Friday, April 15, 2011

Reality Bites

Most of the time I really am just fine with the fact that my children have special needs. In fact, I usually embrace it. Every now and then, though, something will happen that forces me to look at the reality of the situation. It's in those times that I feel like I take a little baby step back. While I certainly don't find myself wallowing in self pity or sobbing into my pillow, I do find myself sighing a little more heavily.

After Rachel's visit with Dr. C. on Wednesday, I spoke to Sara (deaf ed. teacher) and gave her the updates. We didn't really learn anything new other than the fact that she has very thin ear drums and that the plan is to hope her ears stay the way they are rather than to get worse. I let her know that Dr. C. didn't seem overly concerned by the amount she was missing and that maybe we didn't have to do very much in the way of an IEP or interventions for her. Her response was my first reality check for the week. She reminded me that Val (audiologist) is a little concerned about the level of Rachel's loss, and that Rachel will really struggle in Kindergarten if we don't do something to help her. It's not like she's going to need a ton, but the teacher will be wearing an FM and a sound field speaker will be placed in the classroom.

Rachel is so well-adjusted and "normal" that it's been easy to pretend that she really doesn't have a hearing loss. She plays like other kids her age, has friends her own age, didn't have any developmental delays, and has pretty good speech. Plus, she's my girl. We had always thought the CJ and Liam had a genetic thing that only applied to boys. Now we know that can't really be true. It's a little bit of a blow.

Then there's Liam. He's so happy. I mean, he's naughty, mischievous, into everything, and busier than a one legged man in a butt kicking contest, but he is just so happy. And smart. He is so very smart. Yes, he's behind his peers, but I guess sometimes I allow myself to pretend that that's just Liam and he's really fine. And the truth is that he is fine. But, he's also Deaf. And he has some health issues.

After parent ed. today, Betsy handed me his most recent audiograms. I've looked at them before, but today they really struck me. I compared them to the banana audiogram and really saw just how much he doesn't hear. It's a lot. He barely hears the lawn mower, doesn't hear the piano being played, and is nowhere near hearing any parts of speech. I mean, he can hear those things we believe with his hearing aids in, but...well, he's just very Deaf.

So, this week I was given a little bit of a reality check. It wasn't anything I didn't already know on paper. Still, today reality bites. Thank goodness there is always tomorrow.

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