Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Slow, Steady Progress

When you have a child with hearing loss, you learn very quickly that it is important to focus on meaningful sound.  The idea is to minimize background sound so that the child can focus on sounds that will give them access to language and communication.  Some changes that we have made to help Emma focus on meaningful sound is to turn the TV off unless we are watching TV as our activity (such as viewing Signing Times! videos, which are amazing by the way!) and to follow an Auditory Verbal (AV) approach to help Emma progress with her cochlear implant.

The AV approach has us narrate our day and talk, talk, talk to Emma.  Julia loves to help by singing songs like Old McDonald and The Wheels on the Bus to Emma and will even do Itsy Bitsy Spider with her since she knows it is one of Emma's favorites.  Emma has been taking all of this talking in since her CI was activated 4 months ago  and what I've noticed lately is that the background is getting filled with Emma's sounds more and more.  She joins in for the songs with her own rendition and talks and laughs a lot when Julia entertains her.  

There is a video clip below of Emma making the "aaahhhh" sound during one of my home AV sessions with her in February.  I don't have a more recent video downloaded and posted on YouTube, but since the video in February she has progressed so much and has even started to copy our sounds such as "moo" for the cow and "whoop" for the giraffe.  This takes a fair bit of effort for Emma to get the motor planning together enough to make the sound, but she is getting more and more successful at having the sound come out instead of only having her mouth make the shape of the sound.  What an accomplishment! How far she has come since her hearing aid days..... 

Emma first received her hearing aids when she was 3 months old.  I remember that day so well!  I was so excited to have her start to hear and took the next day off of work so that I could work with her by introducing sound.  I planned to talk to her and show her that a lot of her toys have sounds and let her explore them.  Boy, was I in for a BIG surprise.  What Emma could have heard that day was me doing a lot of talking, along with me saying a lot of words I didn't want her to learn!  Her ear molds were so small for her ears that I was constantly working to minimize the feedback that was "whistling" at me all day long.  We eventually had a routine down where we replaced her ear molds every few weeks as her ears grew, and minimized the feedback as much as possible but Emma never seemed to get much benefit from the hearing aids.  However, we put them in her ears every day in case she received any benefit no matter how small....including getting used to having something on her ears. 

Fast forward to today where we are working to have her other ear implanted.  Our hope is to have her left ear implanted before the fall.  We meet with the doctors in early May to discuss this with them.  What an exciting year!

1 Comments from readers:

Here It Comes said...

You know, I never had a problem with narrating my day....maybe that is because I never stop talking!