Friday, May 2, 2008

Josh Swiller comes to JTC

My husband and I were privileged to be in attendance when author Josh Swiller came and spoke to our parent class at John Tracy last Tuesday.

(taken from www.jtc.org) :
"When my parents found out I was deaf," author Josh Swiller told JTC parents at their Tuesday night class, "my mother said she knew it all along, even though the doctors said things like, 'He's just a little slow,' and 'He's at that age when he doesn't want to listen to you.' My father, on the other hand, felt like it was his fault and it took him a long time to get over it."
Josh, who visited JTC last fall on a whirlwind tour to promote his book, The Unheard, was invited back as guest speaker for parent class. The parents were riveted by his intensely personal and frequently hilarious account of growing up in both the deaf and hearing cultures.
"It's important to laugh about your situation sometimes," said Josh. "We're here to work with what we have. Deafness is going to create frustration, but it can also create wonderful things. In fact, it's a kind of blessing because it focuses your life and enables you to experience true silence, if you choose. And when it comes to college, it's a goldmine for scholarships."
Born to hearing parents, Josh had progressive deafness and was not diagnosed until he was four years old. He now wears a cochlear implant, which, he says, has greatly improved his speech. "I learned spoken language with my eyes," he recalled, "mostly through reading and regular speech therapy." He is also an expert lip reader and is fluent in American Sign Language.
Asked what further advice he had for the parents, he said: "Deaf children aren't made of glass, so don't tip toe around them, don't baby them. Having a house full of brothers, I didn't get treated like a poor little thing. They slugged me in the arm just like anyone else, harder in fact. I didn't get a pass on anything."
The Unheard is both the story of Josh's childhood and of his two, extraordinary years as the first deaf Peace Corps volunteer in Zambia.



What a wonderful example he is. I jotted down a few of my favorite things from that night, in the back of our copy of the book, for Logan to reflect on when he is older.

-Don't ever "fake it". You don't have to hide your deafness
-Humor makes your deafness less fearful
-It's OK to have struggles, it makes us strong
-Educate others about your deafness
-In school, the education part will not be the difficult part, it will be the social part.

Tips for parents:
-Be sure to "check-in" with your child often, don't let them pretend to be getting it all.
-Teaching them to be good readers is very important
-Educate others about your child's deafness, especially in the early ears
-Make sure your child feels open enough to feel comfortable to talk to you about his deafness
-Josh Filler said, "With hearing aids I would struggle to get all the sounds--with a CI I get all the sounds, I'm just trying to make sense of it all."
-

6 comments:

Val said...

I'm so jealous, I'm still waiting to read his book. I asked for it for my b'day but apparently everyone forgot...gotta get it myself!

KALE said...

Hello Celeste and Jack, browsing the Internet I found this blog, very nice, I am Italo Mexican, and I am also member of the church, my blog is: www.cottesud.blogspot.com for me has been a blessing, having Logan found the blog and BLOG family that are very special people, I've seen it all, and I realize that they are a family filled with blessings, that our Heavenly Father is with you at all times, I love, the beautiful family that I see in you all so happy, is great! I want to congratulate you, as parents and as family, are great! and 3 children are beautiful.
I suffer from fibromyalgia, a disease is also somewhat limiting, but it is a blessing from God so I see it, even so, he achieved many things in life, my Heavenly Father I have been filled with blessings, I am Doctor of Criminalistics, (something as if the character of Jodie Foster in the silence of the inocents) this is my job, and I feel that Logan is a very lucky boy like you as their parents ... will be a great man, and certainly chosen of God .
I hope to visit family and my blog will allow me to visit and comment within their own.
Sorry for my English is not very good yet, my languages are Italian and Spanish
IS MY BLOG: www.cottesud.blogspot.com
A PRESTO BELLISIME FAMIGLIA!
ANCHE UN BACI PER TE LOGAN! SEI UN BELLISIMO BAMBINO!
ATTE KALE

kale said...

Hello Celeste and Jack, browsing the Internet I found this blog, very nice, I am Italo Mexican, and I am also member of the church, my blog is: www.cottesud.blogspot.com for me has been a blessing, having Logan found the blog and BLOG family that are very special people, I've seen it all, and I realize that they are a family filled with blessings, that our Heavenly Father is with you at all times, I love, the beautiful family that I see in you all so happy, is great! I want to congratulate you, as parents and as family, are great! and 3 children are beautiful.
I suffer from fibromyalgia, a disease is also somewhat limiting, but it is a blessing from God so I see it, even so, he achieved many things in life, my Heavenly Father I have been filled with blessings, I am Doctor of Criminalistics, (something as if the character of Jodie Foster in the silence of the inocents) this is my job, and I feel that Logan is a very lucky boy like you as their parents ... will be a great man, and certainly chosen of God .
I hope to visit family and my blog will allow me to visit and comment within their own.
Sorry for my English is not very good yet, my languages are Italian and Spanish
IS MY BLOG: www.cottesud.blogspot.com
A PRESTO BELLISIME FAMIGLIA!
ANCHE UN BACI PER TE LOGAN! SEI UN BELLISIMO BAMBINO!
ATTE KALE

mbishopp said...

Hi Celeste,

Wow, you are attracting more attention from others around the world!
Thanks again for the tips. If Alexander's hearing progressively gets worse then we will be heading to the CI approach. We'll keep in touch.
I finally began a blog http://bishoppfam.blogspot.com/.

How do you add music onto it?

Thanks again,
Monica, Seattle, WA

Diet Coke and Zingers said...

I love what a great mom you are to all of your boys, but I especially love how hard your work to give Logan every possible advantage. You are awesome!

dani said...

I like the tips! What about learning sign language? What I hear over and over again from members of the Deaf community is that even with CIs signing helps with communication, shows them how much their families are committed to communicating with them, and gives them a sense of having their own culture and community and a way to communicate with people who have similar experiences.

And that it can be very difficult for people who have to wait through the CI process, or in olden days the oralism process, to be able to communicate fully with their families - there's a tremendous difference in how fulfilled and happy and functional people are as adults when they did/didn't have a way to be in on every conversation or to express themselves as fully as they developmentally could.

(not to mention, of course, the benefits of being bilingual and the ways that babies can use sign before they are developmentally able to speak! but with all the tasks involved in raising kids at all, much less working with implants and audiologists and everyone, the nice-to-haves sometimes need to take a back seat.)

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