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."

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