Social media can be much more than a way to stay in touch with your friends. It allows you to connect with your community, keep up on news and events, and get practical advice. Randi Zuckerberg’s story is for all the naysayers in your life who think Facebook is a waste of time! It helped her figure out a key element to her son’s health.
Randi Zuckerberg, whom you might know as the New York Times bestselling author of Dot Complicated: Untangling Our Wired Lives, is also a media executive and mother of two young boys. In a recent article published in Today, Zuckerberg shared her story.
The Zuckerbergs’ first son, Asher, was a healthy baby, and Randi and Brent were model parents, watching his development carefully. When Simcha, nicknamed Simi, was born, they relaxed a little bit. Both boys were happy, lovable children, and no one saw any problems. Doubts began creeping in when Zuckerberg realized that Simi’s development seemed a bit slow.
At 20-months-old, he was still not walking or talking, so she reached out to friends on Facebook for advice. The overwhelming response was not to worry about Simi. Everyone thought he was doing great, and just needed a bit more time to catch up.
Zuckerberg believed her friends, until she saw an old Facebook post. As you know, Facebook will show you memories, or posts you’ve made several months or years ago. These old posts will pop up at the top of your newsfeed so you can share old memories with friends. This memory post was about Asher as a toddler. At 18-months-old, Asher was walking and talking just fine, and was even using full sentences! Zuckerberg realized that Simi must have fallen far behind, and it was time to take action.
They visited an audiologist, who diagnosed Simi with hearing loss caused by an ear infection as a baby. He went through surgery, and was immediately placed in speech therapy. Simi is now two years old, and is loving life! He’s learning to speak in full sentences, and is starting to walk. This is great news, since it means he’ll be able to grow and develop along with his peers.
After her son was diagnosed with hearing loss, Zuckerberg turned to social media for support. Zuckerberg dealt with feelings of guilt that she had not recognized his hearing loss earlier, and had allowed her friends to lull her fears. Worried about Simi and his development, she reached out to other moms who had experienced similar struggles, and they helped her through this difficult time.
Zuckerberg credits social media for helping her realize Simi wasn’t hearing normally. The Facebook post jolted her memory, and made all her fears come rushing back. Luckily, she caught it in time. Living with untreated hearing loss, especially as a young child, has life-long consequences. If a child doesn’t have normal hearing while they are developing and growing, their cognitive and social development will be slowed, and their brains may never function normally.
While Zuckerberg is thankful that social media helped her recognize Simi’s problem and provided social support, she gives a word of warning. Not everything you are told on social media is accurate, and sometimes you have to trust your gut.
When she first thought Simi might have a problem, she allowed her support network lull her into thinking everything was ok. She says it’s never a good idea to take chances, especially when it comes to your kids. Make sure you do your own research and trust your instincts. They’re probably right. Today, both Simi and Asher are doing great, and Simi is back on track to growing and learning normally.