Friday, June 26, 2009

Nichole's Presentation to Teachers About Her Hearing Loss - 6/17/2009

Each year since Nichole was in pre-school, I have given a presentation to her teachers describing her hearing loss and her need for them to use the FM transmitter. This includes a demonstration of them listening through her hearing aid as I move around a classroom, with and without the FM activated. When Nichole hit high school, the administrators requested that I come in at the end of the school year to "pre-brief" her teachers for the following year. I have it down to a well orchestrated PowerPoint presentation which walks the teachers through a hearing overview, where Nichole's hearing resides with respect to environmental sounds, and the importance of the FM.

Two weeks before this year's meeting, I told Nichole that she would have to give the presentation. She is going to be a high school senior this fall, so this is her chance to get comfortable with talking to her teachers as a self advocate. For those who don't know her, Nichole is quite shy in these type of situations. The night before the meeting, she gave us a dry run. It was horrendous! She was mumbling, avoiding eye contact, leaving out any background information. We were considering not having her give the talk out of fear she would prejudice her teachers against her! But we forced ourselves to "let go" of the reins (tough thing to do as involved parents).

Nichole, my wife and I got to the meeting room a bit early and got the laptop set up with the school projector. As the "new" teachers arrived, Nichole gave them each a hard copy of the presentation. Once they were all seated, she started her presentation. Oh My God. She was awesome!!! She spoke with volume, authority and confidence. She made eye contact with all the teachers. She introduced herself, explained why she was talking to them, then walked them through the presentation flawlessly. She answered questions from her teachers in a comfortable manner throughout the talk. We were so proud of her. This was the Nichole we only dreamed she might become when we put that shy little girl on the bus to first grade 11 year ago. I wish I had hidden a video camera in the room in order to capture her presentation!

When Nichole finished her talk, she asked for any additional questions. Her chemistry teacher for next year said that he had an observation. He said that he was quite impressed that she was brave enough to stand before a group of new (to her) teachers and give such a good presentation. He said that it was obvious that she was comfortable talking with new people (yahoo!), and that he was impressed with her; that she seemed to be a fine young lady and he looked forward to having her in his class.

While I know I will miss her in a year and a half when Nichole goes away to college, the fact that she rose to the occasion and advocated for herself so eloquently helps allay one of our concerns for her secondary education. Go Nichole!!!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Hearing in the noisy Emergency Room - June 15, 2009

Since I haven't posted in a while, I will give you a very recent Nichole story . This past Friday, Nichole got the pinky of her right hand crushed in a car door. I took her to the ER, where they took x-rays and closed the cut that also came with the slightly broken finger.

Nichole was in the exam room, and I was walking back up the hall with the Dr., having just looked at her films. He stopped me and asked how Nichole managed pain (
we were about 25 feet down the *noisy* hall, and Nichole was 10 feet into the exam room, a 90 degree turn from the hall - all in all, about 35 feet from me). I explained that she has gone through two CI implantation surgeries, and handles it quite well (she is very stoic), and that she didn't like pain meds.

When I got back in the room, Nichole asked me why I had been telling the Dr. about her two surgeries! I was shocked that she had heard most of our conversation. I walked her to the door, and pointed to the spot down the hall where the chat had taken place. A grin came over her face. This is certainly one conversation she wouldn't have heard two years ago before her first CI.