This post is aimed specifically at addressing some thoughts brought to my attention through a recent comment on this blog.
“i notice the ommission of any contact with an ASL specialist or a Deaf individual - just wondering if u forgot to mention that or if this expertise is not considered a part of your warrior plan?”
(Referring to the sidebar)
The battle plan so to speak is a dynamic document, one that is always changing to reflect the barriers Ethan has overcome. ASL has been an integral part of the plan from day one. I don't mention it in the sidebar, for no particular reason other than we don't have any "experts" working with him in that area. Unless you count "Signing Time" dvd's, which are life-changing for some of the kids that I know.
We don’t have any contact on a regular basis with a specialist or a Deaf person. We used to have an ASL interpreter (who became our friend) visit our home once a week to teach us, but she has been traveling most of the past year and was just home briefly before leaving to travel more. We live in a very small and geographically isolated area and have to drive significant distances for nearly all of Ethan’s services. There simply aren’t deaf people here. We’ve only heard of one other deaf person and he is now a sophomore at NITD. His parents are hearing and we’ve yet to meet them – even though I hope to someday learn from them as they raised their son with sign.
Ethan signs quite a bit (his vocab is nearing 200 words now) and actually has an affinity for ASL. We absolutely encourage it and are inspired by it. Currently he’s fascinated with the alphabet and can sign several letters. He attends to signing much more than he attends to voice at this time. And he is guiding this ship believe me. We’re all for continuing to learn and use as much ASL as possible and would love to see him embrace deaf culture someday if given the chance. (We’ll likely have to move at some point down the road…) I’ve written about ASL a handful of times if you check the archives.
"i was amazed to see some of the special ed teachers actually cry at IEP meetings - they were worried about his future because he is different - i looked across the table at them - saw their CARE for my son but also saw that it was very PATERNALISTIC and wrapped in PITY - he doesnt need PITY - he just needs a fair shake at things"
Your son has teacher's that are so invested in him that they shed actual tears at a meeting? Do you know how rare that is? Praise be to God!
“i wish u all the best in your quest and i hope at some point u will feel it is less of a battle and more of a journey - i imagine it is very tiring and exhausting otherwise and u r in it for the long haul”
You are absolutely on the money with this observation. I think my terminology lately is just representative of what mode I’m in on the space/time contnuum of parenting a “special needs” child. As you know from your own experience, it's especially intense in the early stages while you are getting those labels identified. We’re not in love with the labels either, but they are the only way to guarantee services or funding. I’m realizing that it most certainly is a journey and that your presence of mind and mental attitude shapes the reality for not only you, but your child as well. I’m in “battle” mode at the moment because I’m facing another new label, and you know how defensive that makes a parent feel. It’s a process; there are stages and I'm moving through them.
“enjoy ur ethan - he is precious”
This is good advice – and I totally do. Peace to you, too.