Sunday, September 20, 2015

Being in the booth with Chance

Ahhhh, Chance and I got to spend time in the sound booth again last week.  We have been doing this for years now.  Actually, I have not been in a booth with Chance for a while as he is old enough to listen to the beeps on his own.  I went in this last week though just to see how he was doing.

I love implants, I really do.  They have done so much for my children and opened up a whole new world to them.  They are amazing and I am so grateful for the man who invented them and for the companies who make them.

Implant hearing is amazing but Chance is still deaf and does not hear as well as I do.  When we sat in the booth together, we were having a great time.  Chance would tease me about things and I would tease him back.  Then it was time to be quiet and listen.  The audiologist did the sentence test with background noise where a man says a sentence with people talking in the background and Chance repeats what he hears.  The voices in the background start out low and then get louder as the sentences go on.

The sentence may be something like, "She said she will come by tomorrow."  It sounds as if there is a party going on and you are listening to someone speak as several other people at the party are having their own conversations in the background.

Chance did really well.  He was hearing much of what was said at first. As the background noise got louder I could hear all of the sentences. Chance could not.  At one point at the end, Chance just looked at the audiologist and said, " I have no idea."

Experiences like this make me appreciate Chance and his efforts to hear even more.  He lives in a world full of sound, and attends school where there is continual background noise, yet Chance just plugs along and doesn't let his hearing loss hinder him from what he wants to do.

At one point during the hearing test, Chance plopped his shoe up on my lap.  I couldn't say anything since it was supposed to be quiet in the booth, so I just looked at him and shrugged.  He nodded back at me and I looked down to study his shoe and figure out what he was trying to get me to do.  One of the tongues of his shoes was twisted and needed to be pulled back up.  I adjusted that wayward tongue and then Chance smiled at me and took his foot down.  Apparently that was what I was supposed to do.

Who says you can't communicate in the sound booth and have fun?

Monday, September 14, 2015

Do you consider yourself disabled?

Would you like to know what many of my conversations are like with Chance lately?  Here is a sampling:

"Can we go get my learners permit?"

"HEY! We should go get my learners permit right now!"

"Mom, lets go get my learners permit."

"I need to get my learners permit today."

Later with more emotion:
This is Chance's smile when he has had a shot at the dentist's
 office.

"I NEED to get my learners permit TODAY!"

Unfortunately for Chance, we have one of our cars in the shop this week so this means we are short a car.  This in turn means that there are less opportunities to go get his learners permit so he can start officially learning to drive.

The driver's license application asks if you consider yourself disabled under the American Disabilities Act.
We are careful when we talk about Chance's deafness with people who may not understand deafness because just telling them that Chance is deaf sometimes makes them think that he is less capable than he is. So what does it mean if you put that you are disabled on your driver's license?  I
I don't want people to automatically assume that Chance is not capable just because he is deaf.  So we called  a deaf friend to ask her about the driver's license application and what it means if you mark you are disabled.
She brought up some great points that I had not thought of before.  Every parent of a deaf child should have access to a deaf adult for a resource of information about what certain things are like if you are deaf and wear an implant or hearing aid.  Thank you my deaf adult friends for helping me see things in your world when I need to.

Our friend told us that she marked she considered herself disabled on her license and a there is a little indicator on the license that says you are deaf if you mark that.

How does this help or hinder someone?

For our friend, she may or may not have been pulled over at night and the policeman may or may not have been shining his flashlight into her eyes and so she could not see him or his lips to lip read.  She may or may not have had a hard time understanding him with the light shining in her eyes and the background noise all around her. The policeman should have actually noticed that her license stated that she was deaf but he didn't.

The point is, I had not thought about Chance being pulled over and not being able to see the officer in the dark while having to battle lot of background noise.

That kind of situation would be intimidating for a hearing person as being pulled over by a policeman is always a bit nerve racking and then if it is dark and the officer is shining a flashlight in our eyes while you fumble for your license and to answer questions........that can be a tense situation all by itself.  Add in being deaf and not being able to hear everything AND not seeing the officer very well...that would be horrible.

Also, if Chance were to be in an accident and his implants came off, having it marked on his license that he is deaf would hopefully help first responders realize that Chance can not hear them and is not ignoring them.  This could be vital information on an accident scene.

We should have our car back this week.  This means that Chance should have an opportunity to get his learners permit and mark that he considers himself disabled under the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Chance is certainly capable of doing anything he wants to do, but having policemen and emergency personnel aware that Chance is deaf by looking at his license will help him in the long run I believe.