My eldest daughter has hearing problems. Profoundly deaf on left ear, and severe to profound deafness on the right ear. We found out her hearing loss when she was about a year and a half.
My father was the one who suspected it first. I was in denial even after an initial hearing test confirming the hearing loss. So I brought her to two other testing centers only to get the same result. I had to make a decision. Should I let her grow up using sign language and let the rest of the family adjust to her needs OR Let her grow up using spoken language so the family can understand her. I decided that she has to learn how to talk. During that time, all she can say is “bebe” and “papa” in addition to her other babbles.
I was on the way with my second child. And we are not well off. It was around January and I am scheduled to give birth by April in a private hospital. With limited funds, I just had to forego giving birth in a private hospital so that we can buy her a hearing aid. Just one for the meantime, the one with the “Y” cord, OTICON brand. So when the second baby came, I checked in a public hospital. There was no localized anesthesia. It was much painful than the first baby. But I am sure of what I’m doing so I just had to bring the baby out, stay in the hospital for 2 days and then go home. The thing is, in the process, I was not able to inform my OB that I will not give birth in the private hospital anymore. I was so ashamed to tell her the reason why. When I visited her, sometime later, I didn’t had the chance to explain the reason why. She was so angry at me.It’s understandable since my schedule was a Holy Week, she had to stay in Manila instead of going on vacation because she’s expecting me to give birth. And I didn’t even give her a call.
Anyway, with my decision that my daughter should learn how to talk I decided to enroll in a correspondence course with John Tracy Clinic. Its free. Though I was not able to actually finish the course, It has widen my view about her “imperfectness”. By age three, we transfered to Cebu to enroll her to Gualandi Prep Center for the Hearing Impaired. There, with the help of the teachers and the guidance of Sister Caterina Heffernan, my daughter learned to listen, to produce sounds more, and to talk. Talking started with just words. Single words. action words. Then with phrases. By the time she is 5 yrs old, Sister prodded me to enroll her in a regular school. She said this is better for my daughter because she will be exposed to more people who are talking and thus, she will learn more. So, we enrolled her in a regular school.
Up to this day, I’ve never thanked Sister enough for the guidance and training she gave me. My daughter will be graduating in High School this March (2008). Although she gives me headaches for being stubborn at times, she is an adorable girl. And for weathering the trials she had to face, she deserves more than a pat on the back.