Most people look at me funny when I tell them that my son’s hearing loss diagnosis was the best thing that ever happened to us. Typical responses when I talk about my son’s hearing loss range from, “Poor guy, that’s terrible,” to “That’s so sad.” Very few say, “Wow, you must have been so relieved.” The ones who do are most likely parents of special needs children who have gone through their own diagnoses. They understand the calm that is in the center of a diagnosis.
As parents we are programmed to action. We want to take away our child’s hurt, to make everything better. The road to my son’s diagnosis had been frustrating. We were repeatedly told by people with medical degrees that he was fine; that he was simply a late talker. He was a boy and a second child at that. There was no need to worry about his delayed speech it would come when he was ready. When our audiologist told us that our three year old son would need hearing aids and intensive speech therapy, we finally had something to hang onto as parents.
Not to say that his diagnosis wasn’t emotional. Of course my husband and I cried. Our minds focused on of all sorts of worst case scenario moments about what this new reality meant. I went into my son’s hearing test thinking we would receive a referral to a speech-language therapist, and within a few sessions my son would be talking. Oh how naive we were…
But I also look back at his diagnosis as a celebratory moment in the life of my family. The diagnosis gave us something concrete to deal with and brought an overwhelming sense of relief. It brought specialists into our lives and the support my son needed. Someone had finally stood up and named the obvious, that my son’s speech and communication skills were severely delayed and that something was not quite “right.”
The diagnosis brought us a way to move forward.