Yesterday I took Jorge to the doctor. When he was 18 months old, a case of meningitis took away his ability to hear. Now, Jorge is 13 and he has NEVER been to an audiologist or had an evaluation to see his level of hearing loss. Unbelievable for our culture, but fairly common here. Last year, I wrote about trying to get Jorge into a special school for the deaf. After one week in school, to my utter disappointment, he dropped out because it was far from home and he missed his family.
Tomorrow we are traveling to our state's capital to do an audiogram with the specialist. Thanks to special funds from Children of Promise, we will be able to know if Jorge will benefit from a hearing aid.
Jorge was so excited about our doctor's visit yesterday he asked his mom, in their informal sign language, if he was going to hear again.
"We'll see," she replied.
The doctor told us that since it had been so long after the illness that they are treating the child, the possibility for him to speak is slim. He told them that Jorge needs to learn ASL and that he needs to go back to the school for the deaf. Jorge's mom didn't like what she heard.
My heart breaks for this boy. He needed care long ago, but his parents didn't know how to go about seeking help and they had no funds for testing and therapy. There are no special schools for children like Jorge in our area and the sacrifice of sending their eldest to a boarding school far away is too much for them to handle.
There are no easy answers for Jorge. I see his future as very hopeless without education and therapy, and quite honestly I see their fear and ignorance as unhealthy obstacles to their son's healing and growth. I get easily frustrated with the fatalistic mentality of Paraguayans. They don't fight for solutions to their problems because the road might be difficult or costly. I need wisdom to know how far I should go to help Jorge, and still respect his parent's wishes for him.
Would you pray for us as we do the testing and work out our next steps for Jorge.
I'll let you know how the testing goes tomorrow.