Thursday, June 30, 2011

Daycare, Busses, Kindergarten, Special classes for Deaf/Hard of Hearing kids

My daughter Mei (pronounced "may"; it's Chinese for "beautiful") was diagnosed with a moderate to severe bilateral sensorineural high frequency hearing loss five months ago, when she was three and a half. We had no idea that she had a hearing loss because she was talking (albeit unclearly) and responding. When I would call her and she wouldn't respond, I just assumed she was doing the whole "I hear you but I'm not going to answer you" thing that toddlers do. I actually thought she was a little slow. Not dumb, but not a genius, which was fine by me.

Because Mei's speech was so unclear and no one could understand her, I took her to Speech Therapy through the Toronto Preschool Speech and Language Services She went through the therapy but every time we finished a session, I would get very discouraged because she didn't seem to be improving. It wasn't until she had her hearing tested at the Canadian Hearing Society
that we found out, much to our surprise, that she had a hearing loss! Suddenly everything started making sense. Mei's hearing loss is mostly in the high frequency range, which means she can't hear "S" and "F" and "V" and "B" very well, hence, Frosty was a "No-man", and "I love you" was "Iluwyoo". You can hear what Mei's hearing is like through this cool site here (click on "Moderate")

The last six months have been a whirlwind of audiology tests at the Sick Kids Hospital, visits from the Ontario Infant Hearing Program, meetings with the TDSB (Toronto District School Board) Itinerant Hearing program, Auditory Verbal therapy, hearing aid fittings, etc., etc..
We are so happy that we live in Canada, and that there is so much support out there, but it can be overwhelming.

Mei will be starting Kindergarten in the Fall. She will be bussed to a special program for Deaf/Hard of Hearing children in the morning, and then bussed to her mainstream school in the afternoon. We just found out today that Mei was squeezed into a spot at the daycare at her school. Phew!

Throughout all of this, I would like to write and illustrate a children's book entitled, "Princess Mei-Mei and her Magic Ears." Stay tuned!

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a painting from my last show at Loop Gallery.