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Does This Test Score Go On My Permanent Transcript?

Maddie and Cora went for their well-child
visits yesterday, and everything went fairly well.

With one scary exception.

Maddie breezed through her weigh-in, measuring, and vision test.
Then they moved to the hearing test. “Raise your hand when
you hear the beep, ok, hon?” the nurse said, singing the
‘beep’. Maddie nodded. She raised her hand once. And
only once. “Raise it every time, ok, hon?” the nurse
prompted. Maddie nodded. And the hand stayed down.

The nurse re-did the test, with no more luck. Then she said,
“You know, it’s crowded and noisy here, so let’s
move into a private room to re-take this test.” We all
shuffled into a room and Maddie started again. Same results. One
hand raise, and nothing else except nervous looks from Maddie.

“You know, this machine is saying
it’s got a low battery. Let me go change it and we’ll
try it again,” the nurse said, trying to look casual. She
came back, and administered the test for the fourth time.

Still no improvement.

“I’m going to have the specialist come in to do the
test,” the nurse said finally. “She may see a
funny-shaped eardrum or something I’m missing when I aim the
test in the ear. Don’t worry,” she said with false
reassurement, “I’m sure it’s nothing. We’re
not going to worry yet.”

I looked at her and smiled as I ran my head through the past
several months with Maddie. Any hearing issues? Any warning signs I
missed? My heart of hearts couldn’t find anything, so I
decided it was their problem, not mine. I knew my girl could hear.

A few minutes later, the specialist came in and smiled at Maddie.
“Hey, there, young lady! Let’s get this hearing test
over with, shall we?” She gets situated, and away they go.

Same results.

“Listen, sometimes the raising of your hand can be
confusing,” the specialist smiled. “Every time you hear
the beep – EVERY time – you just say
‘BEEP’! Ok?” Maddie nodded, now sensing she
should be alarmed.

They began the hearing test – which Maddie had now flunked
FIVE times – and in spite of my gut, I started to worry. I
stared closely at Maddie as it started, and she tentatively said,
“Beep!” almost right away. And then she was silent. But
when I looked closer, I could see her mouth starting to move
silently a few times, and then I realized what was going on.

“Excuse me, can I say something to Maddie?” I
interrupted the test. “Maddie,” I said gently,
“you can say ‘beep’ every time you even THINK you
hear the sound – even if you’re not sure. It might be
quiet, or a different pitch like when you sing a song. If you even
THINK you hear it, you can sing out, ok? Don’t worry –
there’s no wrong answer here.”

I saw the relief wash across her face and she nodded. They started
the test again, and she started singing out, “BEEP! Beep!
Beep! BEEP!” Sometimes quiet, sometimes loud, sometimes low,
sometimes high.

When I saw her lips move, I knew she wasn’t
“beep”ing because she was afraid of being wrong –
afraid of giving the wrong answer. Perhaps it was that the nurse
sang it on a certain pitch, and Maddie thought she should only
raise her hand if she heard that same pitch. Perhaps it was that it
was so quiet she wasn’t sure, and didn’t want to be
wrong. Whatever it was, when I gave her permission and she stopped
censoring herself, the test was over in twenty seconds.

And she’s about to enter academic life this fall.


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