We just got home from a fabulous weekend in the middle of nowhere. (No internet access! Limited cell service! The horror!) Peas' therapy center, the Center for Communication, Hearing and Deafness , puts together an amazing weekend every Summer for families across the state (and often from other states as well) with kids who have hearing loss and use ALL communication modes. There were kids with hearing aids, CI's, people were speaking, signing, and a combination of all of the above. It is so unique and so wonderful for those kids and their hearing siblings. The therapy staff works SO hard to plan exciting programming for the kids as well as presentations by speakers from all around the country. The theme this year was "Everyday Superheroes: Find the Power Within." (Last year the featured presenter was Christine Barton . You may recognize her voice from Advanced Bionics' Listening Room.)
This year the featured presenter was Matthew Rider, a licensed clinical professional counselor currently working as an adjunct faculty member at Gallaudet University . He is also a PhD candidate in pastoral counseling. Matt is approachable, engaging, warm and fun. He spoke to the
parents about how solid parenting skills can make all of us parents superheroes to our kids without compromising our own health in the process. He discussed the importance of self care (things like yoga, woot woot!) and the importance of consciously building relationships with our children. He said it like this:
WHAT KIND OF RELATIONSHIP DO YOU WANT TO HAVE WITH YOUR KIDS WHEN THEY ARE ADULTS?
I have never thought about it like that. We are always putting out fires as parents and not thinking much past next week. But once we frame it like that, it changes our perspective on how we want to act and what we should do with our children and say to our children and model to our children, don't you think? It was an aha! moment for me.
There were other great presenters as well: one was Stacey Lim, a practicing audiologist, cochlear implant user and PhD candidate at Kent State. I had the pleasure to hear Stacey speak at this Summer's AG Bell convention but didn't have a chance to talk to her informally until this weekend, and Misty Harrison, a coordinator at the Gallaudet University regional center who discussed her life as a Deaf woman in a hearing family. I also had the pleasure to present along with my friend Pam, who is also a Mom to kids with CI's. It was a great experience.
We also had time to swim in the lake, ride on a pontoon boat, make s'mores, create our own family shield, watch our kids sing and dance in their superhero costumes, and chat with other parents. There were two families who were waiting for their kids to receive cochlear implants (both with activation dates in the next two months) and it was SO exciting to share with them what's in store for their precious girls.
Here are the photo highlights from the weekend. A HUGE thank you to the staff at CCHD for making families the most important part of what they do. We are so very lucky.