I doubt that anyone, in their preparation for pregnancy for their baby during pregnancy, ever focussed on how they will cultivate relationships with some of the people that they may need to interact with as their child grow and develop. I for one never thought further than wanting to be the best mom that I could be. This was and still is my biggest goal in life.
For some, developing relationships are second nature, but even then, when it comes to relationships that are crucial to your child’s well being, we tread unchartered waters. I mean who wakes up one morning and say, “okay, today I’m going to start focussing on nurturing the relationship with my child’s audiologist”?
When we look at the holistic development of a child, at the core of that holistic approach should be the relationship you have with the many people who will play a crucial role in your child’s life. In my heart, all the professionals that I interact with on behalf of my child, is a means to a beginning.
An opportunity to grow my knowledge base, to learn from others and to hopefully inspire the very professional that sits in front of me, to look at each patient/client as an individual who needs guidance. Someone who may be feeling insecure and need them to go the extra mile, even if it only requires a kind smile.
I am a mother of a child who was diagnosed with a hearing impairment in 2011, up until then I’d never heard of an audiologist, even though my own father is deaf. I could never have foreseen the very important role that this profession would play in our lives. At times I felt like a real idiot not having given the possibility of hearing loss a second thought when my son started presenting with speech and language challenges.
Fast forward to 2013, after many hearing tests, extensive research, networking and advocating, I met an audiologist, Natalie Buttress, who exemplified everything that I looked for in a professional. Someone who understands that working with a parent requires a certain amount of patience, empathy and a little bit of assertiveness.
As a parent, I am constantly making decisions on behalf of my child. At times I am completely lost, and rely on the professional to empower and guide me to make informed decisions without dictating. I need to feel in control of the decisions I make for, and with, my son.
The greatest parenting lesson that our audiologist has taught me through our regular consultations, is that I CAN trust my son’s feedback about his hearing. Each consultation has always validated my son’s complaints about changes in the sound he perceives through his hearing aids.
Audiology is about giving access to sound, and what better way to advocate for the profession than to listen to the patients with intent?
Parent-Professional partnerships are critical for successful intervention. Do not shy away from asking questions and if you are an audiologist then I ask you today to please give consideration to empowering the families and parents that you come into contact with. Help us to be the best Mom’s and Dad’s that we can be. Listen to us, share your knowledge and professional opinions, and give us the space to make informed decisions.
If you are reading this today and you are concerned about your child’s speech and language development or their listening, then please, I urge you to schedule a hearing test to rule out any possible hearing loss. If your spouse is showing signs of hearing loss, please also do encourage them to have their hearing tested.
Hearing loss can impact the quality of life, but it is not the end of life, it is the beginning of a journey that inspires reflection upon the life we wish to lead and the life we can lead. A life where you realise that the limits of your world, is not your ears, but your will to succeed!
Prepared by Chevone Petersen, www.chevslife.com