Pink Hearing Aids
This past weekend I took my 3-year-old to her first gymnastics class, which by the way was a wonderful experience and after watching the women's USA Olympic team take home the gold this summer, my daughter was delighted! While there on the sidelines, I struck up a conversation with the woman next to me. She was the grandmother of a little girl who was also 3 but in a different group. When she first began describing the apple of her eye, she mentioned that her little granddaughter was "fearless" and wanted to play ice hockey this winter. She also told me how bright she was and how she was "right in there with her 5-year-old brother," trying to do all the things that he could do.
It wasn't until about 10 minutes into the conversation that she mentioned her spunky little granddaughter with pigtails and a big smile was also significantly hearing impaired, having just 30% of her hearing. Grandma shared that her little granddaughter was born with the hearing impairment and is currently attending a special school designed for children who are deaf and hard of hearing. When I shared that I was an SLP working with preschool aged children, she began to share more. She mentioned her granddaughter is not learning sign language and instead is learning how to speak. She mentioned the goal is to eventually mainstream her which will hopefully happen in 2 years for kindergarten.
Just then, her little granddaughter came bouncing around the corner with pink hearing aids in her ears waving to her grandma. What a cutie she was! I noticed the gym instructor was wearing an FM system so that this little one wouldn't miss any directions. I shared I have used them in the past as well and another woman, sitting on the opposite side of grandma shared that she was a third grade teacher and she too uses an FM system daily for one of her students who is hearing impaired.
The three of us spoke for about 10 minutes and I learned that this little girl was diagnosed as an infant just hours after birth with her hearing loss. She left the hospital at just a few days old with hearing aids. Now at age 3, she is learning to listen and talk with the help of her speech language pathologist and teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing, as well as other professionals. She can participate in gymnastics and co-ed ice hockey just like any other little girl. Amazing.
With all the bad news on TV, radio and internet, I thought this story may bring some warmth to your soul.
By Stephanie Bruno Dowling, MS, CCC-SLP, Speech-Language Pathologist Elwyn Inc., Delaware County, PA. She is a regular blogger for ADVANCE for Speech-Language Pathologists & Audiologists.
Read more of her posts here.