Gone Crazy, Back Later: One Parent’s Experience Finding Balance

This week we’re focusing on the ways families make listening and spoken language a part of every day while juggling the schedules and activities of a busy family life. Here’s how one parent leads her family through their LSL life.

My motto, "Gone crazy, Back later" is how I would take on any new challenge, and this would be my advice to other parents. When Sophia was diagnosed with progressive hearing loss, we were devastated and grieved. Then we got to work!

Similar to any medical diagnosis, I poured my heart and soul into it. I searched the entire western United States trying to seek out information for how best to provide my daughter with the ability to function in a normal hearing environment. Fortunately, I didn’t have to look too far to find aggressive support to treat her. Yes, we did have to seek out treatment beyond our local school for the deaf, but we now have a 6-year-old girl that, despite her hearing loss, is able to function in a normal hearing environment. 
What I did? I sought aggressive treatment. What we were willing to pay for early on helped eliminate the need for future therapy, tutoring and will help her be prepared for advanced educational opportunities.  

We changed the little things. We eliminated movie nights (doesn't allow for much communication) and eating out (take-out or baking at home is better and we can use dinner time to communicate rather than a noisy restaurant). My lunches were spent doing teleintervention with Sophia and our therapist. During commuting time, we practiced our therapy activities using an FM system. I would teach my older children, husband and grandparents about what we were doing in teleintervention, and have them incorporate it in their visits and communication with Sophia.

I work full time, have four very active kids and I’m working on my doctorate, but when it comes to quality of medical care (including audiology and listening and spoken language intervention), I prioritized what mattered, and Sophia's teleintervention took precedence over many other activities. 

Our home (and cars) may look and feel more like a classroom with cards posted to furniture, books lying around and NO TV or music on in the great room, but we have a child who is deaf learning to listen and speak with spoken language. 

Some may think I have "gone crazy" placing so much energy on communication and spoken language development, but it is our new normal and we're happy being a little crazy. 

Our thanks to Heather Merkley and family for this guest post.