Saturday, July 31, 2010

Maisy - Mary Grace - MG

Let me tell you a little bit about Maisy and me. Maisy was born in China and adopted by her family in Indianapolis before she turned three years old. After getting to the U.S. it was confirmed that she had a mixed conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. As a result she wore a bone conduction hearing aid. Around the same time, St. Joseph Institute for the Deaf was about to open a satellite preschool in Indianapolis. I was the first speech-language pathologist, Janet was the first teacher, and Maisy was there the first day we opened. She was one of two or three students we had that day.

I remember asking her mom if she had any words. She told me she could say "good girl". So I thought, oh good she is talking a bit, she has some words. Maisy didn't say anything the first day except "good girl". I didn't think anything of it since it was only first day and she was just getting to know us. The second day she went into the little kids bathroom in the dark. I said, "turn on the light". She didn't do anything. Hmmmm. "Maisy, turn on the light." She looked up at me and said, "good girl". OHHHH... her mom failed to specify that was ALL she could do/say. She wasn't able to follow that simple command.

I spent at least two years working with Maisy on a daily basis either in her classroom in tandem with her teacher (Janet) or in pull out therapy sessions. She did so well and made expedient progress. So much so that we mainstreamed her into a regular classroom pretty quickly. I visited her classroom once a week to help with the transition. We really missed her when she left, she had become like a daughter to us and her family became our extended family.

Life changed for the family several years ago. Her mom was offered a position with her company in Singapore. The whole family moved and I had heard somehow that Maisy made a comment that finally they were going to live somewhere everyone looked like her and not the rest of the family! LOL!

Flash forward to last night. I have to say thank you to Facebook. The family has since moved to the Philippines with another promotion for her mom (congrats!) and they were going to be taking a short vacation in Saigon for a few days on their way to Cambodia! I was able to work it out to meet them for dinner in the city!!!

Not sure I can explain the feeling of when I saw them. Tears were coming out of my eyes (and I don't cry that often). It was overwhelming because I haven't seen them in so long and then to see them on the other side of the world from Indianapolis while I'm here working on this project for children with hearing loss. I spent countless hours working with Maisy, she really was a huge part of my life plus not to mention becoming friends with her whole family. Plus I have been away from home for three weeks now and it was so nice to see a face from home.

I'm happy to report the whole family is doing really well and they are enjoying their time in Asia! Her dad has started his own company that is growing quickly and he is traveling now all over Asia for his work. They have traveled all around now as a family and the girls had so many hilarious stories to share! Maisy is 11 years old. She is a beautiful young lady. She loves school and reading. Her spoken language, listening, and speech skills are tremendous (we did good Miss Janet). She would prefer now to be called by her full name, Mary Grace; however, it doesn't seem like she can shake her nickname (and now the fam started calling her MG). She has friends at school from all over the world and she is learning Mandarin.

A long time ago, right before I moved back to Chicago from Indianapolis, our summer school did an oceans thematic unit. We planned a field trip to the aquarium in Cincinnati. Maisy was in my group. After I moved I made her a little scrapbook of pictures from that day and sent it to her in the mail. I found out last night that not only does she still have the scrapbook, she actually has it with her in the Philippines! How do I even respond to that? When sorting out what she gets to bring with her from home, she chose that scrapbook. To say that I was touched would be an understatement.

I could go on and on, but I will stop now. Seeing Maisy and her success and happiness and that of the whole family gave me so much joy.

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