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Bedazzled Aids

The past few months have been busy, filled with birthdays, holidays, and fun. Little A is now 3, and more amazing and intelligent every day. Baby R is now 15 months, and rapidly growing and learning.

In short and sweet, we decided to spice up the hearing aids. The stickers that came with the aids, well fun only lasts so long with only a few choice prints. So, getting creative, momma went shopping, found some fashion nail stickers, and got creative. I will let the pictures do all the work.

Hear in the Middle

Fashion nails stickers, multi purpose use!

Hear in the Middle

A got the blue she has been asking for.

This is just the start to a personalized and creative accessory.
How do you spice up you boring aids or other daily needed items.

First “words”

There is nothing more exciting, as a parent of a child with a hearing loss, to hear their first words. With sweet tot R, we get the amazing privilege of hearing and seeing her words as she develops language.

R has been babbling and speaking Mamma and Dadda for a few months now, but at 13 months, her oral language and ASL are growing. The utterance of the spoken language on her lips, melts my heart every time. Putting those hearing aids back in for the hundredth time in a day, not so much.

R loves our cat, and enjoys repeating “deh-yah” for our cat Bella. Bella even has a keen liking to her, much more than to big sister, A. When changing her diaper, there is a butterfly hanging above, and I would say “butterfly” orally and sometimes in ASL, to help redirect her to sit still for changes, she recently has begun to orally mimic it as  “buhbuhy” and is sweet kisses to my ears.

She was stubborn on ASL for a while, just watching the signs (of novice signer, Mommy), with a smug look on her face. Now, she is excited to sign, “ball”, “hat”, “milk”, “more”, “eat”, “water”, and “want”. Her favorite, is “hat”, she loves hats! So, if you make fun hats, I’m sure she would love to wear it.

 

We have officially begun ASL as a second language, as a family. We are very excited to begin this journey to have alternative communication with our children, and to help when there is struggle with relaying orally. I have a head start on daddy as I have had more exposure and am a tactile/hands on learner, but he will do great, and as a family, we will succeed! We can also thank Rachel Coleman of Signing Time for bringing ASL signs into our home. It is an amazing series, that we have been blessed to receive as a gift from a family member, and I cannot give enough praise on how wonderful it is as a tool for families of all children with any ability or disability. It provides opportunities for children to learn and to sign as a form of communication, with or without speech delays. It has even helped Miss A, learn all the colors of the rainbow by 2.5 years of age!

What were the first words spoken or signed by your child? So beautiful, isn’t it, until they don’t stop talking? 😉

Shop and Learn

‘A’ has always loved going shopping. Well, at least that makes one of us. 

To make our shopping trips more engaging, I created ‘A’, a visual shopping list, so she can help find items we needed. This provides the opportunity for having one-on-one time, while getting more in-tune with the shopping experience to learn about making healthy food choices.

A new dinner item was on the menu, and we were ready to go!

Along with healthy food choices, this visual is great for a variety of learning methods, pre-reading skills, visual recognition, social awareness and independence, and speech and language development.

How do your children help you with groceries?

We Start Speech Therapy

It is a mother’s job to worry right? I always worry that somewhere, something will be missed. Something will cause a roadblock for the girl’s and their ability to succeed; succeed being a very loose term in this context. Something, that, will point at me, as not succeeding as a mother. 

I am very pro-active, but I am still learning, and don’t want my lack of understanding or knowledge to get in the way of helping the girls adapt into the world around them. I wish, just for a day, I could hear in their world, to grasp their experience. I will never fully understand, but I will always try! I will always support them! I will always do everything I can, to make sure they have everything they need, from people who are trained to give them the best, outside of mommy!  

We live in a very oral world, and they need to be equip to function as best as possible. One of the support systems that is in place, is speech therapy. 

 

‘A’ had her initial speech therapy session a week ago. She has established a wonderful relationship with the speech therapist! The best part is, A never realized so much, that she was being evaluated. The speech therapist came into the home, and used A’s natural environment to communicate. Sharing a book, playing games, building with blocks – all which were throughly enjoyed! 

The results, A’s language development is above average. She has an above average vocabulary and sentence structure and most of her enunciations, were on target if not above average. So, now I know that her language development is appropriate (and even advanced) for a 2.5 year old, I can rest a bit at ease. I have always known she is advanced with her amazing knowledge and fast learning abilities, knowing things that are taught in Pre-K and Kindergarten, but I was always unsure with the speech and language, especially having a loss and not being aided until a few months ago.  

So, what is speech going to do for us. Well, thankfully they are not going to close the book! The speech therapist will continue to be engaged in A’s speech and language development and making sure that she maintains, provide feedback for her audiologist to know her hearing aids and/or level of loss are not changing, and working on volume level! 

talk with me

Why do we get so excited for those first words? It only leads to more talking, that never stops – and I mean never! Did you hear that? Yup, it was more jibber jabber.

We will focus on A, since she is older, and the one that is the most verbally communicative at the moment, and some days, I wouldn’t mind it to stay that way – she talks enough for three.

 

A bit more history: A was not diagnosed with hearing loss until she was 29 months old. At birth, she was referred at her newborn hearing exam, but she was not the most cooperative for her follow-up testing with the audiologist. The audiologist said that she seemed to be fine and to follow-up in a year. Around 14 months, we set up a follow-up appointment, scheduled at 18 months. The appointment approached, life happened, her language was developing, we decided to cancel her testing. Well, once R was born with a diagnosis at birth, we wondered if the audiologist wasn’t accurate with A, that combined with her articulation regression, we set up an appointment with R’s audiologist (someone different, phew). A had an audiological behavior test done, confirming our fear, a hearing loss. With her loss and the continued decline of her language articulation, we knew that even though it would be nice for some extra times of silence, it was not what we really thought would be best for her.

Our fabulous support workers provided us options. The more options, the more difficult the choices. There is no rulebook to the best option for MY child and I did not want to mess it up. Were we just going to use hearing aids and have a speech therapist monitor her? She had developed language, so an ASL immersion was not going to be the best option for her at the moment. We are not closed to ASL, we learn new signs every day, and it actually has been a blessing for the moments I cannot understand the jargon clarity of her speech. Well I was not going to sit and wait for something to happen, potentially causing her more regression, I needed to find a way to help her have full access to oral language and develop the skill of reading and writing. It was then the light bulb turned on, I vaguely remember the overview of cued speech being an option. Cued speech, what is that?! It is not something that is common such as oral language and ASL. The gist of it, is 8 hand shapes in 4 positions around the face, to guide lip-reading. This supports oral communication, phonetics of language, and is quick to learn! I’m game!

You can find more information on cued speech, here.

 

Well, here we are today. A is 33 months old and we had our first cued speech session. Our cued speech angel instructor is amazing and comes to our home and helps us with hands on learning and practice! With practice and immersion in our day-to-day lives, talking with the girls, especially during those intimate moments of one on one time and stories, we can really practice it, and they will be able to have a better grasp of connecting with the oral language.

So yes, I would love moments of silence, but I am so blessed that there are options available for our special daughters to not miss important parts of our oral dominant world, of which is so valuable.

 

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Some fun after learning
All images are copyrighted to hearinthemiddle.

The quietest time of day!

Every parent looks forward to the end of the day, when the children are snug in their beds and there is silence through the house. Well, I can commit to that truth ten times over!

With the hearing loss, A cannot hear how loud she is being, (R I’m sure will have her day, when she is older, I’ll slowly wait) especially when the hearing aids are out, and no matter how much effort you put in to whispering, it just doesn’t last!  It is a hope that as she continues to adjust to her hearing aids, with speech therapy, and with persistence, the baseline volume will eventually lower. 

So – when the crickets are chirping, the breeze is blowing through the trees, and the birds are signing their evening tunes, it is peace in the world …. until R cries to be settled back down. 

Turning on the sound

Turning on R’s hearing aids! 

R was the first to get her hearing aids, at 5 months old, March 26, 2012. Pink hearing aids with molds colored clear with pink sparkles. After multiple appointments for the initial test to the ENT to the fitting, then finally to big day, the hearing aids to be turned on. It is a moment a parent will never forget, that first moment, when the world turns on. Her face was blank but with the expression of taking in the new stimuli. It was a moment of emotion and memories.

Now, if only it was easy for an infant to keep hearing aids in. After hours of searching for options, we found the Hanna Andersson pilot caps, were the best option for our needs. It was excitement on delivery day, and no more battling to put the hearing aids back in from being pulled out. With the hat on, R doesn’t even bother with them. If only with a baby, that gets into everything, they were easy to keep clean. It is an item that is sure to need multiples.

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Turning on the sound for R

Turning on A’s hearing aids

After a few months of baby sister having hearing aids, it only comes to a two year old, that she wants to have her own. She waited in constant anticipation for her purple hearing aids to arrive. Now, picking out purple was a very hard decision with a two year old, as she couldn’t decide from blue or purple. And like R, after many appointments,  the big day finally arrived to turn them on, July 5, 2012. The look on her face when they were first turned on was complete surprise, a deer in the headlights. Moments later, R started to cry, and the most impressionable moment of that day, was A demanding that the hearing aids be taken out! It was a confirmation that they worked.

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Turning on the sound for A

Welcome to the world of new sounds!

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