It was a week today that Harry had the CI’s switched on.
Today was the second mapping session at The Cochlear Implant Clinic.
Our aim had been to get through the 4 set programmes of sound placed in processor from the last appointment. We had actually only managed to give him 3.
We spent a great deal of time over the week observing Harry’s reactions to sound in various surroundings. The night after the Switch On, we took him along to the Primary School Bush Dance fundraiser. It is always a jolly night with constant music from a true blue Aussie bush band, and around 300 kids fuelled with slurpies and cheap sausages. It is an outdoor event which diffuses the sound somewhat but you can imagine for a small boy who has never experienced sound before it was one big initiation. Suffice to say he lasted only 45 mins and then looked really annoyed by the whole thing. We can at least credit him with some musical taste as the band was not that hot!
It was a pretty intense week of sound experiences when I look back on it now. It is also really hard to believe it has only been a week as we feel like we have been experiencing the CI’s for much longer.
His least favourite noise experience has to be the sounds of the playground outside his sister’s Prep class at pick up time. The area is like a surrounded courtyard and at 3:30 pm is filled with about 80 Prep kids looking for their mums. I watched his little face screw up tighter and tighter as the noise increases. There were no tears but definitely a look of discomfort. So we have been moving the programme down from setting 3 to 1 to help him adjust to the sounds at pick up time.
Today the audiologist told us to try and not adjust the programmes anymore but let him get used to the reality of noise level. If he is really upset walk away so the sound decreases.
On Monday this week I took him along to a music class with our lovely friend Beata, who has classes that incorporate massage for babies and music and singing. Harry and I attended one of Beata’s courses last year which we both loved and made some great friends. Beata was keen to see how Harry would react to her singing and music now he had the CI’s working. The girls had a day off school so we all went along together.
Now I can see from the pictures what a fabulous time Harry had, but at the time I was sitting behind him and couldn’t experience his change in facial expressions. You can tell he really understood that he was creating a noise himself with instruments. I have read some Blogs of older kids that have learnt piano and other musical instruments. A great example of this and the most inspiring story I have heard yet about a profoundly deaf child following their dreams, is the story of Sophie Li. She is the daughter of the famous Chinese ballet dancer Li Cunxin (of Mao’s Last Dancer fame) and she has a terrific and funny blog called “the Funny thing about…”. On her blog she invites other young adults with CI’S to describe their funniest moment related to wearing a CI.
Her Bio is incredible. She was fitted with CI’s at age 4 and went through normal schooling in Melbourne, achieving distinctions in Ballet as part of her final school exams (VCE). As well as excelling in Mandarin as a second language she also learnt to play the piano and cello. Sophie is a great role model that profoundly deaf kids and their parents can aspire to.
To end the week Harry now has 4 new programmes in his processor that give him slightly louder sounds than last week.
He also has 2 new magnets with more strength. The ones he started with are the lowest strength for babies and he now has the next level up … Thank God as I was one frustrated woman trying to keep those buggers on his head this week…
Perhaps that’s why it feels like we’ve been doing this forever.