I was convinced that I had caused hearing loss in my son because I was partially deaf myself in one ear. I cried many tears over this for several reasons. The first reason was because that’s my firstborn and I had harmed him, I though. The second reason, what mom makes their child deaf?! The third reason was because I knew I’d have to adapt many things and the “perfect child” that I thought I would have is not a possibility anymore. (I know…what child is perfect? But I think most parents have hopes and dreams for their children that they have to lay aside when they realize their child has to face some major obstacles and will have to work harder than most just to do things other kids can do so naturally.
We showed up at the audiologist and she was so loving and welcoming. My handsome 6-year-old walked back with her and her dog. I don’t think he knew he was being tested because he got to do so much with the dog. He did fabulous, I’m told. After they completed the testing, the audiologist came out. I braced myself for “Your son is deaf in one ear.” However, she said “You’re son has perfect hearing. Absolutely perfect.”
I’m sure my face showed a mixture of shock and relief, yet I was still puzzled as to what was going on. She continued, “Is he behind in math and reading at school?” Since we homeschool, I knew quite well that he was not behind. Learning to read had been a struggle and sometimes math is a struggle but he is testing above his level in both of those subjects. I relayed that information to her and she said “Do you homeschool?” I said yes. What she didn’t know was that I was toying with the idea of placing him into public school. Then she said “That’s the best decision you could have made.” Well…there went the idea of not homeschooling. I asked her why and she said he has Auditory Processing Disorder, although he couldn’t be officially diagnosed with it until he was 7. He also had some dyslexia. She said he heard perfectly if he was looking at her, but if she covered her mouth he had no idea what she had said. My son was lip-reading, just like me. It all fell into place in my head…the years of struggle, the “I didn’t hear you” said so innocently that I almost believed him, the struggle with reading letters when he’d flip the letters, the writing, the flipped math numbers, the falling all the time….it all made sense.
Being a music therapist, I was thankful for a diagnosis because I knew just the ways to tackle this issue. The question was: Will I be patient enough to adapt things when needed? Will I let go of my expectations and give him what he needs? I knew this wasn’t a quick fix and would most likely be something he would have to overcome daily for the rest of his life.