Saturday, October 25, 2008

To FM or not to FM... #7

It's another soccer Saturday - our LAST week of outdoor soccer until Spring... Hallelujah!

When Tate was younger we used his FM at every soccer game. Let's face it, he can't hear the coach calling in instructions, he often can't hear his teammates calling to each other, he certainly can't hear me cheering for him, and even the ref's whistle (blown softly, because there are so many fields so close together) may not hit his radar.

But as Tate has grown older he's more likely to prefer NOT to wear his FM for soccer. He will, sometimes. You can see it in the pics :0)

I watch him play, and he is constantly checking on the location of other players, always watching where the ball is in play, and usually aware of the referee. I think, just perhaps, he is tired of me distracting him. (I'm not micro-coaching... really!)

And he's had some funny FM experiences...

At one point, when he was still at public school, his teacher mentioned to me that he had been turning his FM off. She took it as defiance - as "I don't want to listen to you." And, to be fair, he has done that to me.... just glared at me and clicked his HA off. But when I asked Tate about it, he told me that he got tired of hearing her talk to other kids. I think she was forgetting to turn her end off when the class was working quietly and she was circulating.

She was also forgetting to turn it off at other times... she would drop the class off in the library and sometimes would forget to hand it off. Tate would be trying to listen to the librarian read a story, and his teacher would head to the bathroom, and then the teacher's lounge! "Mom, I hear her talking to other grown-ups!"



Ambulance Mommy said...

ok, funny story in a similar line. I work as a dispatcher for a small university police department, right, and one time an officer was having some problems with turning her radio on, because she kept hitting it with her shoulders and things.
One time, she was in the bathroom, and keyed the mike. We all heard.
That must have been kind of what it was like for Tate! :)

Denise Portis said...

Oh my! The FM stories are funny! I've been to some conferences before (Hearing Loss Assoc. of America) and the whole room was full of people "wired for sound". They had volunteers at the doors making sure the workshop speakers had turned in their mics before leaving! I guess now I know why!

kristen@nosmallthing said...

This is exactly the concern I shared with Henry's teacher earlier in the month. He's in pre-k now, and doing great (it's a deaf/hoh pre-k mixed with normal hearing peers, and the teacher wears HAs so she's pretty good with the FM), but I was worried that next year a teacher that is not specifically trained to use an FM and is not used to using it daily might forget and become a distraction to a 5 year old boy.

I guess my concern is a valid one, then, huh?

Julie said...

Tate has had some funny experiences, but we have been blessed with teachers that really went the extra mile for him. Yeah, once in awhile there were moments like these :o)

Overall, the FM was much more beneficial than distracting. His second grade teacher, in particular, did a great job. For instance, when the kids had show and tell, each child would wear the mic so Tate could hear them directly. At other times the teacher would repeat or restate what other kids said, in case Tate missed it.

There's definitely a 'learning curve' for mainstream teachers, who haven't worked with hearing loss or this technology before. In addition to his classroom teacher, Tate was 'followed' by an itinerant Deaf/HoH teacher in the district. He got 45 minutes (or 30?) a week with her. She was/is great, but that's not much time. During his last year at public school, we were experimenting with an oral interpreter (someone who sat facing Tate and repeated everything up close, so he got it visually also.) So that was more hours, but... really the classroom teacher makes all the difference.

Although our public school officially has a policy of not taking parental requests for certain teachers, they do listen to requests worded in certain ways... I found I had quite a bit of influence, ESPECIALLY if I could conference with his current teacher near the end of the school year. Then THAT teacher could help identify and select the best placement for him the following year.

Of course, we worked a lot with Tate on identifying obstacles to listening, and advocating for himself appropriately. But... it's not 50-50. A little kid shouldn't have to be contributing an equal amount of work to make communication happen, so you have to find the balance.

Thankfully, Tate has a pretty well-developed sense of humor!

Deborah said...

I think I get why he would turn it off. Lol! Good thing he has a good sense of humour.

Karen Putz said...

With three kids using FM systems, we have quite a few of those FM stories where the teachers would forget when they stepped out of the classroom.

My oldest has now chosen not to use it anymore in high school.

Julie said...

With Tate being 9 (almost 10!) there are, occasionally, times I insist he use it - like family bike rides. And he is usually pretty gracious about it. But I'm trying to let him have control over it... like soccer. :0)

By the time he's a high-schooler... who knows!