Thursday, February 21, 2008

Happy Birthday!!!

Happy Birthday to Kevin. Happy Birthday to Kevin. Happy Birthday to Keeevvvvviiiinnnn, Happy birthday to Kevin!

Yea.... he made it! We all made it! We survived the first year with bilateral cochlear implants in an infant. There were many days when I thought I would go nuts, but we did make it and to see Kevin communicate so well, it is all worth it.

I remember reading posts from people who were at least a year further down the road than us when were getting ready for the implantation and I thought they were so informed and knew all the answers. Now I know, they aren't any more informed than us, just a little more experienced, but it is still pretty much trial and error with most situations.

This is our past year post-activation in a summary: 1 unexpected surgery, 4 defective processors, 1 cracked controller, 3-4 (I forget) cables, my son who can say 'I love you'. All the headache is completely worth it for him to hear! Everyday I am in awe of this amazing technology that can allow my deaf baby to hear me. Thank you!

Here is the video update of Kevin's 1st year progress:

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Almost a year...

I can't believe that it has almost been a year since Kevin's activation! One week from today will be one year exactly! This Valentine's Day, Kevin can actually say 'I love you' (comes out like I uh you and I have to prompt him with each word, but he DOES it!) I find myself reflecting a lot these days about how all of our lives have changed since Kevin was activated. Obviously, Kevin went from a completely silent world to a hearing world and I can only imagine all of the changes he experienced last year. But, I also know that my world changed. When Kevin was first diagnosed, after the initial devastation I had complete fear. I had given birth to a child that I had NO means to communicate effectively with. If I wanted to hold meaningful conversations, I had to learn a new language. This is like someone giving you a baby and saying that the baby will ONLY speak Chinese and you better learn Chinese if you want to communicate with him. Of course, I was willing to learn a new language, but knowing that I HAD to was completely terrifying to me! Allowing Kevin to be implanted has given us the ability to effectively communicate at a much deeper level much earlier than if he didn't get an implant. He and his brother have a completely normal relationship and they communicate very well for an almost 2 and almost 4 year old. The day Kevin was activated last year was the first day I wasn't terrified of everything. I knew Kevin would be able to hear in this world and he would be able to hear me whisper all the sweet nothings in his ear. The last year year and just gotten sweeter and sweeter as Kevin has acquired his basic language skills and I know year #2 will be even better! I can't believe it has been almost a year!

Monday, February 11, 2008

incidental language acquisition

Today we were sitting in the family room and playing with a talking cookie jar where you put a cookie in the jar and it says something back. We were working on the listening game, which is how we perform sound tests in the sound booth. Basically, Kevin holds a cookie to his ear, I say 'oo' or another ling sound covering my mouth, and when he hears it, he repeats it and puts the cookie in the jar. He is very good at this game and we were just dusting off his skills since he is going in for another mapping in a month. The cookie jar talks in a cartoon voice and says things such as, 'do you want to play with me?', 'Let's count cookies', etc. Well, Kevin got bored of the game and moved over and started playing with an etch-a-sketch. All of a sudden, the cookie jar said, 'Can I have another?' in the funny cartoon voice, and Kevin said 'yes' and immediately put a cookie in the jar! I was amazed that he tuned in to the jar, understood the words, and then performed the action! Sometimes I wonder how much language he is getting from other sources, and this confirms that he clearly hears and understands from a lot of different sources.

He is putting more and more 2 word sentences together too. Today he said 'off shoe' for 'take my shoe off'. It is fun to see him explore more sentences. His comprehension is also getting better and better. In therapy last week, the therapist was hiding objects in a box and Kevin would have to say what the object was. At one point, she just said 'I have something that you can roll and throw' and Kevin immediately said 'ball'. We just looked at each other in amazement.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

more vocab and a great compliment

Kevin really seems to be having a language explosion these days and he tries to say just about everything we ask of him. It is really fun to witness! He pointed at a goose in a book and for months he has called it 'duck' and I correct him and say 'goose'. Well today he said 'goose' very clearly! Yea!!! He is also putting many 2 word sentences together. His new favorite is 'doggy pillow' for his pillow, but it sounds more like 'dogee pilbow'. It is really cute! We were at a superbowl party today and the family had an alphabet chart up and I couldn't believe how many of the pictures on the chart he knew! I would say about 60% he knew and could tell me. I am so proud of him!

I also got a great compliment about him tonight. The person didn't know it was a compliment, but it brought tears to my eyes to hear her say it. She is a mom in Kevin's playgroup and I have only known her for about 3 months. She has a little girl Kevin's age and she was telling me her daughter said a 4 word sentence today and she couldn't believe the length of it! I was saying that Kevin was just getting to 2 words and joking that he was behind. She, very seriously, said that because her daughter is a girl, she is an early talker and Kevin isn't behind. I looked at her and said, 'yea, and he is deaf too'. She just paused and said that she completely forgot about that and never even remembers it because it is so 'normal' with him. I know that I feel the same way, but to have an outsider say that to me and mean it just made me stop and think about how grateful I am for the technology that has allowed Kevin to function like a hearing person. It is truly remarkable!