"I walked around my house like a stranger between four walls," recalled Sandi P. remembering feeling overwhelmed by the unknown with her youngest son, Evan.
For three years, the family struggled through multiple misdiagnoses for Evan. "We pretty much muddled through the next three years. Evan wouldn't talk, and he was always so angry," remembered Sandi.
When he was three years old, Evan was properly diagnosed with an auditory processing disorder. The family learned that Evan could only hear sounds as loud as 50 decibels. The human voice is only 30 decibels. "He had never even heard our voices! It wasn't just a matter of learning how to speak, he was missing sounds of the whole world around him," stated Sandi.
Despite having a diagnosis, Sandi and her family still struggled with how to help Evan. "I felt like I was a fish out of water. Sadly enough, your practitioners and therapists don't always have the answers for you," said Sandi recalling the hundreds of questions she had about Evan after his diagnosis.
When they didn't qualify for state financial assistance for Evan, the family turned to About Special Kids (ASK). "I called ASK and said ‘I need help and I don't know what to do.' My parent liaison totally got it," recalled Sandi about her initial contact with ASK. Sandi spoke with a Parent Liaison, who could answer questions about hearing impairment in-depth. The Parent Liaison also had a child with a hearing impairment.
"She has been a godsend…she's given me countless resources on hearing impairment," stated Sandi. "I trust her, but I've never even met her."
The Parent Liaison helped the family contact the Lion's Club for financial assistance in obtaining an FM (frequency modulation) hearing device. With the help of the Lion's Club, Evan received his personal hearing device and can now hear the voices of his family.
"I will ever forget the look on Evan's face when he heard the birds in the backyard. At one point he stopped and started looking around strangely. We had no idea what he was hearing and then he looked straight up in the sky and started running….he had heard a plane and was running to chase it. To this very day, I don't know how Evan didn't end up in traction, or at the very least a neck brace by the end of the day. He chased every bird and plane he could see…and hear!" Sandi recalled.
"I would say that ASK is probably the most brilliant, untapped resource in Indiana," reflected Sandi. "I literally was overwhelmed with the unknown. There's no worse feeling in the world for a parent than not to know. Once I had that resource [ASK], I never cried again. I never cried of not knowing. With ASK I've always felt, from the very first phone call, that their people are here to help because they've ‘been there' and they care."