November 19, 2010

The Wheels on the Bus...

Regardless of progress or experience, one issue seems to always remain for parents of hard-of hearing children: determining whether a problem is due to the child or the hearing status. It's a bit of a chicken-or-the-egg dilemma. Is Sam not pronouncing the /s/ sound because he can't hear it or because there's an articulation problem? Is Cindy afraid of fire drills because of the loud sounds or a fear about her safety? Does Kim stand around on the soccer field because she can't hear the coach's instructions or because she's simply bored of playing soccer?

Most of the time, the cause has little to do with the ultimate solution and you can respond to the whole child, not just the hearing loss. I remember that, but then every once in a while, I'll completely jump the gun.

Hadley has a new school bus driver this year, a great person who is on top of everything that happens on the ride. I've had no concerns about Hadley and her time on the bus, until I recently noticed that she was taking forever to find a seat in the morning. As one of the last kids to board the bus, it can be a challenge to find a seat, but this was becoming agonizingly long (especially to the drivers in the cars behind the bus). I noticed she was often walking back to the driver to ask for assistance. I couldn't figure out what was the problem. Was she avoiding sitting next to older kids, or someone in particular? Trying to sit in a certain section to hear the driver? Could she hear the kids who were telling her where to sit? I could only figure out so much from my view from the driveway, but I was convinced this problem was due to her hearing.

While we're really trying to let Hadley fend for herself, I decided that it was time to intervene. In anticipation, I prepped myself with some possible solutions for Hadley. Turns out that all my guesses were wrong. Hadley has a friend who joined their bus route this year and is the final stop on the morning pick up. They like to sit together, so Hadley has been searching for a completely empty seat. It took a few weeks, but kids who used to sit by themselves now sit together to leave an empty spot for Hadley to grab. An Olympic sprinter couldn't get to the seat faster than Hadley does now!

Perhaps now I'll learn not to lose sleep preparing to solve a problem that doesn't even exist. It's not always about her ears...

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