Before our children were born, they had a special conversation with God. They asked Him to give them parents that would care for them, help them with their special needs and most of all love them more than anything else. With that we were chosen as parents to these beautiful children. And for that we are honored and forever grateful. 
Thank you Emma & Harrison for choosing us.

April 9, 2009

Hearing loss doesn't keep local woman from being "just like you"

For too many employees, reporting to work every morning means just another day at the office. But for Jennifer, the punch of the clock as it stamps her J.C. Penney Co. time card is a success story, a validation of her newfound courage and confidence. Complications from jaundice and hepatitis soon after birth robbed the 25-year-old of most of her hearing, but that doesn’t keep this smiling young woman from thoroughly enjoying her first mainstream job.

While Jennifer’s speech may be difficult for some to readily understand, she and her work supervisor at J.C. Penney seem to have few problems. As they walk companionably through the stock areas, she is intermittently given instructions. Jennifer wears a strong hearing device and is improving her lip-reading skills.

This woman works for the same company I do. She, in a store and I in the home office. I come across recognition announcements which tend to happen far more readily in the stores than in the corporate office. Hmmm, interesting. The woman in the article above was given an associate of the monthe recognition award for outstanding work. She is for the most part, deaf.

It's hard for me to discern between the good of this article and the bad, or even if there is any bad. The one thing good I can say is that she is working among hearing peers and doing very well. She seems to be treated fairly and obviously recognized for good work. It is also obvious that being among people who can hear and are "normal" is of great benefit to her. So let's think logically.... remember she's 25 and this is her first "mainstream" job and probably her first "mainstream" anything, and look how well she's doing.

Ok so for the bad thing. This is her first "mainstream" job and probably her first "mainstream" anything.

So here's the message. Your children are normal. It doesn't matter the severity of their hearing loss, the cause of their hearing loss or anything else. So if possible, do not segregate them. Allow them to live among normal hearing peers. Include them in activities which requires good listening skills.

I realize that some parents may have financial constraints or goegraphical limitations and that some kids have very severe losses and even cochlear implants are helping in only a minimal way, so special schools may be needed. That is fine. In fact I commend parents for going that extra mile to support and provide for their kids. But there is always extra curricular activities. My daughter was in ballet! She had to perform a recital choreographed to music. There were no visual cues. She just had to listen. And guess what...she had a blast and did great. She never once felt out of place. She's now in Girl Scouts and loves that too. We have put her in "normal" situations since she was born. And I have to say, we have a very confident little girl on our hands! And it doesn't have to be something that costs a lot of money. Go back to basics and play board games, or cards; Emma loves Go Fish! And of course READ READ READ!

I've asked Emma at different times if any of her friends at "mainstream" kindergarten ask her what her implants are. She said in the beginning of the school year some asked and she just told them that they were her ears from the doctor. And that was the end of it. She just knows that's how she is and others may not be and that's ok. In fact she has never asked me or my husband or any other family member why we don't have implants. She just knows that's what makes her special.

Just remember, your children are normal. Treat them that way and they will act that way.

1 comment:

  1. I was just speaking to Nathan's therapist today about this same topic. I described it to her this way ~ it's like playing tennis. I love playing with those that are better than I am because it's a challenge ~ it makes me a better player. Our children need to be in inclusive learning environments that will challenge them. If children are kept among those just like them (whatever that may be) where is the incentive to reach for the stars?