Tag Archives: speech therapist

‘Don’t leave us!’ – Continuity of Care

20 Sep

2 yr old hearing aidsWhen the 2 year old was first diagnosed as being deaf we were assigned a Teacher of the Deaf and a Speech Therapist. The Speech Therapist left fairly quickly to be replaced by a lovely girl just back from maternity leave. The Teacher of the Deaf was with us from day 1.

She was the person I cried in front of. She was the one who tolerated my mood swings as I debated whether or not I wanted to meet the parents of other deaf children or not. She was the one whose visits I genuinely looked forward to as she taught me games to stimulate my deaf baby and created fabulous books to help him learns his first words.

When we went to the horrendous ‘weekend for the parents of newly diagnosed deaf children’ in a grim seaside town when he was a matter of months old one of the few highlights for me was the relationship the deaf teenagers had with their Teachers of the Deaf. They seemed like members of the family and I hoped that ours would be with us forever.

In fact she was with us until this month when a promotion, I think bound up with cuts, means that we are being handed over to someone else. The new Teacher seems lovely but I don’t want people to abandon my little boy. When she first mentioned she was leaving in June I was in tears and to my shame think I reacted with the maturity that my 11 year old does when things don’t go her way.

As I flailed around for some continuity of care for my deaf little boy I clung to the Speech Therapist who he had become increasingly fond of. When she left in July he shouted out ‘Bye, bye Lisa’ and I was immensely happy. Not only that he could speak but that we had a medical professional who could fill the gap left by the Teacher of the Deaf.

We didn’t. When she returned after the summer holidays it was to tell me that she was pregnant again and would be leaving us at the end of the year. I was devastated. How can everyone leave us at once?

When the older girls were younger I was devastated every time one of our favourite nursery nurses left. When you lose someone who is vital not only to your childs happiness but to their development it feels even worse. However I am trying to rationalise it by convincing myself that professional skills can be replaced. Genuine love cannot. We are still in touch with my older girls two favourite nursery nurses and I know they love my children. The one person who is most important in our little boys life is our childminder. She genuinely loves him and is as delighted when he learns a new word as if he were her own. He in turn does a ‘Roo, Roo’ shout every time we get in the car and runs to her door without a care in the world. She’s like a young, glamorous ‘Granny Murray’. When she gave up Saturday mornings with her own family last year to come to sign language classes with me I was so moved that I filled in the Surprise, Surprise application form in the hope that I could show her how much she means to us.

Unfortunately I didn’t actually get round to sending it so this will have to do.


A Walk in the Park or a Cage in the Zoo?

14 Nov


Boys on swings

Baby boys in the park

As my deaf baby I want to wrap my one year old in my arms and never let go.  As my little boy I have to face the fact that he wouldn’t stay there for two minutes and a cage might be a better option.

I’ve never been one for gender stereotyping. We dressed our first daughter in pale blue until she learned to speak and demand pink. We bought her train tracks and duplo. She hated them. Our second daughter inherited a series of hand-me-down pink dresses and barbies but I never saw her as overtly girlie. Until I had a boy.

We have lived in the same house for 7 years. The 7 year old used to bottom shuffle around the house pulling the occasional magazine off the table but never gave me the same heart-in-mouth moments that her wee brother gives me on a regular basis. The socket covers we’d bought for the first child always seemed like a marketing con. Now we’re ransacking drawers trying to find them. The 1 year olds morning ritual is to unplug my iPhone from the charger and stick the live wire into his mouth. Instead of playing with the toys inside the toy chest he climbs on top of it and bangs his hands on the glass threatening to shatter the window. Even the loo has become a climbing frame leading to unsupervised water play in the wash hand basin. I am living on nervous energy. All those hours spent at gyms and pounding the pavements are no longer necessary with my baby accelerated metabolism.

If I’m anxious at home I’m completely fraught when I’m elsewhere. At half term a 5 hour train journey from Edinburgh to Derby was one of the most stressful journeys I’ve ever experienced. I doubt even Michael Palin could ram himself into an airline seat on a packed train, unable to reach the snacks and toys brought along as distraction techniques thanks to the fat person in the next seat and find something entertaining in the experience. The only positive to be extracted was that after a couple of hours the women in front who had clearly started drinking when the train left Glasgow could no longer feel the pain when the 1 year old leaned over the seat to pull their hair.

Outwardly he is an absolute angel. Everyone comments that he is the happiest baby they have ever seen – possibly because he can’t hear the banshee he has for a mother.  At toddler group he is universally adored, the hearing aids make him seem vulnerable and cute when in fact he is anything but. It is only people who have to spend any length of time with him in enclosed spaces who understand my pain. The childminder has taken to lying her kitchen chairs on the floor before he uses them to climb on to the table and another friend, who has three children, two of whom are 3 year old twins, looked visibly relieved when we announced we were leaving first thing after an over night visit during which he trashed what she had previously thought of as a baby proofed home.

The fact that he is so obviously a fit and healthy little boy makes it all the more difficult to accept that there is something wrong with him.  I’m fine with the hearing aids but I still hate the hospital appointments.  We have the next big audiology test tomorrow morning. I’m not going. Even though the results were good last time I can’t bear the thought of him struggling against being held and failing to respond to tests because he’s crying so loudly.  I’ve also body swerved an appointment with our new speech therapist. In the summer I was buoyed by the fact that he could hear us and was responding to speech even without his hearing aids but I’m painfully aware that he’s not saying proper words yet.

I don’t really mix with parents of children the same age so was taken aback at a meeting in London earlier this week when a colleague said that her baby (born at the same time) is constantly shouting ‘park!’. I’d never even thought that our deaf baby should be at the stage of saying that.  Though it has to be said that I’ve hardly ever taken him to a park either.

Perhaps the logical solution to the vocabulary expansion and house devastation would actually be to take him to one.


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