Sunday, May 22, 2011

Cochlear Implant Picnic

We went as a family to Chapel Hill on Saturday for their annual Cochlear Implant Picnic. It was a great time to meet up with new friends, audiologist, doctors, etc. The kids enjoyed the food, music and entertainment and we had a great time!

our family with Dr. Buchman - Natalie's surgeon

with "Ramsey" the mascot

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Here is Natalie saying her first words:

Saturday, May 14, 2011

First Words

Natalie said her FIRST WORD today! "MAMA" --- thatta girl! She has been saying "mmm" and "aah" for awhile now. Then the last few weeks I could hear her saying "ma"at times and I knew she was getting close. Today we were skyping with Nana and sure enough, she said "mama" several times. It was pretty awesome! It is the start of something beautiful that I had taken for granted with my other kids,  and that is normal speech and language. It is not until you don't have something that you realize how important it is. Both of my other kids were starting to talk very well at 16 months. Natalie is just 2 months shy of that and although will be well behind what they were at that age, I think she is doing very well considering only hearing for 3 1/2 months.

She continues to make great progress. I am amazed at her every day. She was born profoundly deaf and so for 10+ months everything was just silence for her and there was so much she missed out on.  And although it has only been 3 1/2 months of hearing, it feels like she has had her cochlear implants for a very long time. 

AND, of that past 3+ months of hearing, I have to also realize how many hours that really is. So, she has been hearing for 110 days, and factoring in all her sleep: bedtime 7 pm - 7 am, 2 naps a day that are 2 hours each, she is really only awake for 8 hours a day. Plus, any time we are running errands in the car, she typically will take off her processors at some point. But I would say on average she is listening for a good 8 hours each day. Look how far she has come! So once she drops that morning nap and starts having less sleep each day, she will make even greater strides.

Auditory-Verbal Therapy with her teacher Jenni

We try to get in a lot of books with Natalie. The goal is 10 books a day which we are pretty good at. most of the time. She loves to flip through books and seems to really enjoy them. I have been trying to teach her the elephant sound when we flip to pictures of elephants. I think just doing this repetitively for several weeks she caught on very fast. When we come to the page, I just make and elephant sound and lift my arm in the air like an elephant would do with its trunk. This video isn't the best of her doing this but glad I got it on camera.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Thatta Girl

Natalie has taken a few steps off and on over the past few weeks.
She decided to surprise me the other day and walk across the living room, several times.
She seems to understand what "Walk Walk" means now as well.
She is learning so many new things, just need to get it on camera.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Another Audiogram

Natalie had another audiology appointment a few weeks ago. This was our 7th trip to Chapel Hill since the beginning of the year. That many trips was taking a toll on me. It was really hard arranging child care, packing, the long drive and day, not to mention having 1 whole day taken from your week puts you behind. But, we are so thankful we chose to go up there (and not staying in Charlotte for all of this) and all the wonderful people we work with each visit. It is definitely worth it. Now our visits are getting more spread out and we will go back in June. I hope that she is saying some words by then. A girl can dream right?

This was Natalie's 3rd audiogram since we activated her in January. Both previous times we tested just the left ear, this visit we just tested the right ear. I thought she caught on a lot better to the testing. We sit in a sound booth and anytime a different sound/pitch is made, Natalie should turn and look at the animals and lights if she hears the sound. Since she is so young, sometimes it takes a few times for her to learn how to do this. Otherwise, the audiologists will watch her eye movement for responses as well. Next visit we will test both ears hopefully if she allows it.

She is definitely hearing and in the "speech banana". I am noticing a lot more babbling and know that her first words are just around the corner. I was really hoping for Mother's Day she would say "mama" ... and she was really close. 

Her last AVT appointment, she seemed to be progressing very well. When we were doing the cow sounds, you could kind of make out the "moo" that she was really trying to get out. 

3rd Audiogram

She loves playing with her siblings and I think she is learning so much from them every day.

We have met a new friend through a friend. Elizabeth has had a cochlear implant on her right ear since she was 4 and has had it for 22 years. She was one of the first kids to have received them during that time. She is doing really well and has really loved getting to know Natalie. It has been great to talk with her about what is was like growing up and seeing all the differences and similarities with everything.
Elizabeth and Natalie

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