Elijah still sleeps with me most nights and as he slept last night, I sat in bed and listened to my ipod on a speaker. He slept right through it of course, and as I sat there I thought, sometimes it is nice that he can't hear. He sleeps through most everything, which scares me if there is ever a fire, which is one reason I let him sleep with me if he wants to. I know, I know, I shouldn't let him, but I do, so lets not argue about it.
Anyway, it made me think about his deafness. Elijah is a boy, who happens to be deaf, but wears cochlear implants(CI). The CIs help him hear and access language. They are a tool, but he is still deaf. He takes his CI processors off without hesitation when it is time to bathe, swim, play in the sprinklers or at the beach. He is comfortable being deaf and I am glad of that. He knows enough sign that I can communicate what I need to with him and he voices back to me. If I really have to tell him something, or he is misbehaving, then I put his "ears" back on and tell him what I need to.
The last time we went to a water park, we locked his "ears" up in a locker. I am so afraid someone will steal them thinking they are headphones. We stopped to eat lunch and Elijah voices to me, "NO ears, I want to stay." I signed back to him, "yes swim, eat, eat first," and pointed to the food. He said YES and stopped to eat. Now, the only reason I don't like for him to not have his "ears"(processors) is that he cannot hear me if his back is to me. I have to be a bit more diligent, but also let him have his independence. Thankfully, this is a small water park and I can let him wonder a little bit on his own while keeping an eye on him from a distance. Sometimes I have to jump in when others try to communicate with him, because he doesn't quite know how to tell others he can't hear. Plus, I find that younger kids just don't get the concept that someone who talks can't hear. They give me a quizzical look when I tell them he can't hear.
Elijah loves the beach and I hope we can go to the beach this summer for vacation. One of the first things he does is take off his "ears" and head for the water. He is almost TOO brave! He has learned to stick close too though and not wander off.
Overall, I am glad that Elijah is comfortable being deaf without his "ears". Just this morning he woke up and headed for the den. He didn't grab his processors and I could hear him in the other room playing with his cars and talking to the cats. He then starts yelling for me and of course, if I answer he cannot hear me. I wait and after a few more yells, I get up and grab his "ears" to put them on!
Would it be easier if Elijah could hear all the time....well yes, it would be, but then he might not be the Elijah he is now. I don't worry as much about him learning language and getting things right. I look back at how much I used to worry and sometimes wonder HOW did we get where we are now? Of course, now I have other worries, but I think those will work out as he gets older, at least I hope so.
THE SHADDOX BOYS
Jacob and Elijah Shaddox are brothers. They live with their mom, Mary, who is the writer of this blog. Jacob is 19 and is now four inches taller than his mom! He also has ADHD and gorgeous red hair. He is a freshman at a technical college studying computer maintenance. Elijah is 15! He is in 9th grade and he is not in ROTC at his high school. He also had red hair, but it is lighter and not as thick as his brother's hair. He is hearing impaired(auditory neuropathy) and wears two cochlear implants. He also has tourette syndrome, ADHD, OCD and anxiety! Mary just started her 25th year as a teacher of the deaf. She is also in her last semester of graduate school to be a diagnostician! She will graduate in December of 2015!