Expectations – Set the bar a little higher and feel the victory

When my girls were growing up, I set high expectation standards for them. I expected and was rewarded with straight A’s all through school and onto college degrees with honors.  I expected the same for my husband and myself during our academic endeavors.

When Rose was two she wasn’t talking. She made sounds which I interpreted her needs. On a visit from my mom. I grew alarmed and began making the doctor circuits. I was told she had Autistic Tendencies, was, mildly retarded, needed behavior correction, or she was socially shy and would grow out of it. I was an over-wrought parent,  overprotective parent, had hysteria,  or was seeking attention through my child. It wasn’t until Rose turned four years old that a doctor finally said the magic words, ‘your child is “hearing impaired and language delayed,” as indicated by the results of failing all the hearing exams through the last two years.

Rose had Acute and Chronic Otitis Media (inner ear infection). It hindered her ability to hear. To describe the ability he said to turn on a vacuum cleaner and yell- and only be able to hear a muffled sound. That was what my baby girl was experiencing every day 24/7.

We heard of a new pilot program for children who were deaf or hearing impaired and had no way of communicating.  I quit my job as a Realtor Property Manager in order to get into the school district that was offering the program.  Rose entered in Kindergarten making one-word sentences, “maaa” and “daaa” it was a blessing that she had the prefix correct. It meant that she was hearing somewhat.

We started a regimen of exercises with a photo book of mom and dad, sister, and items with the names phonetically & correctly spelled underneath. I was showed sign language to use when pointing and saying the words to her. I learned to touch my face at my mouth and make eye contact with Rose when talking so she could read my lips. I created a workbook of common words with pictures and labeled things at home. She was learning how to read and say the alphabet. I programmed a computer in Basic and saved the data to a cassette player so Rose could go through speech class by herself.

Rose was still in Red when the program ended that school year because they lost their budget. Insufficient progress overall. But they worked a miracle in our lives- they gave language to my little girl. So we found a mobile home and move into a new district. Rose enters Transitional First grade. Her hearing was improving with fewer infections and new medications when she would get an infection.

My first IEP Individualized Educational Plan. I was like a zombie as the teachers spoke over me about Roses condition and treatment plan. I outlined what we had been through and what the pilot program had offered to us. Rose was highly intelligent on her academic scores and intelligence tests; she was just having difficulty expressing herself.  Meanwhile, her baby sister is 18 months old when school finishes. She doesn’t have any hearing issues and her speech is impeccable due to Rose’s home instruction. We decide to relocate to Bethany, Oklahoma. Rose enters first grade. Her hearing gradually got better and speech therapy at a county extensions office begins in earnest along with psychiatric counseling to make sure her frustration level was monitored.

I became a Missionettes Daisy leader and a Camp Fire Girls of America Leader. I also attended SNU college full time and filled in on Sunday mornings as a teacher.  I continued working with Rose on speech. She was a good kid. She never complained about her lot in life- she worked hard at communicating. Finally, at age 8 yr’s she was healed! No more ear infections. She could hear clear as a bell with no damage what so ever. Her Estraitsion tubes had been under-developed at birth and she had a submucous cleft palate in the third quadrant. Those combined kept the fluids from running down and exiting the body as it should and turned into infections.

We move to Yukon, Ok when Rose enters the fourth grade. Fast forward to the end of 6th grade. The school decides that Rose is about as good as she’ll ever be in speech, so they dismiss the IEP, against my wishes.  Rose talks extremely fast but concise- it’s like she is making up for lost time.  Her sister is four years younger and in second grade at this time.

Expectations; Kassidey & Rose are extremely intelligent, Kassidey is labeled Gifted and Rose is labeled Talented in school. The big difference between being gifted and talented is that talented people have to work their butts off to keep their excellence in grades. There was a friend for a season named  Mittie. Mitte was jealous at my girls “A”  status. Her kids brought home “C & D.s”. I could never get her to understand that if my children we capable of “C” level work then I would push them to be a solid “C” level and question what I could do differently to help them make the “D’s” into “C’s” and I would be just as proud of them as if they were “A” students. The parents have to set the bar just a little higher for their children to recognize opportunities for success and feel the victory.

Kassidey was in 9th grade when she discovered that not all children went to college after high school. It was the expectation in our household that one would achieve a Bachelor’s Degree. It was a shock to her and I remember in passing her mentioning it. It was difficult to explain that some people do not have the talent to do academics. That there were trades schools that would offer them a career choice.  It didn’t mean that everyone else was stupid because they didn’t go to college, but they just needed a better fit than what college had to offer them. Both my girls went on to earn a Master’s Degree for themselves. I could never be more proud of their achievements.





Published by Kat Challis

Kathy Ann (Hughes) Challis Married in 1977 to Robert Challis-Oklahoma - still together Two daughters ages 44y and 40y and six beautiful grandchildren. Live in Texas. I love GOD and live life to its fullest. I am blessed beyond measure. I have family pets that give me a sense of devotion. Writing this blog has been an adventure of internal growth and I hope of interest to you.

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