8 Back to School Tips-2017 Edition

 

1. Begin with a fresh start.

This is a new school year, which means it’s an opportunity for a brand new start! Your child has different teachers, different classmates, maybe your child is even in a new school.  Either way, this year you know more. 

You know what words to use, you know the IEP system better and that your child’s school is legally required to serve your child, you know how to work with your child, and you know that your child can succeed with this support.  

And, this year, you have a whole team of support behind you! Just remember: you, the parent, know your child best; you, the parent, are the most important part of the team; you, the parent, are empowered.

2. Fill out Beginnings’ Back to School Introduction Letter

This letter will provide important information about your child to his/her teacher(s).  Providing your child’s teacher(s) with information about your child before the school year starts can be a great way to prepare them so that they know how to best work with your child.

The Introduction Letter includes basic information about your child, their likes/dislikes, and information about their hearing loss, skills, and communication strategies. It also has a section covering the best way(s) to communicate with you and other involved family members.    Just fill out this letter and give a copy to each of your child’s teachers.  If you need some help filling this out, call Beginnings SC.  At the 2017 Back to School Bash, there will be a workshop explaining this with more detail. Join us! 

3. Find Your Child’s Most Current Audiogram and IEP

When we talk about current audiological evaluations for your child, we mean an evaluation that was completed less than one year ago.   You may already have an audiological evaluation that is less than a year old for your child. If so, find it! You will want to have this on hand for meetings at the beginning of the school year.   If your child’s most current audiological evaluation is older than one year, you will want to have one done soon, preferably before the school year starts.

Having the most current, up-to-date information about your child’s hearing, is important so that their current hearing status can be explained to new school personnel and considered when reevaluating their IEP.

Maybe there have been changes during the summer.  Look over the most recent IEP and see if there are changes that need to be made.  If so, set up an IEP meeting for the beginning of this coming school year. 

4. Check That Your Child’s Amplification Systems Are Working Properly

This is an important aspect! If your child has an amplification system – hearing aids, cochlear implant, etc – be sure that it is clean and in working condition. If your child is at an appropriate age,  with him/her so he/she can start learning the importance of caring for their equipment. If the equipment belongs to the school district, go ahead and contact the teacher of the deaf/hard of hearing that works with your child and request a status update.

Send extra batteries to school with your child so that if a battery dies unexpectedly, he/she will not lose an opportunity. This will also teach your child self-advocacy skills.

5. Meet With School Staff

Contact your child’s Teacher of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing and set up a time to meet the staff at your child’s school. This is a great way to prepare them for working with your child, ensuring that all needs and accommodations are met, and that they know you will be holding them accountable.

You’ll want to give them a copy of your completed Beginnings SC’s Back to School Introduction Letter and go over it with them. This will allow everyone to be on the same page and have time to ask questions about your child.

Also, make sure that everyone knows your child’s accommodations – the more knowledge they have, including knowing that you know what your child needs, the more likely they are to serve your child to the best of their ability.   Inform the teachers about the best way to stay in touch with you and other involved family members. Show them the last page in the Back to School Introduction Letter that has this information.

The more prepared and knowledgeable you can make the school staff, the better the year will be for your child!

6. Take Your Child to School

This is especially important for your child transitioning to a new school, but also important for a child returning to the same school.  During that first week before students start, go to the school and walk around.  Meet new faces in the front office.  Stop by and see the nurse, guidance counselor, and the administration.  Look around and notice if there are new initiatives – like a new behavior incentive program for all students – so you can help your child about

7. Make Sure Your Child Has School Supplies

Your child’s teacher(s) should send out a list of the school supplies that your child will need throughout the year.  Make sure your child has all of them and a good way to keep them organized and together so that he/she will be well-prepared and not lose them!

SC’s tax-free weekend is coming up soon– August 4-6, 2017 this year. Get more info at https://dor.sc.gov/TaxFreeWeekend

Items that are tax-free that weekend include:

  • Clothing
  • Footwear
  • Computers
  • Accessories
  • School supplies
  • Computer equipment

B2SB - logo - no background8. Attend the Back to School Bash

Beginnings SC is partnering with the SC Association of the Deaf, the SC Chapter of Hands & Voices, and the Irmo Fire Department for the 2nd Annual Back to School Bash!   This event will be held on Saturday, July 22, 2017 from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm, the Back to School Bash will be located at Seven Oaks Park and Recreation Center, located at 200 Leisure Lane, Columbia, SC, 29210.

This is a FREE event open to all Deaf or hard of hearing families in SC – parents of deaf and hard of hearing children and Deaf and hard of hearing parents and their families.

It’s a chance to meet other parents, a time for kids to play fun games and connect with other kids, and an opportunity to learn about the many resources available in SC for deaf and hard of hearing families!  This year will have free workshops with topics such as Back to School Prep and dealing with bullies-one for parents and one for DHH kiddos.

We will have interpreters, games,  a wide variety of vendors providing information, and opportunities to meet other parents, kids, and families!

You won’t want to miss this, so come on out to prepare for the start of the best school year yet!

RSVP to make sure your child has the opportunity to get free school supplies. 

 

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Language Experience Book

 
One of the best ways to keep children who are deaf or hard of hearing learning during the summer is a language experience book.   This is a time-honored tradition in deaf education classes, and is also used by English as a Second Language teachers, speech language pathologists, and more.   But it is easily adapted for families.  
 
Here is a link with pictures that is geared for toddlers, but the pictures and the stories are the best visual explanation of this “tool.”  For a language experience book with deaf or hard of hearing kids, I would first take pictures during an event/experience that the child (or student) and I are doing together.  After the event was finished, I would print the pictures and ask the child to tell me what happened (if the child is talking/signing – if not, then do it as the link above describes.)  Even a few words about a picture can be made into a sentence. Then the adult writes the sentence(s) and helps the child to glue the sentences to the pictures, or glue the picture and sentence to another sheet of paper. They can be kept in an inexpensive photo book, in a 3 ring binder, or even stapled together.  Then the child can look back through the book, practice reading about the events, use the pictures to tell another adult about the experience, etc. 
 
 
Example: 
My daughters and I go get ice-cream.  I take a picture of the difference types of ice-cream.  I take a picture of one of the girls ordering their favorite flavor.  I take a picture of them eating their cones (and maybe a picture of Mommy, too!) and I will take a picture of the napkins with ice-cream drippings for “Now the ice-cream is all gone!” 
I may have 4-5 pictures.  I’ll ask my daughter to tell me about the first picture.  Maybe she says “I got lots of ice-cream.” I’ll say, “Right!  There are many different kinds of ice-cream.” and write it down.  Next picture-ordering. My daughter says, “Sissy getting ice-cream.”  I might say, “Sissy is ordering chocolate ice-cream. Yum!”   When we do all of that, I’m going to get my youngest to help paste the pictures and sentences on 8 1/2 x 11 paper and then put them in plastic sleeves and in a big leftover 3-ring binder. 

News You Can Use – Take Action for Your Child!

 

BabyNet Public Hearings & Comment Period

Early Hearing Detection Act Reauthorization

   Sign Language Interpreter Act

 

1. BabyNet Public Hearings

>> Comments from parents, educators, policymakers, and the provider community are wanted on a change with BabyNet.

What is BabyNet?

BabyNet is South Carolina’s interagency early intervention system for infants and toddlers under three years of age with developmental delays, or who have conditions associated with developmental delays.

Why have BabyNet?

Young children learn and develop differently. One baby may walk earlier than another, while another baby might talk first. Often, these differences will even out. But, some children will need extra help. BabyNet will evaluate the child at no cost to determine if they may be eligible for services.

BabyNet matches the special needs of infants and toddlers who have developmental delays with the professional resources available within the community. Services are provided in everyday routines, activities, and places relevant to the life of the family.

How does one connect with BabyNet?

Anyone (a parent, doctor, caregiver, teacher or friend) can make a referral. Look for signs that an infant or toddler might need extra help. If you suspect a child may have a problem, the earlier you get help, the better!

What is the change happening with BabyNet?

South Carolina’s Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part C program, known in South Carolina as “BabyNet,” will be transferred from SC First Steps to the SC Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS) on July 1, 2017 after Executive Order 2016-20 was issued by the President.

The South Carolina Interagency Coordinating Council (ICC) is holding several public hearings for comments on this change. Specifically regarding the 2017-18 IDEA Part C Grant Application, changes to BabyNet Policies and Procedures, and the lead agency transfer.

What can I do?

  1.     Provide written public comment here
  2.     Attend and comment at the public hearing in your area listed below:

To read the existing approved policies:

To learn more about BabyNet:

 

2. Early Hearing Detection Act Reauthorization | Federal Bill

>> Several Senators have introduced a bill that would reauthorize newborn hearing tests.

What is the bill?

The Early Hearing and Detection Act of 2017, a bipartisan bill that was introduced in both the House and Senate, would reauthorize a federal program for newborn hearing tests.

Why is this bill important?

This Act provides federal funding critical to South Carolina’s mandated newborn hearing screenings. Without our state’s program, just imagine how many children wouldn’t have been identified early on. Beginnings SC speaks constantly about and works constantly to ensure that children are identified early on so that they can begin receiving early intervention and making strides in language development so they are ready for school.

Why is early hearing detection important?

“So much of a child’s development happens in the first few years of their life, which is why early detection and intervention is so important. This bill will ensure that more infants have access to critical hearing screenings, so parents can be informed about the options for their children’s care. I’m pleased to join Congressman Guthrie in introducing this important legislation that will improve health, social, and educational outcomes for kids as they grow.” – Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-06)

“Early hearing detection is critical because children with hearing loss often fall behind their peers in speech development, cognitive skills, and social skills. This bill takes important steps to improve early hearing detection and intervention for newborns, infants, and young children, and I’m hopeful we can move this legislation quickly in a strong bipartisan way.” – Senator Rob Portman (R-OH)

What would the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act do?

“The Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act reauthorizes and improves critical programs that ensure we are properly diagnosing and treating hearing loss in newborns, infants, and young children. Access to these services meets an important public health need for families across the country. We know that early intervention means improved outcomes, and our bill will benefit the families of hard-of-hearing children who rely on these services.” – Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA)

What can I do?

  1.     Contact your representatives. This is a bipartisan noncontroversial piece of legislation. It currently has no SC sponsors.
  2.     Call, email, send a letter, or visit them in person. A phone call is better than an email. You won’t get much time on a phone call but speak from your perspective as a parent.
  3.     Find your representatives.

Learn more about the Bill.

Learn more about SC’s Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program.

 

3. Sign Language Interpreter Act | State Bill

>> A bill has been introduced in SC regarding Sign Language Interpreters.

What is the bill?

Senator Katrina Shealy recently introduced the Sign Language Interpreter Act Bill S.548/H.4040 to the SC Senate. It has since been referred to the Committee on Labor, Commerce, and Industry.

Why is this bill important?

This bill would require sign language interpreters to have a specific level of competence in order to work in certain state entities, such as government, public schools, hospitals, etc…

Can I see the actual bill?

Yes – you can see it in print or ASL!

What can I do?

  1.     Contact your legislators.
  2.     Find your representatives: Print | ASL

   

Legislators 101

How do I find my legislators?

  1. Go to: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/legislatorssearch.php.
  2. Type in your address and click “Find Legislators.”

Below is an example using Beginnings’ office address.

Which legislators would I contact about The Early Hearing and Detection Act of 2017 vs. the Sign Language Interpreter Act Bill S.548/H.4040?

  • The Early Hearing and Detection Act of 2017 is a federal piece of legislation. This means you would contact your United States Senators and Representative.
  • The Sign Language Interpreter Act Bill S.548/H.4040 is a piece of legislation for South Carolina, so you would contact your South Carolina State Senator and Representative.

How do I contact them?

If you click on their names, you will be taken to either their profile or their own website. From here you can find their contact information.

Ex: US Senator

:

Ex: SC Senator:

Is it intimidating to contact my legislators?

It might seem intimidating to contact your legislators, especially over the phone or in person, but it shouldn’t be. In this case, you are the expert. You’re a parent, a professional, or a community member who knows about this issue first hand. You have real-life examples from your real life. This is your opportunity to be the expert—educate your legislators about these issues that are near and dear to your heart. Just remember, you’re the expert, and this is how our legislators are able to represent us in their decisions.

If we don’t tell them, they’ll never know.

Tell them.

 

What is an Extended School Year (ESY)?

 

What is ESY?

  • Extended School Year (ESY) IS additional special education services needed for a child with a disability that is  “necessary [for] the child to benefit from his or her education…so that the child can make progress toward the goals specified on the child’s IEP and to prevent regression.”
  • Extended School Year (ESY) IS NOT summer school.  ALL children, especially those with disabilities, would benefit from extra instruction during the summer months; ESY is not for that purpose.

 

How do they even figure out who needs that?

Some guiding questions from the SC Office of Special Education Services:

  • Does the IEP team think the child will regress (or lose skills) during the school break(s) so that he or she would not be able to pick up where he or she left off?
  • If the child is without special education services during the school break, would that “significantly affect his or her maintenance of skills and behaviors”?  Sometimes we call this a “critical learning period.”  One example is that the child has FINALLY caught on to language acquisition and if she were without special instruction for 10 weeks, next year’s teacher might have to start over.
  • Are there “instructional areas or related services needed that are crucial in moving toward self- sufficiency and independence?”  One example would be a child that maintains good behavior during the school-year because of the super structured nature of the classroom, and 10 weeks without that might send the child back months and months.

From the Office of Special Education Process Guide for South Carolina, Rev. 3/20/2013. http://ed.sc.gov/scdoe/assets/File/districts-schools/special-ed-services/Special%20Ed%20Process%20Guide%20SEPG-2013.pdf

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Summer Camps

While Summer is still months away, there are always quite a few camps for deaf and hard of hearing children, teens, and young adults that you’ll want to be sure to register for ahead of time while there’s still space! Check them out! Click here for a downloadable PDF: 2017 Summer Camps

Camp Wonder Hands |Batesburg-Leesville, SC (Overnight)

Sunday, July 16 – Friday, July 21, 2017   

Learn more & register: http://ow.ly/x9X8309fyaJ

 

SC School for the Deaf and Blind Camp | Spartanburg, SC (Overnight) (FREE, free transportation)

Sunday, June 18, 2017 – Saturday, June 24, 2017

Ages 6-16 | Teen Camp ages 13-16

**Register early – space is limited!

Learn more & register: call 864-577-7558

 

Camp Sertoma | Pendleton, SC (Overnight)

Sessions range from June – July 2017. For details, visit: http://campsertomasc.com/sessions/

**Must be sponsored by a local Sertoma club – contact your local Sertoma club

Learn more & register: http://www.campsertomasc.com/

 

Camp Burnt Gin | Wedgefield, SC (Overnight) (Free)

Sessions range from June – August 2017. For details, visit: http://ow.ly/Sk16309fBlv

Children Camp ages 7-15 | Teen Camp ages 16-20 | Young Adult Camp ages 21-25

The official application deadline: March 1, 2017 – applications may be taken late if slots are available!

**Please be sure to request an interpreter if your child will need one.

Learn more: http://ow.ly/vGvs309fBi4 Register: http://ow.ly/f9CO309tB2G

 

Bill Rice Ranch Christian Camp | Murfreesboro, TN (Overnight) (FREE, possible free transportation)

Ages 9-19

Sessions range from June – July 2017

Learn more & register: http://www.billriceranch.org/deaf-ministries/deaf-camp

 

Spring Camp Cheerio (formerly known as Cue Camp) | Glade Valley, NC (Overnight)

Friday, May 19 – Sunday, May 21, 2017.

Learn more & register: www.springcampcheerio.org

Camp Communication Vacation: “Superheroes SuperEARos” | Charleston, SC (Day Camp) (FREE)

Monday, July 17 – Friday, July 21, 2017

Ages 4-12

Learn more & register by June 16, 2017: http://ow.ly/mAxL309tBoh

Koala Camp | Columbia College, Columbia, SC
Ages 18 months-3 years | M & W, 11am-Noon, June 5-28
Ages 4-7 years | T & Th, 11am-noon, June 6-29
Learn more & register by May 1, 2017: http://ow.ly/EsNB30avT3x

 

And, don’t forget about the 2017 Back to School Bash for Children and Adults with Hearing Loss and Their Families. Long name, great info, resources, connections, and fun! Let us know your interest now!

**Compiled from available information as of March 1, 2017 by Beginnings SC staff. 

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15 and First Hearing Aids-New Diagnosis and a Mom’s Story

One of Beginnings SC’s Board members, Missy, has been Deaf since birth.  She and her husband, who is also Deaf, use American Sign Language as their primary mode of communication, as do their two children.  In November 2016, their oldest child begins to request an evaluation of his hearing because he was pretty sure he had a hearing loss, but wasn’t sure how much.  Watch Missy as she gives an account of the past few months and where everyone is now.  

Captions are available, but below is also the transcript that Missy wrote herself. 

Hi, Everyone.
I hate being videoed but this is pretty important. I feel I need to share with you all than to text or email to each one of you individually.
We both want to tell you about Patrick, our 15-year-old son. He himself is fine; don’t worry–he’s fine.
 
Last early Fall, Patrick mentioned that he was missing sounds and words. Jeff and I brushed it off because we all had just had a fun dialogue about deaf schools, mischief going-ons, etc., then Patrick brought up his remark. So we didn’t take it seriously. 
 
Later on, Patrick and I went shopping (rare!) for clothes. In between, he admitted again, “Remember I mentioned about not hearing some words, background noises?” Me: “Yes; what about it?” He: “Remember in 7th grade,” (he’s now in 10th grade) “close to summertime, the teacher had a tuning fork that vibrates?” Me: “Yes.” P: “I failed it. Myself and one other student.” Me: “Ooohhh…okay…That’s okay…?” P: “I think my hearing has downgraded.” Me: “Ooohh…” Then we got back to shopping, looking around, etc. But that comment stuck in the back of my mind.
This recent November, Patrick firmly told us that “My hearing has deteriorated. I have a hearing loss. I want a hearing test.” I was a bit taken aback and looked back to his previous remarks about the tuning fork, and other incidents. Jeff and I looked at each other and agreed. We both apologized to Patrick, saying, “We are sorry for initially not taking you seriously last Fall but we now see that you mean it. Can you give us other examples?” He rattled off some other examples. 
 
I exclaimed, “You mean, it’s been happening since 7th grade!?!?” P: “No–It initially started towards the end of 7th grade, around Springtime. Very mild, nothing big. Same in 8th grade, minimal. Last year in 9th grade, it became more noticeable. This recent Fall (of 2016), definitely noticeable enough.” Patrick mentioned that when he went to the movie theater with his girlfriend, he did not really enjoy the movies much because he kept on missing words, background noises. He preferred to go to a home to watch movies with captions/subtitles so that he could get the full movie plot experience. I asked, “You mean, you depend on the captions all along? But you have always read the captions while listening since you were 4 years old.” P: “Yes, but I thought it was normal to have a little hearing loss because I have deaf parents.” 
 
After that comment, I felt kinda lousy. 🙁 We never noticed it…because he was heavily involved in Band, attending practice each day during the Summertime. When he arrived home, he was always excitedly telling us what he learned. He would say, “Oh, it was so hot outside!! Rough practice!! But I loved it!” Then would proceed to tell us about new notes, such as B flat, treble, etc. Jeff and I have difficulty understanding Band terms but because he was enthusiastic, we enjoyed listening to him. So it was “obvious” to us that he had no challenges with hearing things.
 
P: “But I noticed that since Fall of 2016, it has gotten worse. I want to know how much of a loss I have.” Me: “Gee, you already diagnosed yourself?? But…Okay, I will call.” I called and after straightening it out a little bit with the insurance situation, the appointment was set.
 
Last Wednesday was his first audiology appointment. It was just the two of us. On the way, of course I got a little lost (which is nothing new). Found the place, parked. I still felt, “Psshhh…Hearing loss? Nah…” We went in then both of us explained to the audiologist about his suspicions. Then it was time for his hearing test in the triangular-shaped booth. Remember back in the old days, we had to wear those heavy and thick earphones?? And press the hand-held button?? Nowadays, the equipment is different. The earphone band is thin, earphone smaller and lighter, and the button–Not sure about the button. Whatever. 
 
I moved my chair so that I could see the computer monitor as to where those “O”s and “X”s would go on the dB scale. “0 dB” is excellent–means you are a hearing person. “10 dB” is a very minimal loss. “20 dB” is when hearing loss is considered a definite mild. Then the other numbers go all the way down on the scale. As for myself, I’m “quadruply” deaf–deaf four times over. (I exaggerated this sign.) I’m on the very last line. You know the EKG with the heartbeat indicators going up and down? Straight line means it’s flatlined. My degree of deafness is the same as that flatline. In Jeff’s case, his mother had German measles while she was pregnant with him. As a result, Jeff does not count. (smile) He has NO deaf or hard of hearing family members on either side of his family. Same with my families–NO deaf nor hard of hearing family members on either side. Just me as the only one and born deaf as well due to unknown reasons. Since I’m the only one, I guess I’m “special.”
 
When the test began, I saw the audiologist turn some knobs for variations in frequency such as loud, low, soft, high, etc. Luckily, I was able to keep a poker face because that’s when I got my first shock. I remained cool and would not look at Patrick. I peered around the post to quickly check on him and he was fine. Then I went back to looking at the developing audiogram. “WTH!” The “O”s started popping up lower and lower on the audiogram…then went back up a little. It seemed like his dB was in the 30s. When the test was completed, the three of us sat near together.
 
The audiologist wrote down some info. She said, “Yes, Patrick does have a hearing loss. His range is 25 to 35 dB. He needs a hearing aid.” Then she proceeded to talk about the four different hearing aids. “This one is too weak for you. You need either this one or that one. I suggest you pick either one of those. The other one is extra fancy with all the bells and whistles. You do not need that one. Again, you can’t have the weaker one.”
 
I was STUNNED
 
When Patrick was born, he had a hearing test, which is standard nationwide for newborns to be tested within 24 hours of birth. He did fail it…because he had too much fluid in his ears. The doctor said, “Just bring him home and when he recuperates from his cold-like symptoms, bring him back here for a re-test.” So after a week or two, I brought him back. They did struggle with his hearing for a few minutes…but then he was able to pass it. He was not deaf.
 
You know how most deaf people, when they find out their baby is deaf, they’re thrilled? They feel happy, know how to raise their deaf kid, go to a deaf school, feel a commonality, being involved in the deaf community, etc.? After giving birth to two hearing kids, it’s still easy though. It’s fine they’re hearing and of course, I love them! Since both kids were diagnosed “hearing,” I did not have to think of planning changes in their future.
 
The audiologist resumed talking then I stopped her, saying, “Whoa, I’m stunned…I need time to process this info.” I looked at Patrick and he was just smiling. He said, “I knew. I didn’t know the dB loss, though. But I just knew. Boy, I’m ready for hearing aids!!” I looked at him and exclaimed, “You’re fine?? You don’t feel grief, bothered, think “shit…” nothing?” P: “No. I have known for a while so I’ve been preparing myself. I actually have a plan written up so that when I find out that I do have a hearing loss, I will change around some areas. An example is Band–I do need to talk with the director on how to accommodate this new change.” I just looked at him, surprised. He is fine; he’s prepared. I kept asking him at different times, “You seriously okay?” P: “Yes.” “MOM!! I’m FINE!!!! Don’t worry! Everything will be fine!!” HE was the one reassuring ME; not the other way around! Interesting!
 
The audiologist left the room to give us time to discuss a bit more. We were her last patients for the day anyway. After some more discussion, I started to feel okay. We called the audiologist back and thanked her. She resumed discussion and wrote down “I suggest that he get 2 BTEs (Behind-The-Ear) hearing aids.” I interrupted her, “Two?? Not one??” She advised that 1 would not work as well, he’d need 2. I was thinking maybe she was trying to con me for more commission $$, so I asked her, “Why?” She: “For balanced hearing and both ears show the same degree of 25 – 35 dB loss.”
 
I recall that 40 dB…or 45 dB…I think 45 dB, yes, 45 dB is considered “moderate” hearing loss. “Moderate” at 45 dB is kinda the point where hearing loss starts becoming pretty significant. Patrick is already at 35…so I felt shocked once again. But okay. So we all resumed discussion and provided feedback. It was very good and we learned quite a bit. I asked a LOT of questions and finally showed that I’m involved–to “make up” for our lack of attending to his earlier comments. I asked Patrick if he had any further questions, then presented “What if” examples, which resulted in more worthy feedback. After all was discussed, Patrick and I left the office to my SUV. I was still thinking about what all was diagnosed, learned, said.
 
I turned to Patrick and said, “So, going forward, I’ll be introducing you as my ‘hard of hearing son’.” Smiled. “I know you are the same person; just need to tweak some stuff.” P: “Yea. I’m really excited about getting new aids!!” (Tomorrow, Wednesday 2/15.) I’m doing this vlog on Monday night, after midnight now. We got in the SUV and he gets out his phone and is excitedly texting. I keep looking at him while driving. Told him, “Let’s go out to eat. You pick the restaurant.” We sat at the restaurant and had a LONNNGGGG talk about everything relating to his hearing loss such as swimming, and a whole list of other stuff.
 
I did caution Patrick to expect that some of his friends might find excuses to avoid talking to him. I do think his friends will be fine, though, as they’re good friends but gave him a heads up because “You never know.” If that does happen, “Don’t take it personally. That means they were not good friends in the first place. There are millions of potential friends out there. Don’t worry.” We continued our discussion. He is fine. 
 
I did, however, ask Jeff to take Patrick to his hearing aids appointment to be fitted, etc. Since first finding out that he does have a hearing loss that is significant enough to warrant hearing aids, I have been feeling stunned and thinking, thinking, thinking about this. I am okay, okay. However…I believe that reality will hit me when I see him actually wearing two REAL hearing aids. I think I–ironically–will be sad. Because I knew he’d be hearing “forever.” Same with my daughter, Alex, hearing “forever.” But now…it is possible that Alex could be next. Who knows.
 
Oh, I also asked the audiologist that I noticed you took pictures inside both of his ears as well other inspections; did the insides look normal, does he need surgery, other? She responded, “No; both of the insides of his ears are normal. There are no malformations, improperly developments. Everything’s normal.” She looked at me and asked, “What about you; do you know why you are…?” I responded, “No; don’t know why I’m deaf.”
 
Growing up, I never cared to know the reason as to why I’m deaf. My deafness has always been with me since birth; it’s a part of me. I did not need to know nor investigate “Why am I deaf?” A couple of years ago, I did think, “Hmm…Wonder why…” Now after seeing that Patrick is bona fide hard of hearing, that puzzles me. Maybe Alex would be next. Then I thought, “Wait a minute…I wanna know why now!!” So I told the audiologist, “I’d like to know why I’m deaf/Patrick’s hard of hearing.” The audiologist mentioned that their office has a geneticist in the same building downstairs. “Perfect!!” I thought. She asked me if I was interested? I gave her a definite “Yes.” They will test Patrick first then me. Patrick and I have an appointment to discuss with the geneticist next Monday on February 20 on expectations, what will be involved in the testing, blood drawn, CT scan, whatever, I don’t know. After this consultation, the actual testing will occur about 3 months later since there is a long waiting list. I told her, “Yes, please put us down for that.” She went downstairs to set up the appointment so Patrick and I talked about that. I am now very curious if they can find out the reason for my deafness and Patrick’s hearing loss. If it is really from me, that would be interesting. I’m still surprised at all this.
 
I just wanted to let you all know that Patrick is hard of hearing. If you call him and are puzzled as to why he’s ignoring you, he’s not–he just can’t hear you. 
 
I explained to Patrick that once he gets his hearing aids, he will be almost like a hearing person again. If I wear hearing aids, however, I will not be almost like a hearing person since my situation is completely different. I’m too deaf like…a dead dinosaur. You, however, have the opportunity to be near-like hearing status. You might need an interpreter for a speech in a large audience, other situations similar to that. We will help you as we know what to do. smile. That’s your advantage.
 
Patrick kept saying, “I’m fine. I’m cool with this. It’s cool to be hard of hearing. BAM!” I just looked at him and chuckled. “Okay.” Then smiled. 
Just FYI.