Kat Reading

Kat Reading

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Sharing Music

Miss Kat's favorite thing these days is YouTube. She listens to music on her phone NONSTOP. She loves looking up music and she especially loves lyric videos. Whenever we are driving together she asks if we can share music with each other. She will play me one of her favorite songs and then she looks up one of mine. It is really fun to share like that. It is certainly not something that I ever thought I would be able to do with my profoundly deaf daughter.

I am speaking at the national AG Bell conference this year. I am sharing our family's story so I have been reviewing my blog a lot. It has been amazing to walk back through my thoughts and emotions across the last 13 years. It has been a long journey, with many twists and turns, and we certainly are in a different place than I imagined all those years ago when we began investigating a CI for Miss Kat.

I believed that she would need ASL as her language of communication and instruction her entire life- I was wrong. I believed that all deaf children should sign from the start- I was wrong. I believed that Miss Kat would need specialized instruction for her entire school career- I was wrong. I believed that "oral parents" and "signing parents" had a fundamental difference- I was wrong. I believed that ASL was the only language that was accessible to children with hearing loss- I was wrong. I have learned and changed so much and so has Miss Kat. I am so proud of her and her accomplishments. She is growing up to be an amazing young woman who happens to be deaf.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

National Honor Society Part 2

So, there have been several nasty rumors going around about Miss Kat since we moved her to the mainstream. The first is that I am lying about how well she is doing. This is coming from people who claim to "know people" who work with her. They are saying that I lie and that she is very far behind and that her teachers recommend placing her in a self-contained placement. They also claim that I lied about her being in National Honor Society. Both of those are absurd and are coming from people who have never met me or Miss Kat. They are desperate to see children who use spoken language fail because they need their jobs or their insulated community to remain. It is a pity because they are wishing ill on children for their own purposes. So sad.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Finding her niche

Miss Kat has been doing (overall) very well since our move. She has lots of friends, her Halloween party has become "the event" of the fall in her tiny school. Every day some friend comes over to hang out. She also has joined a "Dungeons and Dragons" group in town. She is such a proud little nerd!

We had back to school night a few weeks ago. Miss Kat signed up for several clubs (including drama and a book club!) and we signed her up for driver's ed. We also asked the school about how we are going to handle a foreign language. Because the school is so very small (less than 30 students per grade) they only have the option of Spanish. We explained that this would not be a good fit for Miss Kat, and the school said they absolutely understood and that they would allow her to take ASL at the local community college for dual credit. She should start her sophomore year,

Now about her IEP and all that goes with it...Miss Kat is now 14, so we have started with transition goals. She presented a very nice PowerPoint at her IEP about what services and accommodations she finds useful and how she best learns. It was great to see her taking ownership of her hearing loss and her needs. We have, however, been struggling with notetaking and with having teachers understand the importance of her accommodation of "teacher provided notes". We recently discovered that a teacher is handing out a packet of papers and lecturing and having the students fill in the paper with the information that she is lecturing about. We explained to Miss Kat that this is, in fact, the same thing as taking notes. She was very relieved. She expressed how difficult it was for her to have to try to watch (a website on the SmartBoard), listen and try to take notes. Her itinerant is looking into it.

Finally, I invite everyone to come and see Miss Kat and I at the AG Bell conference. I will be giving several presentations, but one in particular is about our experience on this journey so far. Miss Kat and I will be telling our story! 

Friday, April 6, 2018

Teen girl alert!

Did a boy just show up at our house looking for Miss Kat?! He seems to really like her. I'm hearing things like, "Have you been all over the world?" and "You're so amazing." from the other room...

Uh oh...might be time to send her to an all girls school!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Why we chose a CI

Miss Kat is lip syncing to her favorite song that came on while we were in a restaurant.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Wonder: The Movie

Many of you are probably seeing the trailer for "Wonder: The Movie" and as a parent of a child with a disability, I would like to tell you why I am so angry about it and why I don't find it inspiring at all.

The entire point of the book "Wonder" was showing that children with disabilities are exactly the same as children who are not. They are not "heroes" or sideshows to be pitied and prayed for. Auggie is powerful and brilliant, but he is also moody and struggles. The other people in the book are complicated and neither perfect or villains. That is what makes it so good.

So, back to the movie. Hollywood has cast a young boy, an excellent little actor, as Auggie. This child does not have a craniofacial syndrome. He has typical physical development. They have used make-up to try to "disfigure" the child's face to imitate Auggie's syndrome. This is outrageous. If you want to celebrate diversity in this world, you cast a child with a craniofacial syndrome. If you think that audiences "don't want to look at a kid like that" during the movie, you suck and have missed the entire point of the story. 

This is essentially able-bodied "black face". They have taken a role where it is a critical plot point that the child has a physical characteristic, and chosen to cast a child without that characteristic and used make-up to mimic it. This was a chance for children and adults with craniofacial syndromes to finally "be seen" and instead, they give it to someone who does not have this condition. 

Miss Kat loves the book "Wonder" but I do not think our family can support this film.

Saturday, May 13, 2017


I don't want this to be negative at all because this is wonderful for this little girl, but watching this video is a little overwhelming. This little girl was a very good friend of Miss Kat's in Utah. She was in her class from 3 years old and up. This WAS Miss Kat. This is what her life would have looked like if she had not gotten a CI and if we had never moved to her oral school.

It isn't that this young woman can't communicate, or that it is bad that she signs, it is just that watching her...it is so shocking how different Kat's life looks.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.