Saturday, May 31, 2008

Out in Public with the Hearing Aids

We took our first trip out in public since Aiden got his hearing aids. It was for Kailyn's field day at school, she's in the first grade. I thought what a great place for him to get some kind of stimulation with all of the kid's voices and laughter! It was a lot of fun and Kailyn had a blast! For those of you who don't know Kailyn, she has a very strong personality who has no problem saying what she needs to, doesn't have a shy bone in her body, and is a little comedian! When the GIRLS beat the BOYS at tug-of-war, Kailyn yelled out "oh yeah, oh yeah, girl's rule, girl's rule, boy's stink!" as she danced around shaking her butt! We need to work on the being a good "winner" part still!

Kailyn is so proud of her brother so everyone in her class knows Aiden. A lot of the kids would come over to check him out and as 7 year olds, ask "what's that thing in his ear?" to which I replied "When he was born his ears didn't work and he can't hear, so these help fix that and help him hear, they're called hearing aids." Then there were all kinds of responses, "hmmm", "they're cute", "cool", and my favorite, "so they're kinda like band aids?" How cute are kids! One kid looked right at me and said "Someone told me he was deaf" and I just truthfully responded, "Yes he is, but one day soon, he will hear!"

After Kailyn's field day was over, I headed to my fourth grade class to join them for their field day (I teach at this same school, but am still on maternity leave). I've brought Aiden up a couple times to my class, but not since he's had his hearing aids. As my fourth graders surrounded me and admired Aiden, a few of them asked about the "things" on his ears and again I told them about his hearing. As I think about it now, I should've used this as a teachable moment on uniqueness. That was one of my biggest lessons all year long, how we are all unique and special in our own way. Oh well. They were too hyped up for field day, and really had the same reactions as the first graders ... "oh, ok, cool". Kids amaze me!

Now, to the other spectrum, parents. Most of my student's parents are aware of Aiden's hearing loss and have been very supportive and were excited to see him in his hearing aids. A lot of the parents throughout the school I don't know, but they know me from working at the school. They'd rush up with a big smile to see Aiden and I'd sorta see their smile disappear with a quiet "congrats ... cute ... how is he? is everything ok?" and they'd walk away ... no more conversation, nothing. I was okay with this ... it's not like we all know each other, BUT, I did think, we could still talk, we don't HAVE to talk about what you see, he is more than his ears.

What I've always known and have experienced myself, is that disabilities scare people, adults I believe, more than children. Kids are amazing, they look past the disability, I've seen this in my classrooms. What I learned yesterday is that I am not scared anymore. I was so proud to walk around with my son and was ready for anyone to ask about his ears. I am proud of who he is and will not hide behind his deafness, because it's his deafness that will enable me to be more than I ever was before!


Ben's Mom said...

Hi Tammy Jean,

Congrats on getting hearing aids. Thanks for your post on Ben's blog, too. I'd love to keep in touch and check on your family's progress.

Ben's mom, Kate

Tamara said...

Tammy, Thank you so much for sharing your family's journey! Congratulations on the new aids! I hope that Aiden does well with them! I can so relate to how people react. It's like they don't know what to say so they think it's better to just walk away. :(

Aiden is adorable!!

Leah said...

I have to say he is the cutest little man!! I can not wait for him to meet Caden, they will have a blast together~! I am truly amazed by your spirit. You are such an inspiration to me especially as a new mother myself. God certainly gives us strength to overcome things that we didn't think we could deal with. You are going to help so many people with your positive attitude. Can't wait to get together. Someone wanted me to give you this message....Leah

Tammy, Trust Me. I have everything under control ~ Jesus