Middle School Years with an FM System
Updated: May 15, 2020
Let me just start by saying - the only reason I am able to write this is because I'm practically out of my teen years, 19 years old and I'm a college kid who is willing to look back and admit that I was the most stubborn kid you'd of met during my middle school years. At least in regards to using my FM System, but likely in regards to every other second of each day too! So know that I can say this now, but if middle school me read what I'm about to say - I'd spend all my time denying it. And I truly mean all of my time.
I started using an FM system in Pre-K as soon as I had transitioned to a mainstreamed school. I used my FM system all of elementary school with no resistance. Looking back, I was so eager and willing to use my FM system... I was never without it! That changed once I entered middle school. I suddenly began to refuse having anything to do with my FM. I had the instincts of hiding my FM system. Seventh grade is when I stopped using my FM, willingly at least.
However, eighth grade year something changed. I had gotten a new FM system, and at first it didn't matter to me that it was a new system. I still didn't care. My new FM was the Roger Pen!! And this was my ultimate game changer. I played basketball in eighth grade and my coach was the one who showed me how to love my FM system. Playing games on the basketball court with all the noise became increasingly difficult as I couldn't hear what plays our coach was yelling out to us. After a few games, my coach would wear the Roger Pen on a lanyard and all I needed was my cochlear implant with the Roger boot attached. My coach would then speak at a normal volume into the Roger Pen and tell me what play to do next, I would then tell my teammates on the court with me what the next play was! The coach no longer needed to yell the play for the who gym to hear - he loved it, I thought it was fun, and my teammates had fun with it too! My FM system became something fun for me! And that was the first time my FM had ever been used in a fun way.
After this moment, I started to experiment with my Roger Pen. I realized that I could stream music and videos and TV shows through Roger! I found some more fun with my Roger Pen; something that was for me. I slowly started using my Roger Pen in classes again, and at first I was clever with it. I'd hide it inside the binder rings of my binder so it wasn't so visible to my classmates. Or I'd blend it in with the pens and pencils on my desk from my pencil case. I took small steps and built my way up from there - I had to find out for myself why and how to like my FM system again.
Like much of everything else at this age, mom says I have to so I'm not going to. Mom says I can't/shouldn't do that? Well, then I'm going to. My conclusion is to this age is summed up in one word - stubborn. Stubborn like none other! What I found is that using your Roger system, and furthermore liking it, can't be something you do because you're parents want you to or because the school needs you to. It has to be something that you want to use, and you have to find a way to be okay with it, and eventually maybe enjoy it!
One last thing I will say about these middle school years is that using the Roger Pen, then the Roger Select during middle school and high school really helped me to gain the independence I needed during these years. With these systems my teachers never formally wore the FM on a lanyard, I controlled everything on my own from my desk. I didn't need to rely on someone else anymore. I didn't need to go up to my teacher to fix the microphone positioning or whatnot. I didn't need to collect and hand off the FM to every teacher I had, which took away from my social time during passing periods. I had total control with a system that gave me more independence. Nothing was forced, things were on my terms, and I was able to figure out for myself the benefit of using an FM.
There's really nothing you can say to a middle school kid to get them to magically use the FM system that they want nothing to do with. I have no magic words for you, I don't. But to get these teens to use their FM system again, you need to let them and even help them (if they will let you) find a way to love and have fun with their FM. Show them how to stream music, videos, shows, show them that there are fun ways to use what has always been an education tool for them.