Thinking back to the 3 workshops I attended, I could say that I learned so much from each one of them. It made me think how I, the mother of Gerardo, a deaf boy, can implement what I have learned.
My first workshop was with Tomas Garcia. His presentation was awe-inspiring! Tomas is a great role model to me. The way he shares his story makes you see things in a different perspective. What he shared made me think of the different ways I can teach Gerardo about my culture and his dads’ culture.
The second workshop was presented by Edith Wysinger. She showed us how to put together a one page profile. Edith did a great job! I got so many good ideas that I will definitely do a one page profile for my son. Not only will I have one in his IEP, but his teachers are all getting one at the beginning of the school year. This will really help everyone see Gerardos’ needs, his strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes etc.
Last but not least, the last workshop I attended was a panel of CSUN students who are deaf. They shared their story on growing up deaf, the schools they attended, and the different challenges they faced, just to mention a few. I thought this was a great workshop. All these students are great role models for our kids! I think a lot of parents would benefit from seeing a workshop like these.
Throughout the whole conference one thing was on my mind the whole time, was I the only one that was not fluent in ASL amongst everyone else? I came home Saturday night and really reflected on that. Was I a bad mother to my son because I’m not fluent in ASL? Don’t get me wrong, I sign with him, but I’m not fluent. It made me think of what I could’ve done different in these last years. I thought about it today, and I came to the conclusion that I have done the best I can.
My journey with Gerardo has been so challenging. Not only is he deaf, he’s also a little person, he has special needs. Gerardo has had more surgeries than birthdays. He’s been hosptilized for pneumonia numerous times. He’s had so many doctor appointments, therapy appointments etc. Even with all that he has been through he’s such a happy, smart, funny boy! He loves to joke around with everyone, he has a great personality. He doesn’t let his height and his deafness get in his way. So now looking back at all we have been through, I don’t regret anything. I’ve done the best I could for him, But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to do something in regards to how I felt in the conference. I decided that I will take ASL classes in a community college. I want to be able to have a conversation with my son and not have to make him stop and fingerspell the sign I didn’t understand. I want to be able to go to another conference and be able to have a conversation with a deaf person, without having someone there to interpret for me. I guess its never too late to start! I was comparing myself to others and asking myself why I’m not at their level and I learned that you should never do that. You have never been in their shoes and they have never been in yours, If there is something you want to do different, now is the time to start.
I definitely think other parents would benefit going to these types of conferences. There is so much to learn. It’s a great feeling to know that everyone that attended is there because they want to get new ideas to make a difference in our kids’ lives.