My son Jordan, his sister Sofia and I needed passport pictures, so we went to a store to have them taken. We entered the shop and, as we waited until the shop assistant finished helping another person, I noticed an elderly man staring at Jordan, ten years old at the time. At one point, the man turned to me and, in quite a rude way asked:
Excuse me, what is that thing on your son’s head?
After I composed myself, because I had found his audacity rather shocking, I said:
Jordan, this man would like to know about your cochlear implant processor. Could you please explain a little about it?
I was born deaf and wore hearing aids for eight years. Then, I received my cochlear implant, and now I can hear sounds that I had never heard before, like birds, crickets, my sister calling me from downstairs to come to dinner. If you have any questions, I would be happy to answer them.
The man winked at Jordan, looked at me and said:
You have a very intelligent son.
Advocate to educate has always been our motto.
For the first years of my son’s life, he struggled to find his voice. When he wore hearing aids, our lives consisted of speech therapy three times a week, work at home and struggling through school and homework. He received his first cochlear implant at eight years of age, and this new way of hearing transformed his life from frustration and listening fatigue to incidental language learning and a new-found affectionate nature. I will never forget the amazing day that he conquered his fear of speaking on the phone!
As Jordan’s Mom, I felt fortunate to have such an intelligent and sensitive son. I dedicated myself to loving him and helping him find his voice. Ten years after his first CI, he chose to have his second cochlear implant. He was ready to take on university.
His passion for video game technology led him to Rome to attend college towards a degree in Communication: Specialization – Video Games. At the end of his first year, he had the opportunity to attend the E3 in Los Angeles, the largest video game conference in the world.
Mom, my school invited me to attend a conference in LA as a contributing journalist, but everyone already has a flight and hotel room. I would really like to go.
As I stared at the determination on my son’s face, a lifetime of Jordan flashed before my eyes: a history of communication difficulties, hours of speech therapy, parent-teacher conferences where his teachers consistently complained that Jordan was behind in his schoolwork and comprehension. Those difficult moments dissolved into recent memories of Jordan participating in a school trip to Prague, where he fell asleep on the tram, woke up and backtracked to find his classmates. Or his trip to Strasburg, where he spent a week speaking only English with deaf youths from all over Europe.
How could I say no? I had spent a lifetime giving him wings, and he was asking me to fly. I let him fly…
He had an amazing time interviewing video game producers, collecting business cards for his future, visiting Hollywood, and acting as interpreter for his roommates from Russia, Spain and China in the youth hostel where he stayed.
Who knows where Jordan will go next? I only know that I am proud of him always, and he has no limits, least of all his deafness. Thank you, Cochlear.
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