Kat Reading

Kat Reading

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Miss Kat's words about work and self-reliance

Hi! If any of you don’t know me, my name is Miss Kat. My family and I moved here 6 months ago. I have been asked to talk about work and self-reliance.

Self-reliance means that you can depend on yourself and don’t need others to do things for you. In the scriptures, Heavenly Father tells us that He wants us to become self-reliant. The Church Handbook of Instructions says: “The Savior has commanded the Church and its members to be self-reliant and independent. To become self-reliant, a person must work. Work is physical, mental, or spiritual effort. It is a basic source of happiness, self-worth, and prosperity. Through work, people accomplish many good things in their lives.” So, to become self-reliant, we must work.

I want to tell you a story about how I did a lot of hard work so I could become self-reliant. When I was 5 years old, I was completely deaf...well, I’m still deaf, but I am deaf with cochlear implants now. Back then, I couldn’t hear or talk at all. When I was 5 1/2, I got my first implant. While the implant helped me to be able to hear, I still didn’t know any words in English! I knew sign language, but now I was able to hear people speak. Problem was, they spoke in a language I didn’t know.  Imagine you moved suddenly from one country to another when you were almost 6. That was what it was like for me. I had to learn to hear and learn a whole new language. I started speech therapy twice a week, plus my mom started working with me all day, everyday. Soon, I was learning so fast that I couldn’t attend my signing school anymore and that’s when we had to move to St. Louis.

I worked hard at my new school. Every day we worked on speech, language and listening, and I worked outside of school with a speech therapist too. I was making a lot of progress, but I had started 6 years behind all the other kids. After 5 years, I was finally ready to graduate. I gave a speech that I wrote myself and I gave it all in spoken language. I now attend school with only kids who can hear and I am just like any other kid my age, just ask my Young Women’s leaders!

If I had given up on learning English, I would have never been self-reliant. I would have needed interpreters for my entire life. I wouldn’t have been able to go to school without help, ordered a meal at McDonald’s or given this talk! I also wouldn’t have learned to read like I can now and I would have missed out on one of my greatest talents and something I love!

Heavenly Father could have made me hearing and I wouldn’t have had to work so hard, but He wanted me to learn self-reliance. I wouldn’t be the same person that I am today if He had healed my ears. Heavenly Father blessed me in a completely different way. Sometimes, I don’t think that it is fair that I am deaf, but other times, I am very thankful that Heavenly Father made me the way I am and I know that hard work and self-reliance can bring blessings to your life, too.

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, AMEN.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Latest Testing

So, Miss Kat has been out of her oral deaf school for 18 months now and we just got the results of her most recent comprehensive speech, language and listening testing. It was done privately because we do not utilize SLP services through the school district. (Miss Kat gets only itinerant teacher of the deaf services to work on pre-teaching academic vocabulary and self-advocacy.) She is working very hard and is doing amazingly well!

  • The Listening Test: Adolescent- This test assesses a child's ability to gain information through orally presented language. During this assessment various situations are described to the child and the child is asked to respond to questions about the main idea, details, drawing conclusions, inferences and comprehension about the passage.
    • Main Ideas- Scored within the normal range (Miss Kat's highest score)
    • Details- Scored within the normal range
    • Reasoning- Scored within the normal range
    • Vocabulary and Semantics- Scored within the normal range
    • Understanding messages- Scored within the normal range

  • Test of Auditory Processing Skills-3- This is an assessment of auditory skills necessary for the understanding of spoken language.
    • Word Discrimination- Scored within the normal range

  • Test of Semantic Skills: Intermediate- This assessment evaluates a child's semantic and vocabulary abilities by asking a variety of questions about a picture scene.
    • Identifying Labels- Scored within the normal range
    • Identifying Categories- Did NOT score within the normal range (just below)
    • Identifying Attributes- Did NOT score within the normal range (Kat's lowest score)
    • Identifying Functions- Scored within the normal range
    • Identifying Definitions- Scored within the normal range
    • Stating Labels- Scored within the normal range
    • Stating Categories- Did NOT score within the normal range 
    • Stating Attributes- Scored within the normal range
    • Stating Functions- Scored within the normal range
    • Stating Definitions- Scored within the normal range

  • Oral and Written Language Scales: 2- This assesses a child's use and understanding of vocabulary and social language. It includes use of idioms, drawing conclusions and communication in real life settings.
    • Language Understanding Section- Scored within the normal range
    • Language Usage Section- Did NOT score within the normal range 

  • Goldman-Fristoe Test of Articulation- This test looks at the articulation of specific speech sounds at the single word level.
    • Miss Kat made two articulation errors. Since she is older than age 8, that is considered outside the normal range. (No errors are allowed after 8.)

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas ears

We had a pretty epic technology fail at church today. Miss Kat uses an fm, which works great for talks but not for musical numbers. Since there were going to be a ton for the Christmas program, I thought I would try to do live voice captioning. Didn't work with my whisper!
It showed such classics as:
"X-box live" (Silent Night)
"Theme tickets" (Dream dream dream)
"Knights of deers having" (Night of our dear Saviors birth)

Also, we had THREE people with cochlear implants today! That was very interesting. Miss Kat was by far the youngest, but it was nice to see some oral deaf adults around the area. We haven't seen many CI users since we left St. Louis.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Coping with our "new life"

So, since I graduated from grad school a few months ago, there have been some big changes in our lives. I got a job teaching in an OPTION school. I have the youngest class and I absolutely love it!

We also moved three hours away from everything we have known over the last five years. We had originally hoped to stay in St. Louis, but it was not meant to be. Our next thought was that we should head west, maybe even back to Utah. We prayed a lot about what was right for my career, but more importantly, what was right for Miss Kat. We received confirmation that I should accept this job, but that we were supposed to buy a house in a different area. It is only about 20 minutes away, but the school is very small (less than 30 kids per grade) and K-8. This was risky, as they do not have a lot of experience with students with hearing loss, and obviously being in the city where I work would be more "logical" and closer to services. But we knew that this place was home.

So, we bought an amazing little house, got a puppy, and Miss Kat started her 7th grade year!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Full Circle

Our lives have truly come full circle. Years ago, I sat and listened to parents and teens on panels and wondered if Miss Kat would ever be doing as well as the children we heard from. Now Miss Kat and I talk to families of children with hearing loss and to classes of teachers of the deaf.

Even more amazing, 5 years ago, Miss Kat and I came across the country for a summer school program at CID. The teachers and program were so amazing that we decided to uproot ourselves and move all the way to St. Louis so that she could have access to these professionals. Well, this year, CID has asked me to be one of those professionals. They have asked me to teach summer school in the Primary department.

Our lives have completely come full circle. We are able to give back in ways that we were supported earlier in our journey. I am so happy and proud of everything that has happened in the last 5 years.

Monday, February 22, 2016

National Junior Honor Society

Miss Kat was inducted into her school's honor society today. She was extended an invitation to apply because of her grades during the first semester of 6th grade. She then had to fill out some forms about her service, leadership roles, and extra-curricular activities. She was also required to write a short essay about a time when she overcame a struggle as a leader. After reviewing all of that information, they decided to accept her! Today was the induction ceremony. We are so proud of her!

I remember when Miss Kat was younger, (at JTC and when we first moved here) being very frustrated whenever there was a parent panel. They always had families who reported that everything was going sooooo well! Their kids were always caught up, reading above grade level, getting amazing grades, involved in tons of extracurricular activities. I wanted to see what happened with the OTHER families! The families who had kids who started late. I wanted to see the kids who didn't have perfect access to sound starting at 6 months old. I wanted to know what happened to the kids who didn't get to never have a language delay, the ones who WEREN'T caught up by age 5. I thought that WE were never being represented...and I was wrong.

Now we are that obnoxious family that says that everything is going amazingly. We have a child who is all caught up! I get to say that the transition to public school has been nothing but a dream and that the school district is meeting all her needs. I have a child who advocates for herself in the classroom and has hearing friends and does sleep-away camp without struggles...

I never thought this day would come. I guess I should have never expected less of Miss Kat.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Nominated for...

Miss Kat received a letter today from her middle school nominating her for National Junior Honor Society. Her grades for the last two semesters plus her teachers' reports have made her eligible to apply! I couldn't be more proud of her!