Entry Fourteen- “The Outliers”- I Listen

I am not sure if I mentioned this in a previous post or not, but I went to University in Texas on a tennis scholarship. I guess you could say that I was a good tennis player, but it did not come easy to me. I was athletic, but I wouldn’t describe myself as a natural athlete and because of this, I had to work really hard. I was coachable and I listened. I still listen. This skill has served me well over my life but has become especially valuable while raising Oscar.

I listen to the medical team that my son has amassed over the last 17months and I trust them. Because I am coachable I am compliant with whatever they tell me. Now, I am not saying that you should listen blindly, I do use my critical thinking skills and I ask A LOT of questions. I think that the more questions I ask, the better I understand the complexities of Oscar and then I trust the treatment. I listen and then I execute.

I listen when the audiologist tells me to have Oscar’s hearing aids in. He wears his hearing aids without fail all day, everyday. Does he pull at them? YES! Does he throw them to the floor during meals? YES! But I consistently put them back in. Because I listened when they told us how important access to sound is for speech and cognitive development. Yes, I have to be creative with what hat he is wearing. Yes, I carry extra hearing aid batteries in my diaper bag. But I do it because I was told that it was important and I listen.

I listened when the Occupational Therapist told me that I needed to feed my son 5 times a day so that he could practice his oral motor skills. Was it easy to do this when I am also entertaining a then 4 year old and balancing many other appointments? No! Was it easy to sit 5 times a day for 30-45mins and watch my son hold food in his mouth for 5-8mins at a time and not swallow? No! Did my nutrition suffer because I was so tired of sitting at the table and planning meals for my son and daughter that I wouldn’t plan anything for myself, Yes! But I listened. I did it. Now, at almost 22months old my son eats 90% solid foods and for many meals he will eat what we eat. Now did me feeding him 5x/day help? I will never know. But I wasn’t willing to not do it.

I should suggest that if you aren’t confident in a healthcare provider ask for a second opinion. If you are unsure of a new treatment or treatment plan ask a lot of questions. For me understanding the process has helped to bring importance to treatments and better my understanding as to why we are doing them. I hope that you trust your healthcare team as I do mine and always remember that you know your child best!

I am well aware that I have the luxury of listening. I am not a single parent. I had a paid maternity leave for 18months. I am not having to trust that a childcare facility or other caregiver is doing the treatment for my child. I have the luxury to do it myself and know the quality and quantity of therapy he receives. I have a great support system around me. I have “free” healthcare which means that I am not spending a portion of my day fighting with insurance companies for coverage, this buys me time.

I understand that these privileges aren’t shared by most people but are privileges that my family has been afforded. I understand that there is never enough time in the day. But I just want to encourage you to do your best to listen and to execute what is being suggested to you. Because it may make a bit of a difference. And all of those “bits of differences” may make an appreciable change in your child’s development.

Photo Taken: July 2020 * No hearing aids near the water, but they were ready for him nearby!

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