February 24, 2012

An Encounter from Down Under

My kids have been out of school all week (our school district always takes off the week of President's Day) and I've been busy trying to keep a balance between entertaining them and also having some relaxing downtime. It's been a nice break overall, although I have to admit I'm ready for school to start again on Monday.

Yesterday I took the kids to Legoland. We go often, as we have season passes and it's not too far away. We've hit a sweet spot in the kids' development where A is finally tall enough to go on most of the rides, including the roller coasters, and D is finally tall enough to be able to sit by himself without an adult next to him. Before, we'd have to go as a family, but since A can go on the rides with D, and D can sit by himself, I'm now able to take them by myself.

I decided to go on a ride that we've never been on before, which was some sort of logjammer ride (where you sit in a log-shaped boat and go up a hill..and then down into some water, getting splashed along the way). When A had her tracheostomy, I would have never even considered such a ride, as I wouldn't want water to get in her breathing tube, but now that the tube is out and the hole is closed water rides are fair game. Amazingly, D had never been on the ride either, so we were all looking forward to it.

As we walked over to get in line, A told me, "I need to take out my hearing aids". I couldn't believe it! Of course, I would have taken them off---at around $3000 each, you'd better believe I'm taking them off whenever there is a possibility of her getting wet--but SHE mentioned it to me FIRST! I had no idea that she had such self-awareness about the hearing aids, that she now knows that they must be kept dry. My little girl is growing up! As we walked over, I took off the aids and put them safely in my tote bag.

We got in line.

Another family got in line right behind us, a family consisting of a mom, a dad, and two adorable little boys. Both boys were were wearing hearing aids! I couldn't believe it. We rarely see kids with hearing aids. Glasses, yes---but hearing aids are much rarer. And here were TWO kids wearing them! I had to say something, so I told the mom that my daughter also wears aids.

That got us into a conversation that lasted the whole 30 minutes or so that we were waiting in line. It turned out that this family was visiting from Australia. Both of her boys (who were roughly my kids' ages) have hearing loss due to a rare metabolic disorder. They were so nice and it was great to hear about how things are done Down Under. I learned that:
  • In Australia hearing aids are covered by the government 100%. (Here in the United States they aren't covered by most insurances. At all.)
  • Not only are hearing aids 100% covered, but they are replaced with NEW hearing aids every 3 years.
  • The Australian sign language, (called Auslan) is very, very different than American Sign Language (ASL). Out of 26 letters, only 1 letter (C) is finger spelled the same.

D hit it off with their older son, and they ended up sharing the log together during the ride. I got their email address, and hope to keep in touch. It just goes to show that you never know who you might meet. We've been to Legoland a gazillion times and have never even thought about going on that ride until yesterday. What were the chances that the one time we do, a family with two kids with hearing loss would be right behind us?


  1. I suspect there really ARE no coincidences. This is such a neat story. So nice for you and for them... and a fun ride, too.

  2. Sucha small world!! I hope y'all keeping touch..who knows where it will lead!

  3. Awww, what a sweet story. That is so great that A reminded you about her hearing aids! Appreciating those little things make you the great mom you are. It makes me wonder if I would have stopped and appreciated that moment if it were me.
    That's interesting too that their sign language is completely different.. we speak the same language as them, why would we sign the same language?


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