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Just Plugging Along

Posted Apr 21 2010 9:51am

Is my deaf son really turning eight this month? He looks at the calendar every day since April started to let me know how many more days. He has decided to NOT have a friends party this year. I offered a plane ride as a second option and it won out to having a big party.

Ethan is in love with planes. Reading everything he can about planes, drawing pictures, and talking with the pilots down at the local airstrip. He is an amazing kid and I can't express how this kid just gets life around him.

He is about to finish up second grade this spring and is well on his way to 3rd grade. Already reading at a 3rd grade level and pushing himself now at the piano. He just plugs along in a our large family and recently has become the big brother to a little puppy named Eddie.

Learning how to care for a pet is a huge thing for a kid. They are not stuffed animals, need to be taken potty, and fed. He is learning along with his brothers.

I want to address something important here about Ethan. There were many frustrations, anger, outbursts physically, challenges of the will etc with Ethan in his earlier years. Behaviors that were given names and labels. Behaviors that if diagnosed and the parent accepts puts a child into the system allowing more government funding for your child. I stand, mostly alone on this topic, but still speak boldly.

Had I followed the council and advice of the specialists involved in Ethan's life things would be a lot different for him. He only had a 3 year 6 month vocabulary at 5 years old. He was hard to understand and he had trouble articulating. This angered him and produced behaviors that were then labeled as well. Had I started him in public school with the wonderful government funding and services my child would have been in "special ed". There is a time and a place for "special ed" but not for my child.

I knew that Ethan had every right to be angry, and did not have the tools to understand his anger. Anger was still not going to be tolerated and he was taught how to use his anger in constructive ways. He was diagnosed as "oppositional disorder" and I was shown how to work with this kind of child. I had to laugh. The teaching was how to continue Ethan to have these behaviors because it IS a clinical disorder, his wiring. I never went back.

Ethan started Kindergarten in a private school with no special services. Guess what they even let him be part of the complete classroom structure. Ethan learned how to use his words, how to read, how to have self-control. All these disorders which would have easily followed him, and follow many kids because they are allowed to have behaviors that a text book defines. So sad to think. I know I may make some people a little upset in reading this, but if a behavior is not consistent in every element of life it's NOT a DISORDER. Children are brilliant. Even the deaf ones with limited communication skills.

Show them more, expect more and watch your child become more. As long as the government has your kid in the system the specialist are paid more for the less your child does. Your child's "less" allows him to stay in the system.

I sat in a session for parents of deaf children a couple of years back. A parent was distraught to have her child's hearing tested to a normal level. She cried. She said that as long as her son had hearing problems the school bus would pick him up at their front door. Now he has to wait for a bus at the corner of her street.

It is no accident that Ethan has had to rise to the occasion of appropriate behaviors, expectations to do well in school, and now the esteem that he has that he can do it. If your child is deaf and you have instincts about their brilliance act on it. The government has their job, and it's not based on your kid's brilliance. You the parent must recognize this. And we continue to just plug along.
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