Saturday, August 16, 2008

whooo hooo!

Now remember back to one of my first posts about what happened way back then happening for a reason and to help bring A back to the rest of the field...well.....

When A changed schools, his cohort were studying german and had been for some years so it was decided he wouldn't start german mid stream. Instead that time was given to learning support, which he used as study lessons really, using the time to catch up on any work and if needed seek clarification on any of his work.

During that time he was starring academically but never seemed to get nominated for any of the school academic awards. I worked out after awhile, he didn't qualify because he was studying less subjects than his peers.

I sat through many a school assembly applauding all the other scholars in the school receiving their well earned accolades.

So started year 10 this year, and no more learning support for A. He was taking a full load as the subject selection kicked in this year where the opportunity for others to drop the language came about. So it was back to a level playing field for A - well level if you call a profound hearing loss compared to normal hearing peers, a level playing field!

So on Friday, I didn't get to attend the school assembly....and yep good old Murphy and his law...the one assembly I didn't go to...yep you guessed it - A received an award!

BUT not just any award, oh no no no. It was an academic excellence award, given to two students in his year 10 cohort, making them both in the top 1% of the students in their year level!!!

YEP you read that right, he is in the top 1% of his year level in a mainstream school, even with his profound hearing loss!


Do I sound just a tad proud??? That'd be because I am. He has an amazing work ethic and an inbuilt determination to always do his best. I am so excited that he finally received some public recognition and accolades for his achievements. Not only is he doing amazing things for himself, he sure is challenging a few stereotypes of just what is possible for a student with a profound hearing loss.

Perhaps this says it all

Below is a beautiful video from you tube, that I think really just says it all.What a wonderful dedication from his family to this young boy and all that have been part of their journey...enjoy.....

oh have the kleenex handy...

Friday, August 15, 2008

Yet more of the same

So after the excitement of day 2, it was on to more of the same for the rest of the week....

For me as his mother the things that most struck me were just what a successful young man he is becoming and how all those things I feared would never happen and was almost too scared to dream might happen for him when he was stuck down with meningitis, were there on show for me to see right in the here and now.

The laughter he shared about funny stories his co-work experience partner had shared with him about her upbrining and some of the funny stuff that happens on holidays.

How between them they decided that having just the two of them at work experience was great. They had each other to bounce ideas off of, yet not too many in a group that they wouldn't each get plenty of hands on practical stuff to do.

The fact they took turns typing up the report, obviously when he was typing, he would not have been looking at his co-work experience partner, yet was still able to hear what she was saying and get it down in the document they were doing on the computer.

Morning tea with the post-grad students of the department on Thursday. Having the confidence to join them for a coffee and some cake (his first cup of coffee I might add, and one he made with 2 spoons of coffee and some sugar; no wonder he was on top of the world!). He was able to talk to me about some of their projects and that Thursday morning was regular coffee and cake morning for the department.

I was waiting for his train at the station on Thursday night when an sms came through.

"My train is going to be late, stuck at Mitcham, signal failure. I will get to the station but it might be awhile".

I messaged back that I was at the station and would just wait there til he got there.

He was about 20 minutes late....and when he and I were driving home I realised, how like me he is in some ways. He, like me, is your glass half full kind of personality, always looking for the positive side of things.

As he walked from the train up the platform and we walked together to the car, I said to him "oh well at least you got to experience the highs and lows of public transport then"...he smiled and replied "Oh I didn't really mind, it wasn't that bad. At least it happened when I was on my way home, so it didn't really matter. If it had happened on the way in and I was late for work experience I would have been very disappointed." Yep finding the positive in what was possibly a negative situation.

Later I asked how he knew it was a signal failure..with his best eye rolling teen look of "what are you stupid?" look he told me that he heard the announcement on the loud speaker. He went on to tell me that this driver actually knew how to speak clearly because he could hear all the announcements of the station names and the signal failure announcements, unlike some of the other drivers. I know what he meant because I found it hard to understand them when we were on the dummy run the week before!

The week wrapped up with some time spent with the lecturer for the courses and the head of the department. It was an opportunity to ask any questions and find out more about the courses they were interested in. Again another person whose speech he was unfamiliar with and was unfamiliar with him and his hearing loss, again piece of cake!

He came home with some written notes and proceeded to ask me about the equivalence of the maths in the IB course compared to the maths in the SACE course because if he didn't get them both covered off in year 12, he would have to do a summer school course, and he wasn't doing that if he could help it!!

On the last day their supervisor was recounting stories of some of the students she supervised, some who were partnered with bossy partners who answered all the questions, took control over all the pracs and let their partner do nothing. Their supervisor then shared with them that A and his co-work experience partner were the best 2 students that she had worked with so far. She really liked how they worked as a team sharing the work, the answers, the practical write ups evenly between. It appears A and this young miss felt the same about their week together too. That they both had similar work ethics, often forgoing break times to get the experiment they were doing finished on time. They both contributed to everything they did and perhaps best of all they did it with hard work and humour. They both laughed a lot during their time together and had a brilliant experience in their work experience program. The Uni department concerned also earned many accolades for the amazing, structured program offered to them over the week.

For us as his parents. the end of the week was a really brilliant opportunity to look back at far we have come on this journey. To think back to this broken little boy we took home from the hospital after meningitis nearly took him from us. The fears we felt at that time, and then magnified ten fold more when we found out it had left him profoundly deaf.

In the place of that tiny broken toddler now stands this amazing 6'5" young man with the world at his feet. The confidence, the maturity, the speech and language, the positive attitude and the hard work ethic - really anything is possible. I wait and watch with wonder to see just what the future holds for my young man. I have already seen so much that he has achieved both personally and as an amazing role model for younger deaf kids and as a breaker of stereotypes for those that might place limitations on kids because of a hearing loss. Those that have the pleasure and perhaps even privilege of working with him, know only too well that hearing loss or not, anything is possible.

To this day many people will say to me "oh you and hubby have done a brilliant job with him and all the hard work you have put into him" response is always the same. I smile appreciatively and graciously accept their kind words and then remind them..." thanks for that, but really it has been up to him. We could have worked our arses off with him but if he didn't want this for himself, he would never be where he is today. This is his doing, his hard work and his determination that his deafness was never going to stop him from doing anything he set his mind to."

And so it continues

OK so I got a bit slack - but back to finish this time - I hope!

After the very successful first day it was time for day 2. I told A he didn't need to sms me that he had arrived safely, I would assume he had unless he contacted me to tell me something different. We had also arranged that I would collect him from the train station at a certain time, unless he messaged me to say he was on the later train. It was a tight time line from finishing at the Uni to getting on the train to come home on the earlier train.

So I waited for him to arrive at the train station. It was kind of sweet, when I saw the train approaching, I left the car to stand near the platform, so he could see me and follow me to our car. I watched him alight from the train looking the confident, independent teen, well except for that quick scan to see if he could see me. When his eyes found me, I saw that slightest little look of relief sweep across his face before he resumed his, "I'm a cool teen" look. It kind of reminded me how much of a journey he was having on this week and how proud I was of him for doing it all, but how my just being there within view, reassured him that everything was on track.

As he jumped in the car, he told me that he had no problem getting to the train because they had finished early that day. Welll then the rest of the story came out. Their supervisor had some errands she needed to run during lunch that day so both the work experience students were afforded a 90 minute lunch break. They decided to walk up into the shopping precinct together and then A went his way to Gamesworkshop and EB Games, and she to look at clothes!

After awhile A headed back to the Uni tea room and was working on finishing up recording in his work experience journal, when his female co-work experience student came in looking crest fallen. It seemed that this young miss had found a gorgeous jumper on sale that she wanted to buy, but the sale price was $30 and she only had $26 on her. She asked the store to hold it for her as it was the only one in that colour, in that size with the promise of her return to purchase it the next day but the store refused.

Well of course this gorgeous young man, that has turned out to be so amazing, not entirely sure how that has come to be given his parenting from yours truly, but there you go! He being the chivalrous gentleman that he is, offered to give her the $4 difference so that she could get her jumper. Then together they negotiated with their supervisor to let them finish a little earlier on that day, and have a shorter lunch the next, so they had time to go back into the shopping precinct at the end of the day, to get her jumper and still make their respective public transport journeys back home! The supervisor agreed and so off they went to get the jumper. Coincidentally A also came home with her phone number too! Although I don't think the he has contacted her since though.

Day 2 was also another day of interesting work and write ups and he and his co-work experience partner seemed to be getting on well together and working well as a team.