I Believe in Potential
After two weeks of bed rest, my son, Scott, was born six weeks prematurely with a lung infection. He received antibiotics and was on a ventilator for several days. After a two week stay in the NICU, I was finally able to bring him home. Scott grew and developed. Then, at 18 months old, he was diagnosed with a speech delay that was a result of a mild to moderate hearing loss. After considering the choices available, we decided placement in an oral program would best develop his speech and utilize his residual hearing. At two years old, Scott received his first set of hearing aids and began attending school twice weekly.
Gradually his hearing worsened. Several times audiologists and speech therapists said, “Don’t worry, he’ll learn to talk.” It seemed the professionals thought I was worried he would not be able to communicate. I explained that I knew he was loaded with potential. Progress was slow at times, but eventually grunts became words and words became meaningful sentences.
By the time he was three, Scott was profoundly deaf. He received a cochlear implant shortly after his fourth birthday. The device restored his hearing to within normal ranges.
With a lot of hard work both at school and at home, Scott has narrowed considerably the language development gap that existed between him and his peers. Scott is now 12 years old, mainstreamed, enrolled in honors math, and does not even qualify for speech services. He enjoys Tae Kwon Do, fishing, puzzles and working with tools. On occasion, Scott has been known to break things just so he can figure out how to fix them. We have encouraged him to find stuff that is already broken.
My husband and I still are working with Scott to further develop his social interaction and conversational skills. Every encounter, whether at the grocery store or just playing outside with his friends, becomes an opportunity to enhance these skills.
Now that Scott is a pre-teen, he is beginning the process of discovering his identity, his own potential. Since he is the oldest of our three children, this is a new experience for us. It is a combination of watching flower a bloom and a train wreck in slow motion. My husband and I see glimpses of the man he will someday become. Some days he is very considerate and thoughtful. Then other days… well let’s just say there are some days it is if he is on another planet and leave it at that.
The technology of the implant allows Scott to function more independently in a hearing world. But the technology has only taken him part of the way. Even if he did not have the implant, my son will still become a responsible, successful, happy young man. I believe that an optimistic attitude, hard work and perseverance enable my son to confront his challenges head-on as well as to seek out new opportunities.
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