Jacob and Elijah Shaddox are brothers. Jacob is 21 years old and just moved into an apartment with his girlfriend. He graduated from a technical college with an Associate's degree in Computer Maintenance. He works for a school district as a computer technician. Elijah is almost 18 years old. He is hearing impaired, has Tourette Syndrome, OCD and ADHD. He is a junior in high school. Elijah lives with his mom Mary and her wife, his stepmom. Mary has a bachelor's in deaf education and a masters in special education, and is an educational diagnostician. Life is always changing and this blog has chronicled many of these changes and will continue to do so!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Personal Responsibility

I have had two occasions this week to consider personal responsibility. I hope I can explain what I mean. The first time I thought about this was when someone posted on a cochlear implant list serve about getting a school district to pay for an FM system for the child to use at day care and at home. This costs around $2400 for the district and about $3000 for a parent to buy privately. The school does get a small discount. Now I am a firm believer in FM systems. What an FM does is bring the speaker's voice out over the background noise and make distance listening a non issue. An FM receiver attaches to the child's hearing aid or processor and the speaker wears a microphone.

I am such a strong believer in FM systems that we did purchase one for Elijah at home. Fortunately, our insurance paid $1000 for it, an online charity paid $1250 and a charity here in Dallas paid the balance off. However, this was a three month long process and nothing was set in stone. I didn't expect the school district to provide this for my son at home. Elijah does have an FM system at school to use. Like anything else, if we want the "best" for our kids then sometimes we need to purchase these things and not expect a school district or anyone else to financially be responsible for that. We got the FM for home use when he started playing soccer at the age of seven.
Please copy and paste this link, I can never get this thing to work on here.

The above link takes you to a story about a 12 year old whose CI processor was stolen while he was swimming out of a locker that wasn't locked. The mother had not purchased the extended warranty and loss/damage protection after the three year coverage expired. My heart breaks for this child, but again who is responsible for this. Shouldn't the parent have educated this child on the importance of protecting his processor. My son at the age of ten KNOWS to put his processors in "a safe place" when we go to grandpa's to swim. If I sign and ask him where they are he tells me. However, I as the the parent am the person who is ultimately responsible for his equipment. This is almost $8000 worth of equipment and it should be treated with respect. I never leave it up to him to make sure it is safe and I have always kept his processors protected under warranty and loss/damage coverage. THIS IS HOW HE communicates and makes his way in the world. It is not a video game or cell phone that can easily be replaced. A person's health insurance may or may not cover a replacement and even if they do it may take TIME to get a replacement.

Now maybe I am being harsh and maybe parents have not been educated. I recently went to the Statewide Conference on the Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. I went as a teacher, but have often thought of being a presenter for parents on the COST of raising a child with a cochlear implant. Parents should be educated when their child is implanted on the financial life long implications. That after three years a decision needs to be made about purchasing an extended warranty and loss/damage protection. What happens IF this is not purchased. That some home owners insurance MAY cover it, some may not and how long will that take. That there are upgrades every 4-6 years and the cost involved with that. JUST in general that this is a LIFE LONG issue, not just one surgery(maybe two!).

The cochlear implant has been a wonderful tool in my son's life and I cannot imagine him NOT having it. It is such a part of his life that I would never want him to go without it just because we couldn't afford the warranty or loss/damage insurance. I don't like credit cards but that is how I paid for his recent upgrade and with that upgrade getting a new three year warranty and loss/damage coverage. ALSO, if we ever have to use that loss/damage that there is a $100 deductable that has to be paid. The new processor carries what is left of the warranty, but THEN A NEW loss/damage coverage must be purchased through a separate company. It runs about $200 a year, but much better than having to spend almost $8000 to replace a processor.

I don't want to offend anyone. I am a single mom of two boys. Elijah is hearing impaired, asthmatic, has tourette syndrome, OCD and ADHD. He is an expensive child, but I don't think I would change a thing(well maybe just one thing, the tourettes, just for him not for my benefit). I am in debt due to all of these things and an exhusband who is trying to get on his feet financially. I am thankful for good health insurance a good job that pays me a decent living, but by no means enough to cover all of these medical issues. I am a middle middle-class mom who doesn't expect someone to bail me out for either a bad decision or an uneducated decision. At some point we all need to take responsibility for the decisions we make!

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