at school is picked on by other kids and that Chance sticks up for him. She said that the boy never looks happier than when he is with Chance.

She said,"You would think that Chance might be one the kids make fun of since he has implants, and  he has things like when one of the kids took his implants(see above post), but his friend is picked on regularly and Chance sticks up for him.  Chance is not shy about sticking up for him."

This friend of Chance's is such a cute boy and he has been a good friend to Chance helping Chance last year when Chance struggled with all of the changes the school kept making to the schedules, and the teachers etc.

We have been told regularly through the years that Chance sticks up for and makes sure that kids who are picked on or can not participate are included in activities.

In my view having compassion and treating other people with respect are vitally important traits that I want my children to have.  I think that despite the fact that we encouraged Chance to talk as his main mode of communication he managed to find compassion for others anyway. We have also never been told that he is unruly in the classroom, undisciplined, or rude.  A freak accident, or do we need to get that book off of the library shelves before any more  new parents of deaf kids have the unpleasant experience of reading it?:)

Monday, February 20, 2012

The soccer blanket

Through all of these years of our journey with Chance,  there is one thing that always warms my heart.  It is a blanket given to Chance by the Project Linus organization which makes and delivers blankets to sick kids in the hospital.

Chance was hospitalized at about 13 months because he dehydrated while being really sick for several days.  This is the event that we feel caused Chance to go deaf.  It was this illness that overtook his little body for about a week and made it so that he threw up everything including breast milk.  The doctors had been telling me to just give him a tablespoon of water at a time to keep him going, but it did not work.  He was throwing up even the tablespoon of liquid I gave him and finally, his little eyes had no tears left when he cried because I left the room.  And he cried every time I left the room.  He had thrown up on every outfit I had put on, and I was digging clothes out of the nether regions of my closet that I never wore.  The cycle I had going was, I would get dressed, Chance would throw up, I would change my clothes, Chance would throw up on me etc. etc. etc.

I managed to get clothes into the washer and then to the dryer, but they were all stacked in a mountain of a pile in the hallway as I had no time to fold them.  The entire time I was throwing clothes into the wash,  Chance was sobbing so I did the bare minimum and then attended to my baby.

The hospital stay itself I remember quite well.  I held Chance a lot and the nurses tried to get him to eat.  He wouldn't even go for the popsicle he was offered which tells you the level of  crisis he was in.  Chance was given intravenous fluids which he did not like.  At all.  He kept trying to yank that tube out and we kept trying to ensure that it stayed in.  By the end, it was double taped around his hand to the point that it was hard to see his little hand.

It was a rough time for Chance.  He slept fitfully, and sometimes I could get him to sleep for little bits while laying on me in the chair by his bed.

I still vividly remember how small and vulnerable he looked laying in his hospital crib.

The nurses were great and at one point, one of them brought in bubbles and started blowing them into the room.  Chance perked up a little at this and it let me see glimpses of my happy baby again.

Then someone brought in a blanket from Project Linus.  At the time, it looked a little mature for a barely one year old.  There were no little duckies, or toy trucks on it, but instead a boy playing soccer.  That's right -  soccer, with the words goal and soccer interspersed with jerseys and soccer balls.

At the time, it did not look like Chance at all.  I was grateful for the blanket and Chance liked it, but it did not seem like a baby blanket.

But was it predestined to be Chance's blanket or what?  Back when Chance was in the hospital, I could not even imagine my baby playing soccer.  We had not found out he was deaf yet, but soccer has never been a sport that was on my radar screen.  I personally did not even know the rules of soccer and in my family growing up, no one was interested in playing soccer.

Now that blanket totally looks like Chance.  It was just the right blanket for my little Chancers.

My heart warms each time I see that blanket in the house.  I don't think I ever pick it up or wash it without thinking about the wonderful people who made it and their labor of love in delivering their blankets to little children at sometimes painful and confusing times in their lives.  And I love that it is a soccer blanket.

That blanket and Chance were predestined to be together.  And the construction of the blanket is of such a high quality that it stills shows little wear and is still here to remind Chance that someone cared and gave him a blanket that foretold a small part of his future.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Chance's friend takes his implants

Chance has a friend at school who is in many of his classes (Chance is in 6th grade but they change classes every hour like a junior high).  Chance has been over to this boy's house to play at least twice after school.

Last week this boy apparently thought it would be funny to take Chance's implants during math and would not give them back for, "like 10 minutes" as Chance told me today.

The only reason I know about this happening is because Chance told his older brother, and then his older brother went with him to the principal's office to tell him what had happened.  The boy apparently got into "big" trouble, but I don't know exactly what that means.

I talked to Chance about the incident today and now I know this much:

His friend took his implants and put them in his pocket during math.

I asked Chance if he asked him to give the implants back.

Chance said, "A quzillion times". With that like "Ya, I did!" tone

I asked Chance how he got the implants back and Chance said,"I couldn't hear anything or anything so I don't know if the math teacher made him give them back or what."


When Chance told his brother, the incident had occured a few days before but the boys went to the principal and the boy was apparently called in to see the principal. 

My boys don't know what the principal said, but the boy told Chance that he was going to be suspended for a few days this week.  The boy was at school today though, so I don't if what he told Chance is true. 

I asked Chance if the boy had taken his implants again.  Chance kind of laughed and said, "He's too afraid of the principal."  Then Chance did that sign where you point your fingers at your eyes and then point it at the other people eyes and said the principle told this boy,"I'm watching you."


I let Chance know that information like this is something that he should tell me about.

I am glad that Chance was willing to go into the principal to let someone know what happened even if it was about a friend.  He was not intimidated by that which is good.

I don't think the boy was just being mean, I think he just didn't understand how inappropriate it is to take the implants..  This kid wears glasses and I thought,'I wonder how he would feel if someone took his glasses off of his face and then wouldn't give them back for 10 minutes.

The Really Really nice man at church

Every six  months our church congregation meets in a big building called a Tabernacle for our church service.(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints).  In our church we are divided first into ward groups which are the people we worship with each Sunday.  Our ward has about 300 people and is led by a bishop.

Our ward is part of a stake consisting of several wards which number about 3,000 people and is led by a stake president.  Every six months we meet and worship with everyone in the stake.  This meeting can not be held in our regular house of worship as their are so many people.  For this meeting we hold services in a building across town called a tabernacle where we all can fit.

The idea behind the organization of our church is to know and take care of one another so the people in each ward is over seen by a bishop, and each stake is over seen by a stake president.  It works out well.

We discovered during the last meeting about 6 months ago that although the tabernacle is a beautiful historic building, the acoustics are not so good.  In light of this fact, we tried to get to the meeting early today so that we could find a seat where Chance would be able to hear better.  We discovered last time that the balcony was not a good place to sit for Chance (read that story here) and the main floor usually fills up before the balcony seats, so we were shooting for main floor seating.

We managed to find a place on the main floor, but once the meeting started, it became apparent that it was still going to be difficult for Chance to hear.  Since the meeting lasts for 2 hours, that is an awfully long time to sit as a kid not being able to hear well.(heck, that is a long time for an adult to sit not hearing well:)

Chance's dad slipped out of the meeting to find the audio visual guy to see if the building had a FM signal that Chance could hook into with his implants via an FM receiver, that would send the signal to his implants through his NoizFree telecoil adapter.  They did not find a FM receiver, but believed that there was a signal being transmitted, and there was a receiver back at the stake center.  So this gentleman who did not know us at all, got in his car, drove across town and got the FM receiver from the stake center library and brought it right to our seat!

Talk about going above and beyond the call of duty!  What a wonderful man to invest so much of himself in getting Chance what he needed to hear better.  Chance really did hear better with the receiver and it made a big difference in his experience and ability to hear a truly inspiring meeting.

I did not realize that this nice gentleman had driven across to town to get the receiver until we got home.  I am going to write a thank you not to him and so is Chance.
There are such good and caring people in the world!

Six months from now, when we worship in the tabernacle again, we will be sure to check out the receiver from the library and take it with us to the tabernacle so Chance can hear the meeting.  And maybe we should bring a plate of cookies to the audio visual man who is so caring:)

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Chance takes first place

Chance took first place in literature in the 6th-8th grade group in his school's Inspirations contest.  He wrote about snakes and how he wanted to collect several over his lifetime.

Chance's brother's pet snake
This was a surprise to me.  I knew that Chance's brother wanted to have pet snakes but did not realize that the passion had spread to Chance.

Perhaps he was inspired by our recent acquisition of a baby corn snake as a pet. He has been a big hit around the house.  He eats pinkys.....that is little mice.  We buy the frozen ones.

It is funny the reaction people have to snakes.  The art teacher who I think was over the contest,  really does not like snakes.  Really, really, really does not like snakes. I know this because my older son, who took first in the photography section, won with a picture of his new snake and he told me that she was sicked out by the thought of having the snake come to school as the boys talked about.  To her credit, she helped judge the boys winners and did not let her personal bias cloud her professional duties:)

Chance playing in the Red Rocks near Grandma and Grandpa's house
Chance is pretty excited about the win.  We were on vacation and the first morning the boys were to return to school, we got a phone call first thing in the morning from one of the boys' friends telling us that they had both taken first place.

That was a nice bit of information to get as we all tried to get back into the groove of our normal lives after being on a lovely holiday:)

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Chance CAN hear himself think....(it's important that we know that)

Chance got up Saturday morning and had some sort of altercation with his sister that left him sulky and distraught. He was obviously quite upset about something.

He was not eager to share what was wrong, not even when his dad sat him down to try and figure out his distress.

Chance's sister said she was sorry for whatever had upset him, but it not bring closure to Chance's worries.

We chalked it up to Chance being tired and thought he would loosen up as the day went on.
It became apparent however, that this was not going to pass and at the urging of his father, Chance came to me in the kitchen to tell me his troubles.

"She said I can't hear myself think!" he said starting to cry.
She of course being his sister.

"She said that?" I asked surprised she would come up with such a statement.

"NO!" Came his sisters voice from the piano. "I did not say that!"

"Yes!" Chance said emphatically."She said I can not hear myself!"

"Of course you can hear yourself." I said rubbing his back. "Everyone can hear themselves think no matter if you are deaf nor not."

"But she said I can not hear myself and so did Dad!"

Now this was starting to make sense. When Chance does not have his implants on, he can be loud and not know how loud he is. Apparently, he had taken the comment of, "You can't hear yourself" which has been said sometimes when his implants are off and he is louder than he realizes as an assault on his ability to hear himself.

"You can hear yourself right?" I asked.

Chance nodded slowly. "We all know that you can hear yourself in your own head. We all can hear ourselves. People may say,"You can not hear yourself when your implants are off and you are being louder than you think, but we all know that you can hear yourself think."

That seemed to help him and he could carry on.

How interesting that it would bother him so much when he thinks people are implying that he can not hear himself think.