Friday, March 30, 2012

Just a Typical Kid

I'm pretty sure any parent who has ever had a special needs child can relate to that feeling of just hoping and praying that their child will fit in somewhere and have friends and be loved.  I'm no different than any other parent in that sense.  Having my boys fit in and make friends is something that has always weighed on my mind.

What if kids make fun of the way he talks?  What if he doesn't talk at all?  What if others are afraid he's contagious or scary so they run from him?  What if they tease him relentlessly?  What if he ends up being that one kid that always eats alone in the cafeteria and never has a friend on the playground?  What if?

It's a constant worry that just nags at a parent's heart strings.  Last year, CJ was that kid playing alone on the playground mostly because he doesn't have the gross motor skills to keep up with the other little boys. This year, he's playing better. I think.  Still, I have often found myself wondering "Will he ever get to be just a typical kid? Will he ever have friends that can see past the implants and love him just the way he is?"

Last night was second grade dad's night, so CJ and Byron went to his school instead of to CJ's cub scout pack meeting. I went to pack meeting because it was disability awareness night and I'd said I would come and help teach the boys sign language.  There were several stations set up and the boys were broken down into groups of two or three to go around the tables.  In total, I'd guess there were about two dozen boys between the ages of eight and ten.  Maybe less than that actually.

As each pair would come to my table, I'd start by asking the same question: "Do you happen to know anyone who is Deaf or hard of hearing?".  NONE of the boys could think of anyone they knew who had a hearing loss.  Not one. Some of them thought really hard and said something like, "Doesn't your littlest boy have a hearing aid or something?".  No one pointed out to me that CJ is deaf.

On the surface, this seems like a no big deal kind of thing. In my heart, though, I was rejoicing.  In the minds of these boys with whom CJ spends a pretty good portion of his time, CJ is just another kid.  He might be the kid who talks a lot or maybe the kid always has some weird tidbit of information to share or maybe even the kid who gets really excited about everything.  But, he is NOT the Deaf kid with the weird things stuck to his head.  He's just plain old CJ.  It almost pained me a little to inform these boys that their friend is actually very deaf and can't hear anything without his processors attached, but I was pleased to see that they took it as if I were saying he had brown hair. It's no big deal to him.  Why?  Because they are his friends. True friends.


  1. This is beyond-words awesome.

  2. Loved that. Thanks for sharing. Gave me goosebumps! So so sweet.

  3. So sweet.The same will happen for Liam too someday.