Saturday, February 13, 2010

Preparing for Battle- High School part 3

Before having a meeting, my parents wanted to make sure we knew what our rights were, and that nothing (else) would be unfair. Oftentimes on blogs, when I see parents talk about their kids struggling (often because the kids themselves haven't been around enough kids with hearing loss, so they feel "different,") I recommend AG Bell.  Join, I say. Go to a convention, it will be a tremendous help for both parents and children. It's not because I'm some crazy die-hard oralist with an agenda (and really, most of the people in it aren't either!) It's because AG Bell has been such a help through all of this- both parens of people I met who have been through it before, as well as a lawyer who belongs. For almost no pay, they've helped us tremendously and given direction when we had no clue where we were going. Not to mention the conventions are tons of fun, and if you would like to see my smiling face, then come to Orlando!

From the lawyer's perspective, he told us it would be really difficult to win any sort of lawsuit based on educational need. Apparently, there was once a very big court case similar to mine, and the school district won. Plus, we don't really want to go the legal route- it's messy, expensive, and would just waste more time. Like Kim said, they had broken the law from a civil rights perspective.Not so much for the denial of CART, but for the ridiculous evaluation and the fact they provided almost none of the previous accomodations (captions, video notes) until it was months into the school year. He also said we had a right to an independent evaluation, and to request one. We planned to go into the meeting and request it.

My audiologist was also quite angry about the report, and thought it would do some good to have a hearing test to prove that I have trouble hearing in a classroom environment. I think this was some sort of newer test- not any of that HINT stuff with annoying white noise. This test had both male and female speakers (with extrememly random sentences) and the backgroumd noise was actual people speaking, as you would find in the real world (a classroom). With my concentration solely on listening (not on comprehend/understanding, or writing things down) I made somewhere around 75%. Apparently it's a pretty difficult test and most CI users score significantly lower than that, but it was still pretty telling. Most people with average hearing score 100% on the test, without having to put so much effort into it. Don't you think it would make a huge difference if you missed a fourth of everything said in the classroom? My audiologist thought so too, and wrote a letter to the evaluators that we brought to the meeting.

Wow, I'm just dragging this out aren't I? Promise, the next post will be about the actual meeting!


  1. It still surprises me how easy the HINT sentences are now... The only one I've missed consistently was because my brain was messing me up. I thought it was "The bucket is full of ...ickly..." quickly? And I was right, but it was "The bucket was filled up quickly." I demanded to know what that bucket was full of, so they told me what I'd missed. :)

    Most of those sentences have so much context you don't have to hear more than half to get all of it. I proved that in the pre-CI days. I could score 60% on HINT and only 5% on CNC words.

    I'm glad they found a harder test for you. Hope it helped!

  2. @Sara-- I'm in that place right now-- scoring 0 and 4% in random words, but scoring too well on the HINT test to qualify. (My left ear was 3% too good!) It's so frustrating because it's so obvious I would hear better with a CI! But they have their standards.

    @ PinkLam-- An independent medical review should help. It's hard for a school to discount medical assessments and how this impacts your education. I should point out that the OCR does not charge for their legal advice. Normally what they do is try to persuade the school to accommodate by educating staff about the ADA. Many people think if they make a complaint they will end up in an expensive court case, but the OCR doesn't do that. I'm glad you have found some support and info through the AGB Assoc. :-)

  3. Sara- I can definitely relate :) If you're ever given this test, you will know it. My audiologist warned me that the sentences were so crazy, it's nearly impossible to guess. I wish I could remember some of them. I'm sure whoever recorded the sentences was one of those off-the-wall creative types :P

    Kim- How high was your speech understanding? Various centers have various requirements to be implanted. I had sentence recognition (in quiet, w/ aids) in the 80s and 90s. My center believed the FDA qualifications were extremely outdated, because they found people who had residual hearing were getting so much more benefit from CIs. They saw how bad my audiogram was in the higher frequences, and just required that I scored below 50% on single words in the ear to be implanted. My surgeon, by the way, is very well respected and well known. I'm very glad they gave me the opportunity to get my implants. It was definitely worth it for me, even though I was a borderline candidate. So, if you truly want a CI, I would encourage you to seek a second opinion! Feel free to email me privately if you'd like (whether about the school thing or the CI thing!)

  4. Hello,

    There may be an additional lever available to you. I have read that whoever receives federal funds (which includes almost *every* school district, even in Texas) signs a non-discrimination agreement. I saw a note in one of the other DV blogs about someone who went to the school district to ask about some accommodation. They went with a motion already written out to send to a judge to ask the judge to issue an injunction to keep the district from receiving federal money, and a motion to make the injunction permanent.

    I have been trying (failing) to find the note. It was in one of the adult D/HoH bloggers on DV. It was a blogger who has shown up in the past week, but a posting in the older files. I think it was a posting by the blogger, but it could have been one of the commenters.

    Maybe you can be more successful than I at finding the reference.


  5. Hi David,
    Thanks for your help and the comment. Do you think I would be able to try this with the current situation I'm now in (see post I just wrote)? Do you happen to remember who the blogger was who wrote what you are talking about?

    Thanks again :)

  6. Hello,

    Sorry to report that I have been looking for that earlier blog account, but so far I have not been able to find it. I thought that it would be easy to find so I did not bookmark it. I surely will if I find it again.


  7. Hi David,
    I appreciate you trying. Hopefully, if enough people read my blog, someone will have seen the blog you've spoken of and be able to lead us in the right direction.


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