Today is February 13th 2004. Well I guess I should start with a little history of Indiana and his behavior up until the day we found out he was deaf. As a baby, there were no indications whatsoever. One day, the front door slammed and Indi jumped a mile. I remember my mum saying to me; “there’s nothing wrong with his hearing”. He passed the 8 month standard hearing test, and I thought nothing of it. Of course he passed. There is no deafness in our family history. Now that I know, the one thing I look back on is that he rarely turned when we called his name. But I justified this by thinking he hadn’t learned his name yet. His physical developments were advanced. He walked at 10 months. He was climbing the couches by 12 months. He was throwing and catching by 15 months and feeding himself easily. Everything seemed in order.
It was between 12 and 15 months Indi’s behavior became very challenging. He seemed to never listen to us. We were trying to teach him right from wrong. We gave him plenty of positive attention when he was well behaved. But this was becoming less and less of the time. At 15 months I made an appointment to see my local maternal health nurse. Everything I told her about his behavior seemed to be classed as normal for that age. She gave me about 6 information sheets to read about challenging behaviour. For example – “Difficult Mealtimes”, “Time Out”, and “Behavioral techniques”. We began putting Indiana into time-out at 15 months. We felt uncomfortable doing it. It made virtually no impact on his behavior. Sometimes it became worse with a lot of aggression. I started feeling very down on myself, thinking I was a bad mother because his behavior was so “full on” and, at times, uncontrollable. I felt like I was trying really hard, and getting nowhere. I didn’t understand why. I was an educated mother; I did not spoil my child and did not give in to his every demand. He ate healthy food, he slept well, and he had loving parents from a stable background.
I decided to get another hearing test for him. I don’t know exactly why I came to that decision; I knew he could actually hear me. I think I just wanted to rule out “something”. He passed it. He wasn’t exactly focused on the situation, easily distracted. But the audiologist seemed to think he could hear the noise, but would only turn his head “in his own good time”. You see, he didn’t turn his head instantly to the noise, but only after a little bit of time passed, so she thought he could hear it, but was too focused on playing the game in front of him to turn instantly. This was November 15th 2002. Indi was 21 months old. His behavior steadily got worse. Occasionally he would respond well to something and I would think he was turning the corner. Like the time his communication seemed to suddenly improve. Somehow he appeared to understand and talk to us more. This helped both him and us. It was like the penny dropped, and he began to understand things, like consequences. He would go to do something wrong, and stop himself because he knew he would be sent to time out if he continued. Previously, he didn’t seem to care about any consequence or warnings. In hindsight, I think I started communicating to him on a different level - unconsciously. I think that somehow I knew - if I needed to talk to Indi and get his attention, I had to kneel down to his level, and talk close to his face. I didn’t register what I was doing, or why I was doing it. I guess it was some sort of maternal instinct.