how wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.- anne frank
a couple thoughts regarding this topic...
first, while i might not be able to change the world in it's entirety, i do feel like i can change things (in some way) for oral deaf/hard-of-hearing (DHH) children for sure. truly and deeply, i do believe this. and i believe that this is a path i was meant to be on. growing up, i never dreamed i'd have a disabled child...a child with special needs. really, do any of us? kiele came into my life. i shed tears at four months old, thinking she was deaf. relieved when she started responding, life was back to normal...until she was three and officially diagnosed with a moderate to severe hearing loss. but i can't even begin to share how much kiele has taught me about living and loving life. she has taught me strength and determination. and that is only the beginning. kiele, over the past 12 years, has taught me more than anyone or anything else ever has...and more than i expect anyone or anything else ever will.
during this journey of deafness, i believe we were meant to be in every place we have lived thus far. starting in arizona, where kiele was diagnosed, we were able to learn and learn fast what hearing loss was was about (at the arizona school for the deaf and the blind). i also learned that there was lots of support.
then moving to on to ft walton beach, FL, i learned about mainstreaming and the lack of support. only to be one-upped by whidbey island, WA, where there was no local support on the island. but, kiele was implanted at children's seattle (2 hours away) and i was shortly thereafter connected with maura. we traveled to maura twice a week, so kiele could receive auditory-verbal. and maura taught me how to advocate and that anything was possible for kiele. she taught me to never give up on what i believed in and knew was right. she gave me support beyond words, in a time where school professionals didn't believe in kiele and what i was advocating for.
and then we ended up here in san diego. scared to death about leaving WA and maura's undying support...there was a special person that answered the phone in the san diego school district DHH education department--that person was carol rice. i shared with her kiele's story and she said,
i have the perfect deaf itinerant for you guys.
and she did. she connected us with diane levy, a deaf itinerant teacher. it's emotional for me even to write about this b/c diane is another person that means so much to me. she's a person that would risk her job to honestly and passionately advocate for her DHH kids. she taught me that there *are* people within the district that will actually advocate for your child and not get stuck in the politics of it all.
it's emotional for me b/c i don't think i could ever thank these people enough for what they have done for kiele and i. i don't think i could ever tell them how much they really mean to me.
i share all this b/c i believe that we all have journeys that we were meant to be on. some, we might not even realize yet; some that might just fall in our lap and we begin following. follow and embrace your journies b/c you never know what you might learn and where you might end up. who knows...you might just end up paving the way and changing the path.
secondly, a friend and i were talking (we've actually had the discussion a few different times) about how we as individuals might not be able to change the entire world but we can do our little part in making our world a better place and quite possibly inspire someone else to do the same. we have to believe this!! it's easy to get overwhelmed by the things that are wrong in the world today. how can what i do make a difference? well, you never know...maybe it just can. yes, directly or maybe indirectly...we all can play our little part in changing the world for the better.
edward everette hale said it perfectly... i am only one, but i am one. i cannot do everything, but i can do something. and i will not let what i cannot do interfere with what i can do.