Wednesday, February 26, 2014

And Your Name is Jonah

The cover art for And Your Name is Jonah, showing the title character riding his bicycle down the road.
The cover art for And Your Name is Jonah.
And Your Name is Jonah is a 1979 made-for-television movie starring Jeffrey Bravin in the title role, with Sally Struthers and James Woods playing Jonah's parents.

In the movie, young Jonah has just left a mental hospital, where he has spent three years as a result of misdiagnosis of mental retardation. As it turns out, Jonah is actually deaf. His mother becomes his loyal champion, entering a world she is very unfamiliar with - the world of speech therapy, hearing aids, and American Sign Language.

And Your Name is Jonah is streaming with subtitles on Netflix, and so I watched it earlier this week. It's a very moving film. You can feel Jonah's isolation and inability to communicate. The movie also manages to get the emotions of everyone else across, from his father's total confusion about what to do with his son to his grandfather's complete acceptance of Jonah as who he is. The last scenes of the movie, as Jonah learns there is a way for him to communicate, is wonderful.

It was fascinating to see how deafness was approached in the late 70s/early 80s. The hearing aid Jonah had to wear is very different from the ones I was given in the early 90s. It was interesting to see the very realistic way the movie portrayed speech therapy and the Deaf community.

While looking for information on the film, I found out that when it was originally shown on CBS it did not have any type of captioning (open captions had only just begun about six years earlier and closed captions began in 1980). This article by Jamie Berke explains her annoyance at not being able to watch the movie, which ironically helped a classmate understand her better. I'm glad it's now available much more readily.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A Quick Update

Tripp with my husband this past Sunday.
I guess all of the things they say about free time going out the window when you have kids is true! I apologize for not blogging more. This blog has been on my mind the past few days, though, so I thought I'd write an update on how things are going.

I was very nervous before having Tripp and afterwards if I would be a good parent considering my hearing loss. Of course I know of many parents with hearing loss who are amazing parents. Crazy stuff goes through pregnant brains. I wrote a post when Tripp was 1.5 months old about parenting with hearing loss, but things have changed - things change so quickly with babies.

He sleeps through the night most of the time, so I don't worry about keeping my hearing aids in anymore. This is great for me - I sleep better - and for them - they get to dry out overnight so they can function properly in the morning. We just set up the baby monitor before bed and my husband hears if he cries.

By far the most relieving thing has been that I can recognize his cries. I was worried I would never understand what he was trying to communicate. Cries all sound the same and I have such a hard time distinguishing high pitched sounds. It took awhile but I now know, through a combination of his cries and his body language, what he wants.

I have spoken with Tripp's pediatrician and we've gone over things to look for to keep an eye on his hearing. Since my hearing loss did not become evident (and even then it was very subtle, since it was a mild loss at the time) for four years, I want to be vigilant with him. Early recognition and intervention (no matter what that intervention is) can solve a lot of problems before they happen.

I hope to get back to blogging regularly soon but I hope in the meantime everything is going well for you!