Kat Reading

Kat Reading

Thursday, June 18, 2009

John Tracy Clinic Summer Session Part One

Date: 6/8/09

1. I HATE California!

We left home at 3am Saturday morning. We figured we would take about 12 hours to get there. I was hoping by leaving at that dog-forsaken hour, I could get about six hours of driving in before Miss Kat woke up. I was wrong. It was only about four. It wasn’t bad, though. She was very cheery and excited for the trip. It’s overall not that bad a drive UNTIL we get to L.A.

I had to make three freeway changes in the space of a tenth of a mile and then, at that moment, Miss Kat got carsick (it happens sometimes. She gets it from her Daddy.) and she starts screaming that she is going to throw up. There’s nothing I can at the moment since I’m concentrating pretty hard on not getting us killed, but she won’t stop screaming. I finally turned and said “Fine! Throw up! I don’t care!” She doesn’t.

So, we find JTC and I discover that I have forgotten the paper that tells me the apartment name and address. I can’t go into JTC, or anywhere else for that matter, because everything is gated and locked and there’s nobody in sight. I pick up the phone to call home and discover that my cell phone isn’t going to work here…

What do I do now??

I end up getting a handful of change and finding the world’s most expensive pay phone (not in a lovely part of town) and I call my sister and husband. After about an hour of standing in the heat, I am able to get the address and figure out how to get into the building. But while I was on the phone, Miss Kat did end up throwing up all over the sidewalk… poor baby.

So we finally get situated and today we start school. Miss Kat is in a class with four other kids. Two have implants (one bilateral) and two have hearing aids. They are all younger than Miss Kat, but I think that will be okay. The first 45 minutes of class, parents stay and play. We do a listening test and just get settled. The classrooms (and speech rooms) have one way mirrors so whenever we have a free moment we can sneak over and watch the kiddos. Miss Kat seems to really like the class. I hope she is doing well.

The parents’ schedules are very busy as well. While today was mostly an introduction, we did have a session with the counselors. They had us write a letter about our hopes for the week. We sealed them and will read them at the end of the session. Mine was mostly about fears. I also wrote for a counseling session about my fears. I told them that I worry that if I take this next step and begin this path of oral learning that I will end up crushing her spirit and ruining her emotional well-being. That is my biggest worry.

I’m also having some trouble with Miss Kat’s behavior. 99.9% of the time she is a wonderful girl. Don’t get me wrong, she is no angel, but she is always trying to do the right thing. She doesn’t ever (usually) do things she knows are wrong. Mostly our issues are from misunderstanding expectations and from her just general monkeying around. But today was different. Miss Kat was on her scooter (a birthday present from her Nana and her favorite thing EVER) and I very clearly explained where the boundaries for riding were. She did not like them, so she absolutely ignored me and rode off down the street. I FREAKED OUT!!! I do not like this area, and whenever we are outside I don’t feel safe, so I do not want Miss Kat out of my sight at all. This is different from home where she walks (or scoots) over to her Nana’s or Grammy’s house by herself all the time. I was so upset and I was very firm with her and told her that it wasn’t okay and if she couldn’t follow the rules, we’d have to go back inside. She got upset and threw a royal fit. I finally got her calmed down (after I was repeatedly being told that I was not nice and many, many tears). A few minutes later she decides she wants to have a picnic out there on the lawns. I told her we needed to wait a few minutes because we had just eaten and that we would get cookies and come back down and have our picnic. She got ultra-pissed and picks up our only dorm key and chucks it. I immediately start hunting for it. For forty minutes I search the lawn for a little gold key. Miss Kat says “Oops. I made a mistake. I threw the key. That was wrong. Sorry.”, but otherwise she doesn’t care at all. She won’t help me look. She won’t even stay in one spot so I don’t have to watch her. She still believes that nothing really matters and that Mommy and Daddy can fix anything. She tried to tell me to go to the housing people and get a new key. I was really frustrated with her. I wish I had handled it better.

I am worried that all of this is too stressful for Miss Kat. I hope that this is just a transition issue and not another or a bigger problem. I’m going to give it a few more days before I make any judgments.

One last super cute thing, though. When we were walking over to the school, I was reminding her that JTC is an oral school. She said, “Yes. This is a talking school, but if the teacher wants to know any signs, I will raise my hand, and tell her.” How sweet is that?


Dianrez said...

No two kids being the same, my trick might or might not work. Worth a try, maybe.

Like Miss Kat, my oldest, Melly, was headstrong and to get her off her bad behavior, I'd tell her a short story to distract her. This was when she was about 3 to 5 years old.

Usually it would be about the good Melly (sign name M on the head) and the bad Melly (same sign, upside down) The good M would do the right thing in the story and the bad M would do a naughty thing. "Which M do you like best?" I'd ask. Of course the bad M was a real stinker that not even the real M would like!

By the time the 1-minute story ended, the crisis would be forgotten and the kid would be thinking, or smiling because she got the answer right, and had a better idea what was expected of her.

Anonymous said...

I'll tell you what. Seems you are having a difficult time handling Miss Kat through communication barriers in a way. I'd suggest you to learn SIGN LANGUAGE thus that would ease your frustration througout the day! More Oral....result more "problem" child. You worry too much!!! She's fine. Learn Sign language not for your SAKE but for MISS Kat's being.

I know this because I am Deaf myself. I am a successful Deaf adult. I have a MA in Deaf Education. I also know this because for one I went through JTC for one year and stopped cuz it was "too far" alas I learned oral. My parents did not use sign. Of course there's communication barrier and sometimes I am not happy. I regret that my parents do not sign. If they did I would have a better relationship and communication with them.

Please take my advice...SIGN!
Thanks and hope all is well with Miss Kat.

Anonymous said...

Dear crazy Anonymous person. If you had only spent a little time reading this blog, you would have noticed that Miss Kat is FLUENT in ASL!!

Li-Li's Mom said...

Dianrez, great idea :) I need to try that trick with Bad Li-Li!

Oh, poor Miss Kat's Mom! I feel for you, really do, been there! I'm sure things will turn around.

I am so curious about this program and can't wait to hear more, I'm just starting the classes by email, hoping to find some time this summer to add it into the mix.

leah said...

Oh, yeah- LA freeways! Haha- I grew up in LA and driving on the freeways is even included in the driving test there, lol. Thank goodness you finally found your way- I would have been panicked at being lost!

Miss Kat sounds totally normal. Granted, my oldest is only three, but he can be a real handful!!! I have a feeling this won't let up as he gets older. He's good, but really headstrong. I like Dianrez's story idea! Sort of like the old "Goofus and Gallant" strip in Hi-lights Magazine.

I hope your week goes well, and I can't wait until you write more about the program! We're considering going next year, when Mr. Nolan is 2 1/2. Is the program all day long? We'd drive up from Oxnard in the morning and "home" again at night (the grandparents live in Oxnard).

Bright Family said...

Jealous! Yes I am. I hope your first week was awesome! I am hoping and praying that we can maybe get back to JTC next year.

We attended last year when Tayten was 2.5 and 8 months hearing (he was much more of an angel then!). The progress he made in the 3 short weeks was amazing! I wrote about our trip here: http://thebrightson.blogspot.com/2008/07/our-trip-to-jtc.html

Enjoy your time! I hope Miss Kat loves it!

David said...

We have a couple of strong-willed children. The advice we got, which seems to have worked best, is "The adult must *always* (100%) prevail in any contest of will." Of course, this also means to not let every thing grow into a contest of wills. We listened to our children and, on some things, they could explain their point and change our minds. Also, sometimes we would explain why we were not going to change, such as 'playing in the street here can get you killed'. Truthfully, this can take a *lot* of energy when the kids are young, but it gives huge rewards as the kids get older.

On another note, I really feel for the fears you describe. There is no standard way to deal with children and no real way to know until much later if decisions and methods really work out OK.

All our best wishes for your California trip.


Anonymous said...

Kat at summer session at John Tracy Clinic?? Oh, poor little Kay's freedom for the smmer break, playing merry-go-round is robbed! How sad she is deprived of her normal summer childhood. Suffering silently and helplessly while her speech teacher breathing hot on her neck repeating and repeatng

/d/, /s/, /t/
/k/,/k/, /k/,
/b/, /m/, /p/

Oh, poor little Kay can't run away from John Tracy Clinic. Her hands are chained to her speech teacher. Oh poor little Kay can't push away her speech teacher's hand touching her cheek, nose, chin, mouth, throat. Time drags on and on and on and on! Her mother is deafier to Little Kay's inside cries.

/ch/ /ch/ /ch//
/d/ /s/ /t/
/k/ /k/ /k/
/b/ /m/ /p

Oh, poor Kay longing for freedom and good summer break! She is stuck, her hands chaimed by her speech teacher!

Annie said...

To the most recent "anonymous" commenter:

Your post was creative and well thought out, with nice use of repetition to make your point. It might have been more effective had you used the correct name, but that is a small quibble.

You cannot assume that you know what little Kat's experience is. Many children have hated speech therapy, to be sure. Many children today hate speech therapy. Many children today love speech therapy and think it is just play. You cannot assume that you know what anyone's experience is, because there is no singular D/deaf experience.

Miss Kat's mother has chosen to raise her child bilingually. This is a courageous, selfless decision. This is especially true when the child is picking up spoken language and quickly as Miss Kat seems to be. It would be easy for her mother to bag the whole ASL thing and raise an oral child.

When you post something like you did, it is an implicit attack on this mother's choices. I do not think her choices have been so horrible that they merit this. By all means, post this sort of thing in a forum where a parent is calling their child "hearing" after the child has gotten a CI, or where the parent thinks of their deaf child as disabled, or where a parent or school restrains the child's hands or forbids signing. But here? Really? Come on.

I think we need to give parents a break sometimes, especially when they seem to be trying hard to raise an emotionally healthy child.

Anonymous said...

Yikes, the loony commenters make me want to run further from the Deaf community, not towards it.

It's like they didn't even spend more than 4 seconds on the blog either. Clearly you have gone above and beyond to expose Miss Kat to ASL.


Janis @ SneakPeek said...

YIKES!! I hope you do end up loving your JTC stay. We love JTC and have nothing but a great experiences there with Demo Home.