There was a hearing room, a vision room, a physical disabilities room, etc. We were obviously in the hearing room. An audiologist, Lori, ran the room and did a spectacular job. She talked to the kids and taught them about hearing loss. The kids broke up into groups and went to different stations. They had a sign language station, an unfair hearing test station and our cochlear implant station. Cormac was the only child who participated in any of the classrooms.
Cormac prepared on his own and made a binder about himself. I was so proud of him. What I loved most was the last page. He said "even though I may hear differently I am just like all the other kids" Isn't that what we want all our kids to know? He said at one point "My friends at school don't care I have implants. They just treat me like everyone else. But if I don't hear something they help me too"
Here are pictures from his binder. Sorry about the first two facing the wrong way.
In total he spoke to about 80 third graders. They came in small groups so it wasn't all at once. He was never once afraid to talk or shy. He was proud of himself. He was proud to share his experiences. He was thrilled to answer questions. He was comfortable in front of the kids just being him. He was funny and loved showing the kids he can stick metal objects to his head. He loved showing them he can read lips.
Here he is with my earring stuck to his head.
I had two favorite moments of the day. The first was when the boy in the video says "He talks better than most of my friends". Some of the kids were really surprised he could talk. Lots of them asked their questions to me instead until they realized he just answered them anyway.
The second favorite moment came via a sweet little girl named Sophia. After Cormac did his presentation we asked if their were any questions. To which she replied "I don't have a question about his hearing but how did you get to be so adorable.?" Cormac turned every shade of red under the sun. She was so adorable. As she was leaving the class. She stuck her head back in the doorway and said "Cormac, I just can't stand you cuteness!"
We managed to get a picture with her.
And this was his reaction when she called back to him in the room. He was being shy.
I don't think I stopped smiling the entire day. I had flash backs to sitting in a rocking chair and crying when I was told Cormac was deaf. I rocked him and thought so many things. Would he be able to go to school with his brothers? Would he speak? Would he every hear me say I loved him? Would he ever tell me he loved me? So many thoughts ran through my head that day and in the many days to come. If someone told me that day I would someday watch my deaf son speak and talk about himself with such ease and confidence I probably wouldn't have believed them.
My heart was filled with love for him and for all the people who helped us reach this point. It takes a village for sure. I did shed a tear when he said his brothers helped him learn to speak. He credits them with getting him talking.
He already asked if he can return next year :)
Here are some videos of him speaking to the kids.