I’ve been having a tough time handling my kid lately. He handles me instead.
My little guy is 5 years old and was born profoundly deaf. He had cochlear implant surgery at ages 1 (right ear) and 2 (left ear) and has been doing really well with his hearing the past few years. He discovered the Wiggles and quickly became obsessed with performing their songs and dances. He was happy and so were we. He loved his hearing.
In June he quit wearing the Ci’s. Putting them on him turned into a battle of the wills that ended in trauma for all involved. We decided we really couldn’t (and shouldn’t) force the issue, so we have been waiting patiently for him to come around. Since he also has an autism diagnosis, we’re very sensitive to his sensory issues and have added those considerations to the pile of potential reasons why he is refusing to hear.
Now I’m faced with a dilemma that feels debilitating. Do we follow his lead because that is what feels like the only acceptable thing to do, knowing that he could end up never hearing again for the rest of his life? (The auditory nerve will atrophy over time and the process is well underway.) Or do we get tough and somehow force the issue, if it’s even possible? Most of the time I have no trouble following my gut on this type of stuff, but for once my gut has absolutely nothing to say.
We’re on a waiting list at our Children’s Hospital to work with behavioral experts, but so far no one can even tell me how long the waiting list is or when we might expect an appointment. It could be next month or it could be next year.
The good news is that he is doing really well in his new school and is using an interpreter like he’s been doing it all his life. (Luckily we have signed with him since birth) We’re absolutely blown away by the quality of this district’s programming and the dedication of the staff in his school. He is in a social communication classroom and they are totally equipped to deal with his communication challenges.
The question is: Am I?