Sunday, July 24, 2011

First Airplane Trip

We are headed on our first airplane trip with Natalie cross-country to visit family. I am hoping going through security will be non-stressful and hopefully we won't have any problems with the processors and back-ups. I have packed all our gear, and it will all be coming carry-on as we don't want our luggage lost. 

So, now just to entertain this little lady (and the other 2 kids) on 2 different flights going through 2 different time zones. More updates to come later...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Trip down memory lane...

So, for those of you that read this blog and didn't know Natalie pre-cochlear implants, we were in the same boat as many of you.

Just a rundown of a few things:

1. Natalie did not pass her newborn hearing test, 6 weeks later she was retested with a sleeping (non-sedative) ABR test. That is when we found out her hearing loss was severe/profound.

2. The following week, we met with a group called New Beginnings that gave us all the information we needed to proceed with Natalie's hearing loss. We had an early intervention teacher assigned to us for weekly 1 hour appointments that started when Natalie was around 2 months old. Thankfully she just comes to our house for this, which made it so much easier than driving to those appointments.

3. By 3 months, Natalie had a sedated MRI, saw 2 different ENT's, genetic testing, saw an optholmologist, EKG done (just ruling out anything else) had a 2nd ABR test done, and was fitted for hearing aids. That is a lot of appointments, lots of running around, lots to process in 6 short weeks.

4. 3-9 months was filled with: about monthly audiology visits, new ear mold impressions made, booth testing, and everything preparatory to getting her cochlear implants in January. The only thing that was a little hiccup along the way, was the need for ear tubes due to fluid in the ear (which would prevent her from getting her CI surgery) so those were done 4 weeks before her surgery.

Natalie wore this cap off and on to help keep her hearing aids on.

her little hearing aids...

Natalie around 5 1/2 months with Jenni her AVT teacher

This was around 7-8 months, so just a few months shy of hearing.

and now a walking, talking toddler... "the rest is still unwritten"

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The 4th of July

I almost get a little teary eyed thinking about what a difference cochlear implants have made in our life.

We went to a 4th of July parade and of course we ALL (including Natalie) heard the loud sirens from the fire engines, police cars, etc. A year ago that wasn't even possible. I was reminiscing about that while the trucks were driving past us and the siren was so loud, I wanted to cover my ears and thinking how loud they were. And to think a year ago, that loud of a siren and still Natalie could not hear it. Amazing.

Let Freedom Ring

me and Nat at the parade

Of course I am thankful for Graeme Clark who helped develop the cochlear implant and for making hearing possible for thousands and thousands of people. 

5 months Hearing

Natalie continues to incorporate more sounds into her language. She is doing several new cute things besides being cute of course...

1. If I say "cheers", (normally at kitchen table) - she will grab her sippy cup and raise it up for me to hit with my glass.

2. If we say "stretch", she 75% of the time will reach both of her arms into the air. 

3. We have been working on some music and songs lately. She is trying to figure out the whole dance thing, but is more interested in watching what the rest of us do. There is a few songs, where she has been able to pick out the actions we have been learing (from the song rock-a-bye bear - The Wiggles). If she hears it or I sing it to her, she has been able to put at least one of the appropriate actions at the right time.

4. And, something new today I wanted to try out. Natalie loves books and we try to read a lot to her. I know there are a few that are ones she loves or has heard many times, so I put a few books out in her room today and just recited the words to a few of them, and she was able to correctly identify the book by what I was saying and pick it up and bring it to me without any help. (you will be thrilled Jenni!) A couple of the ones she grabbed were: Barnyard Dance and Brown Bear, Brown Bear (which seems to be one she really really loves.)

We went up for another audiology visit late June. Our AV therapist thought she maybe wasn't responding as well to the higher frequency LING sounds "sh" and "s" like we had noted previously, so based on her audiogram, her mapping changed a little and I think she is hearing better with those higher frequency sounds. We will follow up again in August and meet with our ENT for a 6 month post-op check as well. 

She can produce the following consonants (h,p,d,n,b,m,w) and vowels (uh, ah, a, ai, ee, oh). In fact today, she was saying "oh"quite a bit in long drawn out sounds. I am hearing that coming through more and more.

Our AV therapist is off in July and we are on vacation part of August, so I am hoping that we can continue to make good progress despite not having our weekly sessions. She gave me lots of things to work on too. Wish we had an ipad for therapy at times. Our AV therapist Jenni introduced it in one of our appointments and it would be so nice for helping her learn and comprehend things better. You could pretty much have any photo or visual in iphoto on the ipad and go through pictures and identify things easily. 

Here is the latest audiogram... she was up to the 20-25 decibel level on the 1000 frequency. I love seeing those numbers.

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