A Self Advocate is Born

Things around here are still overwhelming. And as I now try to advocate for Jonathan and his needs at the day care (they are trying but they just don’t understand his understanding is at a 3 year old level so you can’t reason with logic…or the attachment piece…sigh) and the last several days with the school system as we get ready to enter kindergarten, very unprepared I might add, I have a feeling that things are about to get worse before they get better.

But, as I ramp up the advocating, so has somebody else. And so I want to focus on some good news and a very proud moment and forget all the hard and yucky stuff for a bit.

I’ve been trying to get Jonathan to ‘advocate’ a little bit for himself too over the summer as I know this skill is one he will need throughout his life and is oh so very important. I know he’s a bit young yet, but you got to start somewhere!

We talk lots about his CI’s, why he wears them (“I’m Deaf!” he shouts), how his ears don’t work and mine do…but my eyes don’t work so I wear glasses but his do so he doesn’t etc. He gets it now that he’s deaf and can’t hear without his CI’s…in theory anyway. Sometimes it seems like he really doesn’t remember or notice that he can’t hear because he’s so observant of others and his environment.

Anyway, this summer while at a couple of splash pad/spray parks, where he needs to take his CI’s off and I’m not at his side to interpret for him, we have chatted about if he sees somebody talking to him he needs to say and sign “I can’t hear you, I’m deaf” so people know he’s not ignoring them or being rude but that he can’t hear. We practice this and he’s got it. But it seems like he’s moving to fast in actuality to ever notice that anybody is trying to talk to him (or he forgets that he’s deaf temporarily!)

So last week I experienced the beginning of the pay off to all of our chats.

We were out for a walk and Jonathan was running ahead. There was another little boy on the side walk and by the time I got there they were talking trucks like they were old friends. While the mom and I chatted and the boys pieced together this ridiculously cute conversation. Inevitably I hear the boy ask “what are those?” pointing to his CI’s.

AND HE REPLIED BACK “MY EARS”

Completely unprompted!!!

And I secretly did a dance in my head.

AND when the boy asked Jonathan why he had those, I did have to repeat the question to him but he casually answered to the boy “Im Deaf” in a tone that suggested ‘no big deal, whateves’.

So proud of him!

Tomorrow is a splash pad day after day care, and I could really use a victory to cap off a crappy couple weeks. My fingers are crossed he’ll say his practiced line to somebody tomorrow;)

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Have a great weekend everyone!

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10 thoughts on “A Self Advocate is Born

  1. Wow that is wonderful. You have done a fantastic job. My mum’s cousin has 3 sons who had to have CI’s (eldest just got married) and growing up I know how hard she had to work to support them with explaining to others (and they didn’t have the attachment stuff to deal with as well) So, Well done to you both.

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