Can You Hear Me Now?
Does this have anything to do with us spending a year in Cleveland? Nope.
This has to do with every parent who has ever had a child who does not fit into the box.
Back in mostly socialist Israel, we have tried to be so happy with what is being offered to both Channan and Eitan. Classrooms are acousticized (ain’t no spell check in the world that is going to go for that) for their benefit (well, mostly, until the Department of Education sort of stopped midway). We’ve had meetings and progress reports and people who genuinely care. And that’s where I try to hang my hat, the genuine good wishes and good intent of human beings. Yet there are moments when I cannot breath because I totally get Mark Ruffalo in the Hulk. That is who I could be when the speech therapist talks condescendingly and with no knowledge of my son. I can’t give my child time with someone who seems to create incorrect negativity. He’s seven. He’s not running for public office.
There are so many stories I choose to ignore and put elsewhere in our quest to help Nani master the Hebrew language in a classroom of 29. I choose not to think about our friend, the contractor, who simply went into his son’s classroom to acousticize it himself after getting the runaround or has managed to seem unbitter (not a word but truly a sentiment) when he discovered that the school (not our school) allocated funds meant for his child to buy a quieter air conditioner (“that way everyone benefits” said the school. Well, not the kid who needs an FM system with that money, but details).
I choose to think about Channan’s in-school tutor who runs to him any time another child cancels because she loves him SO much and loves watching him progress. I choose not to dwell on the fact that hearing aids are marked up 100% in Israel and a quick call to an internet site in the States saved us $4500.00.
Channan is happy. He is loved. He has friends. He has people who care. I need to spend my time thinking about that. But some days, even when I don’t want to, I find myself going down this path: it is obvious that Nani needs speech therapy. In order to get it, you need to send in your forms and wait and wait and wait (supposedly for ten days for us it was 80 days). You can call to follow up, but the woman answers her phone one day a week for an hour and a half. So in a 40 hour work week, 90 minutes are dedicated to customer service. And she lost our papers. Maybe twice. One day, I get a blocked call, from an unnamed woman, who refuses to tell me who she is, what office she is calling me from and who she represents. Yet she informs me that Channan is now eligible for 27 hours of speech therapy (that’s pretty good) but only from one institution in Jerusalem. When I question her, she hangs up on me. It’s like the CIA of the hearing impaired. We manage to sort it all out with the help of the nice people. But I spend my time feeling like I’m running at windmills.
But then this: in a meeting with all the faculty working with Nani at his school (which was secretly cancelled twice without letting me know — my CIA conspiracy theory justs gets stronger each day), his lovely teacher tells me: when it’s recess, kids all want to play with him. And once or twice, he’s even raised his hand in class. I’ll take it. Nani FTW.
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