Sharing stories of fear, frustration, hope and acceptance

Archive for December, 2011

My Family

This was a trip to the county fair in October of 2011.

I am Jackie, a thirty-one year old stay at home mother of Frankie, who’s six, and Adam who’s two and a half-years old. I was a substitute teacher while I received my Bachelor Degree in Liberal Studies and was to become a special education teacher. Our second son Adam was born at 33 weeks and weighed only 2 lbs 6 oz. and plans changed. He was born Deaf and has multiple special needs. The past three years has changed our family dramatically. Before Adam we were a hearing household, we took many aspects of sound and language for granted. Now we are a Deaf and Hearing household and we are in the process of trying to adapt to the many changes. We want to make sure that Adam grows up in his family feeling included and loved. One of the steps we have taken as a family to adapt to Adams communication needs is to learn American Sign Language. My husband is Joey, before Adam Joey was a wonderful father to Frankie- his clone. Now Joey is beyond wonderful-father status. He has really taken ASL seriously and embraced ASL and Deaf Culture whole heartedly. He is extremely self motivated to learn for Adam’s sake. He works long hard days out doors and still finds the time to take the classes and attend Deaf events. Then there is Frankie. He is the best big brother Adam could have, he is patient, warm-hearted and extremely helpful and understanding in sometimes critical situations. Frankie told me once right after Adam had a seizure, “mom I’ll help you, I’ll do any thing for my baby brother”. He attends a school where local Deaf children attend. Frankie has recently become friends with a Deaf boy, which we all have enjoyed getting to know. In order to communicate they use sign language and it is so awesome to witness. Its one of my new favorite things. This is a brief overview of my family I will continue to blog and share information that I have found helpful, frustrating, scary, humorous and uplifting. Please feel free to comment or ask anything. My hope is that we can find similarities within our differences and we can share support as parents of special needs children.

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A Turning Point

Our son was born prematurely weighing 2lbs.6oz. He had to stay in the NICU for two-months and after his discharge he was re admitted for another week and a half. This was the beginning of many hospitalizations. In the meantime, his hearing was tested numerous times at different hospitals and he never passed the tests. I knew he was deaf at about six months old. He would not respond to any sounds. The one thing he did respond to was the home security alarm.
Our son did not get diagnosed until one-year old. That may seem early to most people but as his mother it seemed to take so long. I decided early on that I had a choice. I could fear the unknown while I waited until an audiologist confirmed what I had been feeling or I could accept the situation and hope for the best. So I started signing to him. I had taken an ASL class years ago but did not remember any signs so I just started making things up; moving my hands, making exaggerated facial expressions, and being extra silly at play time. His eyes would glue to me and he would become memorized by each movement. This response was better than when I would call his name and get nothing so I continued.
Our family is now learning to sign, my husband and I take ASL classes and we try to attend events within the Deaf community. Watching people sign makes me realize how much more I have to learn. It can be very overwhelming yet inspiring. I have to remind myself to be patient. In the mean time we have decided to try every thing within our power to ensure that our son has every opportunity that hearing people have. We want him to grow up in a home filled with acceptance and encouragement. This is why we are so proud of our “DEAF CHILDREN NEAR” sign. I never in my wildest dreams would have thought that a street sign would mean so much to me. The street sign is a symbol to our family. It of course represents safety but more importantly it symbolizes pride, determination, and love for our child. We are neither ashamed nor sad for our son, he is a magnificent human being that has an intense charisma which draws people to him and they are happier after they leave him. We know he is meant for something extraordinary and as his parents we want to do all we can to get him there. He has no problems communicating he only uses a different language and after accepting the situation; the street sign was just one place for us to start.
If you are interested in getting a “Deaf Children Near” sign start by contacting an advocate or mentor organization. In our case it was a BGLAD ADVOCATE.

20120108-103020.jpg

A Turning Point

Our son was born prematurely weighing 2lbs.6oz. He had to stay in the NICU for two-months and after his discharge he was re admitted for another week and a half. This was the beginning of many hospitalizations. In the meantime, his hearing was tested numerous times at different hospitals and he never passed the tests. I knew he was deaf at about six months old. He would not respond to any sounds. The one thing he did respond to was the home security alarm.
Our son did not get diagnosed until one-year old. That may seem early to most people but as his mother it seemed to take so long. I decided early on that I had a choice. I could fear the unknown while I waited until an audiologist confirmed what I had been feeling or I could accept the situation and hope for the best. So I started signing to him. I had taken an ASL class years ago but did not remember any signs so I just started making things up; moving my hands, making exaggerated facial expressions, and being extra silly at play time. His eyes would glue to me and he would become memorized by each movement. This response was better than when I would call his name and get nothing so I continued.
Our family is now learning to sign, my husband and I take ASL classes and we try to attend events within the Deaf community. Watching people sign makes me realize how much more I have to learn. It can be very overwhelming yet inspiring. I have to remind myself to be patient. In the mean time we have decided to try every thing within our power to ensure that our son has every opportunity that hearing people have. We want him to grow up in a home filled with acceptance and encouragement. This is why we are so proud of our “DEAF CHILDREN NEAR” sign. I never in my wildest dreams would have thought that a street sign would mean so much to me. The street sign is a symbol to our family. It of course represents safety but more importantly it symbolizes pride, determination, and love for our child. We are neither ashamed nor sad for our son, he is a magnificent human being that has an intense charisma which draws people to him and they are happier after they leave him. We know he is meant for something extraordinary and as his parents we want to do all we can to get him there. He has no problems communicating he only uses a different language and after accepting the situation; the street sign was just one place for us to start.
If you are interested in getting a “Deaf Children Near” sign start by contacting an advocate or mentor organization. In our case it was a BGLAD ADVOCATE.

20120108-103020.jpg