A duty, nay, a privilege

I have a friend whose baby was born around the same time as D. Back then she didn’t have a car so when I drove into downtown to go to Whole Foods, she would go with me and stock up on the things our neighborhood stores didn’t carry. We got some healthy food and good company, our babies got a car ride and a ride in a cart.

Once on a dark winter afternoon, as we sat in traffic that inched us closer to home, she told me her son, a year older than Lei, had been diagnosed with ADHD.

I wish I remembered exactly what she said about it, but all I remember is the black sky above and the rain hitting the windshield as I sat there thinking, “That sounds just like Lei.” Continue reading

Beyond my parenting life

I’ve been insanely busy over the last month, working on an exciting project that has taken precedence over any of my other writing projects.

A couple of years ago on Chicago’s local NPR affiliate, I heard an interview with a woman who had developed something called The Drinkable Book. The pages of the book are antimicrobial filters that convert water contaminated with feces and other ickiness to clean, safe, drinkable water. Each page can filter enough water for one person for a month! Extremely cool idea, right? Continue reading

Congratulations your baby is deaf….

I love this vision: that hearing “Your child is deaf” is viewed as a positive, a new adventure. I have certainly met some of the most wonderful, interesting, creative and dauntless people in the world during my time as the mother of a deaf child. I wouldn’t give it up for the world!

The Other Child

My son just got over a bad upper respiratory infection that took us to the ER and has required antibiotics to treat. He’s feeling better, but I realized as I cared for him and admittedly rushed him back to school, that as the “other” kid, he doesn’t always get the patience and care I have often given to my daughter. However, now that she is sick with the same thing, everything seems to be evening out because I’m already tired from caring for one sick child. Nothing is ever perfect, is it?

Parenting a Deaf and Gifted Child

When you have a child with special needs that take up a lot of your time and attention, what about the other children?

I only have two children: Lei, my older child, the one with lots of appointments, therapies, quirks and challenges, and my younger child. My more or less neurotypical child, the one whose challenges are more minor. The other child.

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Can You Hear Me Now?

I love this video of a young deaf woman speaking in her own words about how she feels about being deaf.

Like this family, we opted for both signing and speaking with Lei. It turned out to be a good choice, I think. Lei’s language skills are a good indication that getting language into her brain any way we could was the right strategy. And it’s interesting that the young woman in the video doesn’t view being deaf as a disability, but she would like people to remember that she is deaf and communicate with her appropriately.  Continue reading

2015 in review

What was your favorite post of 2015? See what other readers responded to in the 2015 annual report for Parenting Deaf and Gifted, created by the WordPress.com stats helper monkeys. Thank you, monkeys!

But most of all thank YOU for reading, commenting and sharing on my blog in its first tumultuous year. Here’s to an exciting 2016 full of growth, exploration and learning!

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

School refusal, or what anxiety does when it smells blood in the water

This morning Lei woke up and blew her nose about 20 times. A mountain of tissue accumulated on the bed next to her and she looked at me miserably.

“Mom,” she moaned, “I don’t feel well.”

I could see that, and my heart went out to her. I told her to ask her dad – when he got out of the shower – if he thought she was sick enough to stay home.

As she waited about five minutes for her dad, Lei became more and more miserable. She groaned and held her head, blew her nose another score of times, and ran to the toilet to throw up a bit of bile.

By the time my husband got out of the shower, Lei was a complete mess. Fat tears rolled down her cheeks as she told him how terrible she felt and that she really couldn’t go to school today.

But I had watched her emotional state escalate from “I feel cruddy” to “Going to school will kill me dead.” I could see what had happened: she smelled blood in the water.  Continue reading

And I thought the cochlear implants were for her …

We have been enjoying Lei’s return to what for her is normal hearing. I wrote this reflection on the impact of her first cochlear implant on our family life shortly after her second implant surgery.

Parenting a Deaf and Gifted Child

Pic of Lei from behind, her aquamarine processor is visible. Lei heads back to school with her new CI activated for the first time. October, 2014

Last summer Lei and I were talking one night before she went to bed. She had been reading a book that I thought  put too much emphasis on the romantic interests of a girl barely older than Lei. I said I want her to stay focused on developing her inner self, not her appearance.

She replied, “I’m worried I’m going to lose all my confidence and only care how I look to boys. That’s why I want a cochlear implant.”

What now?

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The Other Child

When you have a child with special needs that take up a lot of your time and attention, what about the other children?

I only have two children: Lei, my older child, the one with lots of appointments, therapies, quirks and challenges, and my younger child. My more or less neurotypical child, the one whose challenges are more minor. The other child. Continue reading

Breakthrough on the left

At Lei’s audiology appointment on Tuesday, the audiologist gently asked how we were doing. She listened to Lei about how she has been feeling, and thoughtfully absorbed the suggestions for programming we had come up with in our meeting with the d/hh team at school.

Finally it was time to take the plunge. I handed over the left processor and the audiologist connected it to her computer on one end and to Lei’s head on the other.  Continue reading