I owe a long overdue thanks to Eileen for handing off the “Nice Matters” blog award to me a few weeks ago. What an honor it is to receive it from someone who I am so humbled by on a day-to-day basis.
When we found out that Ethan was deaf (and that it was due to cmv), I was hit by a wave of grief and anxiety. I couldn’t imagine my child growing up without hearing our voices, but even worse, I had to accept that I might not ever hear his. I quickly delved into online communities where I could find shared experiences with other parents facing the same situation. (Because these families don’t exist in our little community.)
The first group I joined was Listen-Up. I immediately started learning more than I ever thought possible on all angles of hearing loss and parenting hard of hearing children. One of the first voices on that list to speak to me was Karen’s.
Karen is a deaf mom to 3 children who are also deaf/hoh. I remember posting a message to that group early on, before Ethan was implanted, about how he was always “babbling” with his hands. I wondered if this was normal development for a child whose only language was ASL. Karen assured me that it absolutely was, and proceeded to share some of her experience with me. She works with a noble organization called Hands and Voices; they are committed to educating and supporting families on the variety of communication options available for deaf children. It’s very important work in an arena where there seems to be a little too much pressure (and occasional dogma) on families to choose certain paths.
So thanks, Karen, for bringing me into the fold and for following Ethan’s story. You have such a positive impact on so many people, in both real and online communities.