While I was on maternity leave my coworkers were working their tails off for one of our students. When she entered our class she came with paperwork indicating she had a behavior problem. After getting to know her my coworkers realized that she couldn't hear- she wasn't trying to be obstinate, she just couldn't hear the instructions.
Months have gone by. My coworkers set up doctors appointments, organized meetings, translators, doctors appointments, more meetings with more translators that led to more doctors appointments and more meetings. By the time I came back the whole movement was well on its way. There were lots of tears (on our part) as we waited for this little girl to be able to get hearing aids. As we waited she went through her day like she always had, desperately trying to comply with adult directions, trying to communicate with her peers, trying to figure out what she was suppose to be doing day in and day out. She smiled and nodded and tried to please us, guessing everyday about what we wanted her to do. It was heart breaking to watch her try to communicate- try to do whatever we asked, but never quite on target.
Today, after months of my co-workers' hard work and dedication, she entered school with shiny new hearing aids tucked behind her ears. She grinned at us and immedietly brushed her hair aside so we could check out her new jewlery. She could hear us. She could hear everything around her.
What was truly amazing was that it was as though she was seeing us for the first time as well. She noticed everything around us- asking us to label signs and materials in our room. She seemed to notice our class frog for the first time ever- she stared at him multiple times during the day, giggling and laughing as he splashed around in the tank, and begged multiple times to feed him. It was as though for the first time she could relax during the day and look around the room- no longer trying to stay on her toes to catch when she may be called on she was able to truly notice where she was.
When she drew pictures she included ears- something she had never done before. In pictures of herself she included her aids.
When we met with her in the speech-pathologists' office to awe over ears one of my former friends, now a third grader, appeared. She was coming to visit our SLP because, well, she had her own brand new ear jewlery. She isn't deaf, but her hearing is improved when she is aided. We got to watch the third grader and the kindergarten student compare equipment and stare at each other. Suddenly they were not alone with their hearing aids. We didn't even plan the encounter- but it couldn't have worked out better.
There were so many times we welled up with tears as we watched her explore her new world for the first time. My coworkers made this happen. They worked so hard, with ridiculous patience and love for this child as they struggled to make this happen. But they did it.
I love where I work. I am so blessed to work with so many dedicated people.