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Thursday, February 5, 2009

That was fun! I love hearing from you all! :)

Unfortunately, you won't be hearing from me for awhile.
I'm off to a conference.
Actually, the meeting is in Grab-Your-Lasso, so I'm not really 'off' to anywhere.
My commute is all of five minutes. I'd much rather be flying off to Cancun or something.
Oh, well, I am out of the house and learning something new.
Anyway...The conference is for parents, teachers and anyone else who interacts with hard-of-hearing kids. Today was the first day, and I learned a TON!
For instance, did you know that when we bring our kiddos home from overseas and they're learning the language, its as difficult for them as it is for a kid with a moderate hearing loss? THAT's how confusing it is!
Wow! That explains a lot.
I'll try to give you all a run down early next week, but I will tell you it wasn't all kicks and grins.
I had a bit of a scare.
It all started when one of the presenters said if a child doesn't get help for their hearing impairment by the time they are three years old, its too late, they'll never be able to catch up...resulting in a serious cognitive delay.
Maddie didn't have any help until she was almost four.
She had the orphanage staff convinced she could hear everything but whispers. There were no hearing aids, no tests, no help at all.
Was it really too late?
But then I got to thinking...
This lady doesn't know Maddie.
She has no idea what this child is capable of.
She just threw out that blanket statement like it fit every child under the sun.
I understand there are a ton of hurdles Maddie has in front of her, but she is not cognitively delayed.
She's fine.
Her tests have come back cognitively on target...pretty good for a kid who's only been out of the orphanage a little over a year.
Just because she may have a more difficult time with language, doesn't mean she is not and will not function at her full potential.
I made a point of talking to the presenter about it after the session and I got the distinct impression she wasn't taking me seriously. I mean, after all, she's a Ph.D. and I'm just a recovering journalist, stay-at-home mom.
I can't stand being patronized by know-it-all academic types.
It ranks right up there with being lied to by my kids.
Thankfully, Maddie's speech and language pathologist was also at the conference and made a point of reassuring me...Maddie will be fine.
She is bright, works incredibly hard on her speech and refuses to be ignored. She won't be left behind. Her spunkiness will see to that.
Later in the day, the presenter did get a few points back. She clarified her statement saying the delay usually shows up in kids who withdraw. Extroverted kids tend to beat the odds.
Well there ya go!
Maddie is the definition of outgoing.
I told you she was going to be fine.
Anyway...tomorrow's another day.
And another presenter.
Let's see what else I can learn.

6 salty messages:

Old DAN AND Little ANN February 6, 2009 at 2:45 AM  

What a neat oppurtunity to get such specific information to what you are living day in and day out with your child. I hope a lot of lights go on for you (that sounds bad but I mean it in an encouraging, 'rootin' for ya' kind of way) and that you feel better equipped to handle present and future obstacles related to Maddie's hearing impairment. (Did that sound like a toast?)

pearly1979 February 6, 2009 at 6:47 AM  

My daughter is deaf in one ear and didn't come home until she was 6! Didn't get her hearing aid until a few months after she turned 7! She has issues with speech but she is a smart girl. I can't say she doesn't struggle cognitively at times, but I think it has more to do with the fact that her mom was an alcoholic and drank during her pregnancy than with her hearing loss. It is very frusterating when people throw blanket statements over children. They are constantly surprising us!

Tina in CT February 6, 2009 at 8:15 AM  

From your blog, it's easy to see that Maddie is bright, strong, determined and a survivor. She is getting excellent care with the program that she's in and you have gotten very good feedback from her teachers/specialists.

That's good that you are able to attend this conference as I'm sure it is helpful.

kate February 6, 2009 at 10:08 AM  

Hooray for learning new things--and for good news from the "expert" who actually KNOWS Maddie.

Bethany February 6, 2009 at 11:56 AM  

Oooo, I love conferences, even if there's no fun new location. And yes, sometimes we scientists are wrong. Especially when we generalize. But, I agree with you, after watching some of Maddie's videos, I don't think her hearing problems have held her back much!

Annie February 12, 2009 at 5:29 AM  

She is probably just SO used to parents saying that their child is "different". What can she really say until she meets the child. Having seen Maddie's video and having gotten to "know" her through your blog, I KNOW you are right and the more interesting thing is what attributes in children MAKE them beat the odds....but the expert doesn't know Maddie!

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