Archive for January, 2008

Well, I’m all registered and ready for college classes again. Though not quite as excited as I was back in September, however, I have a wonderful schedule which has me attending only one day a week for four hours. NOT BAD, HUH?

Once again, I find myself worried about hearing in the classroom, having to tell the Professor I have a hearing loss and struggling through the semester no matter where I sit. The rooms are bare and metal all over the place, making accoustics horrendous. Life as an individual with hearing loss is not easy at any age. It gets to the point where repeating that u need someone to repeat/rephrase becomes pointless sometimes.

Yes, I know there’s CART and interperters. I’m just tired of all the emotional energy it takes to hear, not listen but to hear what’s being said. I’m a lousy lipreader and always have been. Hearing is biologically different than listening. They are two different animals.  I guess, I’m tired of fighting battles for me.

After my jewelry making class on Monday, I was literally drained from being so hearing focused on the teacher. It’s so difficult to explain this to people who are clueless and have “good” hearing. Although my friends understood as they know me very well and also felt that the person speaking from his office (in our classroom) made it difficult for me to hear the teacher.

Since the cold weather started (or since I’ve returned from the warm weather), my tinnitus is blasting away in my left ear. I just wish it was playing a good tune rather than the ocean roaring combined with radio static. Kind of puts a dull momentom on things as well as makes it difficult to focus on speech.

Kind of hard to believe that in the 21st century, the medical profession and the hearing aid industry can’t come up with something more exact for us. Cochlear implants are not appealing to me but I am not against them. Hearing aids are still foreign but help to a degree.

We can scan the world and spy on other countries with satelites, communicate thru emails to the other side of the world in real time, we can replace peoples hearts, kidneys and liver. In some cases, we can even give sight to the blind. So why can’t they make our ears hear?

 Attended my first silver jewelry making class today and it was truly exciting. It’s a nice, small class size and the teacher and students all seem very nice. Learned how to saw copper today along with cutting big pieces of metal.  I can’t imagine the finished products the teacher has planned for us, but I’m anticipating lots of creative energy in the classroom and I’m excited to see what I come up with.

I love being in the city. It’s educational and just great for people watching.  We had lunch at a very lovely place on Madison Avenue and I’ve never seen so much plastic surgery in one room…nor have I seen so many animals being worn in a long time.

The city certainly has alot to offer. I just wish I had an apartment in the city and of course the money to go with it because its not cheap to visit the city, let alone living in it.  I guess its all relative.

I have been without a computer for the past 24 hours and let me tell you, its as though my life has been turned upside down.  I am currently on a temporary laptop that Ed put together for me until my new one arrives (sometime next week).

I have no idea and no recollection of what life was like pre-computer age.  What did I do with all my time?  How did I communicate?  I felt as though and still do without my regular settings on the computer, as my life has been cut off from the mainstream.

I feel the same way everytime I lose my cellphone…lol.  I mean, wow! imagine not being able to communicate with family or being able to reach someone NOW?   I thought about this yesterday as I was driving on the highway and realized I left my cellphone at home.

Of course, on the only day I leave my cellphone home does my car start acting funny.  That’s all I would have needed.  My car to die in the middle of a highway and I have no cell to get help.   I wouldn’t even be able to call Ed and say, HEY, open up the back door for me, I have groceries or its pouring out….lol   To be without…….I guess its all relative.

I cannot believe I suddenly feel as though I should be at work since it was a three day weekend.  For the first time since my sabbatical began, it’s strange being home without any plans but to unpack from my vacation.  Yes, that’s right, I haven’t unpacked yet and I returned last week.

Classes don’t begin until January 30th and I only have to attend one day a week.  I also decided to take Jewelry making at the Y in Manhattan which should be a great experience.

So, the wait.  I am waiting patiently but am also feeling I will never survive going back to work.  I want this to be the longest year I’ve ever had.  I want to remember this year forever.  Naturally, I’ll get back into the daily routines returning to work but I so don’t want to go back.  So for now, I won’t think about it. I’ll enjoy the wait for classes to begin, the wait for things to happen or making things happen.

Finally got the last of my grades for the Fall semester.   drum rolllllll please!

Waited a long time for my Spanish grade. I am happy to say I received an:

A-

Life is good! cruising is my favorite way to vacation.  One thing I have to say for cruise ships, they are on time, no delays, no baggage that gets lost, the service is wonderful, the food good and the booze everywhere.  Activities, activities and more activities onboard.  It never seizes to amaze me how the staff keeps smiling.  Of course, there were some draw backs.  For example: stomach viruses from the first day out at sea.  Of course it didn’t put a damper on vacation until they announced we had to clean our hands from room to room (the ship provided the supplies) and they didn’t allow the passengers to take their own food in the buffet areas.  It got really interesting when toward the end of the cruise the Captain claimed virus cases were down but now they were providing us with tissues to push the elevator buttons with and we weren’t allowed anymore library books or games to be taken.  

Okay, okay, so now youre saying, oh Pearl, that doesn’t sound like fun!  but it was.  It was still fun.  I came this close  <> to winning a cruise for two, this close <   > to winning $100,000.  Trust me, it was fun.  I love sitting by the pool getting a tan, listening to the band, drinking pina colada’s then pulling into some Island and going snorkling.   What more could u want?  There were lots of people to talk to if you’re lonely and lots of drinking buddies to be found.  If you just wanted to sit and read, you could.  I actually read three books during the eleven days.  More than I’ve read in the past three months (except for anatomy).  

At the same time, it feels great to be home again.  Cruising is so different from flying.  For one thing, I don’t feel exhausted at the end of a cruise as I do after a plane ride.  Sitting in an airport for three hours before you even go anywhere is not my idea of fun.  Anyway, gotta go catch up on my snail mail, email and parents.

I am really ticked right now.  The Bloomberg administration is clueless when it comes to disability matters in the school system.  I do believe Mr. Bloomberg has his heart in the right place but he’s being informed by his goffers.

Hearing impaired students, deaf students, blind students and visually impaired students are about to get shafted.  In all honesty, this population has been slowly fooled over the past five years.   Self contained classrooms have been slowly decreasing and closed down without parents being given fair warning or any sort of voice in appealing the process.

The city has empowered schools, which of course, could be a good thing.  But is it a good thing for the self contained classrooms? the disabled student?  Seems to me, a Principal would not want these students as it might affect the numbers at the end of the year.  The numbers meaning, testing results.  We’ve become hyper-focused on testing, testing and more testing.  Are the children learning anything?   I am already hearing about Teachers of self contained classrooms being harrassed by Principals.

From what I’ve observed, the Dept. of Ed  has given all the assessment responsibilities to each individual school.  For a while, they would refer the Deaf and visually impaired student to HHVI (hard of hearing visually impaired unit).  But I am hearing rumors (note the word rumors) that the assessment of these children will be given to the individual schools.   Now, if I thought the school assessment teams could handle it, I’d be happy to hand my client population over on a silver platter.  But they are totally unprepared for evaluating a deaf student.   Of course the proper step to take, is to first teach Teachers and assessment teams how to recognize hearing problems and the needs of a hearing impaired/deaf child.

Its a sad day when a Teacher says to me that my deaf client cannot sit in her class because she finds the interpreter a distraction.  I walk into the classroom to find the teacher has placed the student and the child in the corner of a room.  Hmm,  I guess Teachers need to be trained in use of interpreters as well.  There is just so much at loss here that it frightens me.   Or when a Psychologist says to me, the child can’t focus, maybe an FM unit would help.  My response is: Well, okay but how about we get a hearing test first?

Several years ago, I watched someone giving students a hearing screening.  Now, hearing screenings are not the most accurate thing but if done in a quiet setting with no background noise, it could be great.  It was being done in the school auditorium. The accoustics in an auditorium is horrendous for the hearing impaired child.

My biggest concern is a child being referred and no one is picking up on the hearing disabilities.  Mainstreaming is a beautiful concept, its just not for every student.  Having parents believe their child will be in mainstreamed by placing them in collaborative team teaching classes is such a farce.  When did we start thinking that every student learns the same way? What happened to the Jose P. laws that stated we had to have HHVI (these are special teams trained to evaluate Deaf/hearing impaired, blind/visually impaired students) and at least one person who signs on each team?  The Jose P. seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth.

Another big piece, is the hearing test.  We have audio booths all over the city for use.  Years ago, we had the whole team situated where the audio booths are located. The Audiologist would test, the social worker would do their social history immediately and if necessary, both audiologist and social worker counsel the parent about the childs difficulties in the classroom (parent would find out, hey, my kid is not ignoring me?).  Psychologist would evaluate on the spot and if necessary a Speech evaluator tested as well.  In most cases, this happened all in the same day. 

Now, we have an Audiologist who has to travel to the audio booth. We wait for the results (which takes a few days).  Than the psychologist will see the child, social worker parent.  If a speech is needed, we have to contract out due to speech evaluators now being in the schools but do not evaluate.  Its just long and drawn out because administrators did not think this through when all the changes occured five years ago.  With the recent changes, I don’t believe this population of children were even considered.  It’s starting to feel like, wherever the coins fall after being thrown up in the air.  

 What the Department of Education does not realize is that they have quite a few professionals who are devoted to this population and helping them.  Its not about our jobs, its about the kids.  The no child left behind is certainly leaving the deaf and hearing impaired, blind and visually impaired below sea level.

Time for the parents to speak up and make sure their children are not left behind.

You know how some people complain their bodies hurt when it gets cold outside? Well my hearing is awful when its cold outside.  My tinnitus is roaring big time.  The sounds of the ocean and a train are competing for my attention.  Naturally, that’s only in one ear.  The other ear is, the good one, is struggling to stay sane. 

You know what the best part of this New Year is already? 

(((((((((((   I DON’T HAVE TO GET UP AND GO TO WORK TOMORROW  )))))))))))

                                                                  HA HA