Category Archives: listening skills

Who was first Keith or Harry? A Rolling Stone fashion dilemma

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Last week the Rolling Stones played an historical gig at Hyde Park, London, having not played there since 1969. It was of those rare but amazing London evenings of warm temperatures when the sun doesn’t set until 10:30 pm.
Those geriatric rockers, as Dan likes to refer to his adult obsession, had so much punch for their age (mostly 70 years old) they were an inspiration to watch. Throughout the gig, which we were privileged to attend on the last night of our overseas holiday, my focus was constantly on Keith Richards’s bandana. Electric blue, it looked identical to Harry’s headband. Not only that but Keith also sported a full head of unruly curly locks tucked behind it. 
I also found myself concentrating subconsciously on the vibrations of the music- almost putting myself in Harry’s shoes as if he had been with us at the concert?

So we are finally home after a month visiting family and friends in the UK and a week to get over that in France. Harry turned 2 the week before we left and there was no doubt we were traveling with a regular two-year-old boy. Antics of climbing out of his cot before he fell asleep at night, pulling out Grandma and Grandpa Finchley’s TV satellite antenna, leaving them for days wondering why they had no TV picture, were but a few of the things he got up to. He met many new faces and I think I could safely say on their behalf that many would not have known he was deaf if they hadn’t previously known.

Ice cream in Cambridge

Spending that much time with all of us not working was ideally a time for Harry to increase his vocab and absorb all the new sights and sounds of a city with over double the population of Melbourne. According to Alice, one day she counted 55 siren sounds on our outing- that’s a lot of crime and accidents in one day- but that is London. Busy, fast, crowded, noisy and full of different smells. I wouldn’t doubt that just taking all that in everyday was more than enough for a two year olds senses to cope with especially a boy obsessed with trains and vehicles. Given a few more years on him, I have no doubt Harry will be exactly like Alice who started mimicking the announcements on the Northern Line tube…. “The next station is Hampstead, Swiss Cottage, Finchley Rd….so please mind the gap between the train and the platform… Stand clear closing doors” etc.
Harry is not quite there yet but who knows if it is all stored away in his little mind waiting for an opportunity to jump out. 
Speech wise he was quite reserved throughout the trip. I can’t really think of any new words he spoke, but that could be that I am writing this at 4 am in a jet-lagged state so am a bit fuzzy. He did perfect his counting and Tess worked really hard with him on this and has him counting with her to ten. But since he has settled back into a normal routine, the new words are starting to come. I know I am still able to reel them off, which hopefully will not be the case later this year, but it is useful to be able to record them here. We can add in “cucumber”, “see you later”, and “ding dong” for the doorbell. He is also doing a heck of a lot of babbling. In those moments the missing plosive sounds of “B” and “D” are making a statement, it is just not in a real word. I think this for me really consolidates the fact he is hearing everything, but it is just a matter of him catching up. He is definitely speaking like a child who has been hearing for 16months, rather than a 2 year old. But I would also say his comprehension is that of a two year old as he certainly understands everything you say. Funnily I picked this up when we where talking to a friend about going home and Harry was on the other side of the room playing happily by himself. He heard that we were saying that we would see them later- he immediately started to pipe up “ Gye Gye, See u “ater”. We were amazed!

He also perfected his preoccupation with pigs whilst away- his mild snort that he used to tell you he wanted to watch Peppa Pig has now turned into quite a hearty version based on listening to Doris the pig who belongs to friends of ours we visited in Suffolk. He whiled away many hours on the airplanes watching episodes of Peppa Pig using the FM system which I hope cut out the noise of the plane and allowed him to focus on the words. I love this show for Harry because in addition to its great humbling humour, the language is very clear- the sentences aren’t long or complicated and so he has a good chance of grasping what is being said.

Suffolk, UK

Suffolk, UK

I was able to discuss at great length the pros and cons of I-pad usage for teaching kids with a hearing impairment when I met with my dear old friend Mark in London. He happens to be a Teacher of the Deaf and a Speech Therapist in a school in North England. I hadn’t seen him since Harry was born, but we have spoken via email a few times. It was so amazing to hear what the UK is doing to progressively move their kids forward through the use of I-pads and Apps. I was also blown away by how the services in the UK catered for all the manufacturers of Cochlear implants. In Australia our kids are solely implanted with Cochlear Ltd, in the UK depending on where you are implanted and who is looking after you, you may have a Med-El or Advanced Bionics system. Given the recent burst of advances in technology by the other Brands of CI, I found this fact fascinating. There is no doubt in the end they will all be more or less the same as otherwise they wouldn’t be able to survive as commercial companies in their own right.  In a few weeks our ENT Robert Briggs will be chatting to Dads about the forthcoming technological advances we can expect from Cochlear and Daniel will let you all know via the Blog what he has to say.

All in all it has been a month of steady progress for Harry. He is undoubtedly an inquisitive and brave two-year-old boy, who takes risks and is obsessed with anything that has wheels. He has gained the confidence to walk out in the wide world on his own with out my hand to guide him. He has gained the confidence to say “No”, with an accompanying strong shake of the head when he doesn’t want to do something. He has also started to sign things he needs when without his ears at night. Communication is a combination of various strategies, and Harry is learning the art of mastering the most effective ones to get his needs met. All else falls by the wayside and there is no point forcing it. If is a word is useful to him he will speak it- if not it will stay stored. Can I simplify this by wondering if this is because he is a BOY?Hamley's London

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Filed under cochlear implants for kids, Deafness, Hearing impairment, listening skills, sensory integration

Is 3 words a sentence?

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The month of May has brought new words, a more stable inside walk and some very in- tune singing. I would be bold enough to describe the recent developments in speech as a flourish of language.

Since we last connected Harry has spent many hours walking up and down our 12m corridor on the camping mats, barefoot, to bring his walk from a tilting totter to a proper toddler walk. Without fail everyday he will wander up and down the hall to the front door and back to the kitchen just to gain confidence walking. It is an innate response and I guess that is what it should be with babies so they can evolve.

His language has blossomed beyond my recent expectations. I have to say that I had resigned myself to slow progress in this area. A word or two a month has been the standard headway for the last 6-8 months and no one was sneering at this because those sounds he had grasped were significant and meant he fell within the boundary of the “hearing age” bracket we had allocated him.

Last count was 18 words in 1year of sound. That brought us unofficially to April. We are now about to move into June and Harry is about to turn 2. In the past 4 weeks I have been able to add 9 new words to this list and 3 sounds for vehicles. Phenomenal

  1. Ball (without the B)
  2. Sock (ock)
  3. Shoe (ooo)
  4. Row row (from the nursery rhyme)
  5. School (pronounced  “All”)
  6. Walkies
  7. Down
  8. Counting-1-6
  9. All day long (from Wheels on the Bus)photo

He also distinguishes when he plays with vehicles, the varying sounds they make. The ambulance and police car go “nee nar, nee nar”, the fire engine goes “ee-or, ee-or”, the train goes ” oo- oo”(the ch will come with time).

Having the appropriate sounds to go with play is a massive indicator for the Specialists to gauge how he is getting on. From the speechies and the CIC staff, to the Occupational therapist, they all comment on how appropriate his play sounds are for his real age. I am basking in this praise- it is music to my ears.

In our Speech lesson last week, Beth introduced Harry to an on-line karaoke website. You might well imagine how a toddler who can’t stand yet would benefit from a karaoke session. I think it was a shame there was no microphone or disco ball above us to bring the atmosphere into the room, nevertheless we started a journey on the Raising Children’s website (a Gov’t site) and fell in love with their version of Old MacDonald, Row, Row your boat and Open, Shut them, to name only a few nursery rhymes.

 

https://raisingchildren.net.au/baby_karaoke

 

The beauty of this site is that the words are sung slowly and in a great Aussie country drawl. Most are accompanied by a video with animated characters that do the actions for the songs clearly. I am conscious of Harry not spending all day on this as no toddler can cope with over exposure to electronics. Those telling signs that the I- device has expired as a babysitter when you try to graciously pull the item away from their inquisitive little hands and they tighten their grip into a vice around it. And scream!

Without a doubt a child who has lost a sense such as hearing is more dependent on sight to give them information. And so, Harry is drawn

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to anything that is overtly visual. This includes TV, and other visual electronic devices. There is a very fine line between him using them to learn and them burning him out with their visual references.

 

It was only yesterday that we were sitting in the kitchen reading to Harry as he had dinner (as it is often the time we do it to distract him enough to eat).  The girls were chipping in with their 2 cents worth of Old McDonald when suddenly I heard an “ All day long” that was nearly so clear that I thought it came from Alice. In perfect response Tess grabbed the hone and tried to get him to repeat it.  Check out the video and see what you think, but in our books that is a 3 word sentence and we are ecstatic!

oldmcdonald


 

 

 

 

 

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First speech lesson at 23 months

password “harry2011”

This is Harry’s first speech lesson learning the prompt technique for the sound B. We have started speech earlier than usual ( normally it starts at 3 years) as  I have been the pushy mother that insisted it was a good idea. Never one to stop still I noticed with the Specialists that he is  mastering the sounds for the consonants   “M”, “N”, “G”, “K”/ “C”.

But there is no attempt on his part to try to copy any words that start with the letters “T”, “P”, “B”, “H”, “D”.

These sounds are made from the front of your mouth , whereas the sounds listed above that he can do, are sounds from the back. The normal progression in developing these sounds is when a child masters the expellation of air ( is that a word)  to allow them to shape these sounds that are made further toward the front of your mouth. By 12 months most children would use “plosive” sounds and nasal sounds (p,d,m). This continues through to 18 months with an establishment of all the vowel sounds.

So where is Harry with all this.

He has not mastered the plosive sounds  and has mastered about 1/3 of the vowels at this stage. So we are trying to work out whether he might have a motor skill issue that is stopping him from forming those plosive sounds which would generally come earlier than the hard back of the throat sounds of “G”& “K”. He is certainly hearing them, as his comprehension is on target with a child his age ( as opposed to his hearing age). But he just never tries to imitate any words beginning with these sounds.

As he has experienced some delays in his overall gross motor skills ( such as standing, walking , sitting)  the Specialists are guessing that there is a possibility of a link between this speech delay and the gross motor skill delay.  That link could simply be that he had an All Mighty infection last September and it is taking the body a while to completely recover and get back to where it was at that point. We also know in little ones, that the body focuses on one major thing at a time and if the brain is preoccupied with walking,  then the speech is going to come second.

The one clear thing in all of this muddy water is that he is developing. The speech is coming along. Maybe not exactly in the order that other CI kids have shown, but despite the lack of some sounds he is joining more than one word to make short 2-3 word sentences. Every time he practices them they get clearer and clearer as long – as they don’t include P’s or B’s , T’s D’s or H’s!

He says” Hear ya go” when he is waiting his turn for a musical instrument in a class setting and the instrument is being passed from kid to kid, before he comes to him. He also says it to us when he is passing us a toy.

He says “See  ya”  when someone is going , along with “Gye , Gye” in stead of Bye , Bye. And there are many more such phrases.

He says “Ank you” instead of “Ta” ( something I am immensely proud of !)

By 24 months a child would possibly have a vocab of 30 words or more. I don’t think Harry has quite that many as about 6 of his are animal sounds, but he is not that far off. His hearing age is documented as not quite 12 months  now, as we have to take into consideration the 6-8 weeks without sound during and post-op of the period of Infection last year.

So, all in all, he is doing  so well.

CONGRATULATIONS , HARRY. meadal of awesome

 

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April 27, 2013 · 11:23 pm

More than 12 months hearing

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Harry has heard sound for more than one year now. We passed his first hearing birthday back on March 15th, and it is incredible to look back at what has been achieved in that time.

Harry’s progress is steady but slower than we thought it would be.

I remember vividly, Rita ( from the Brighton Early Intervention Service) saying to us at the very start of the year before his operation that he would be a talker . The evidence for this lay in his siblings communication skills. And indeed it is true Tess and especially Alice could talk the hind legs off a horse. Harry is surrounded by the sound of chatter and imagination everyday. He is also bombarded with squeals and screams as we navigate a house of female hormones and all that goes with bringing up two independent and strong-minded spirits.

He was not left behind when the strong will was handed out. He is such a determined little soul and even though we can see clearly now he is different from his peers he strolls through his challenges un-phased.
I am still very preoccupied with Harry’s balance. Walking is still a stones throw away but his ability to stand unaided and balance in an unsupported standing position is a struggle. None of the Specialists have any answers – they all seem to think one day it will just all click into place and we have to be patient. I am thankful Harry has a personality that is laid back enough to not get frustrated that he can’t get around on his own- he is a problem solver and uses tactics he has deciphered to be useful in maneuvering himself around on his own to get where and do what he fancies. Pushing a chair, a trolley, grabbing an adults hand or just reverting back to crawling seems to be enough to get him from A to B.

So on this journey I am once again reminded that my desire to be a perfectionist has been challenged. Things don’t fit into boxes to be ticked all the time . If Harry is not phased by his lack of independent vertical mobility then I need to focus on the positive achievements he is making with speech , as there are lots to celebrate there.

The clarity of Harry’s speech improves everyday. He has the same handful of words that relate to his everyday life and he uses them consistently in context. “Ugger” has now become so very close to “water “anyone can decipher his request.
At a speech assessment last week I was told he should at this stage be learning at least a new word or a few each week. I am not sure that it is happening at that speed so we are going to start speech therapy from the start of next Term at
Tarayle(www.taralye.vic.edu.au)
The thing is he is reading a lot- Harry just loves books and the amount of words we share together whilst reading is enormous. So given this, his vocabulary should be bigger. For some reason the way his implants are hardwired into his cortex and interpreted by his brain is not resulting in instant recognition for him. The recognition however comes after hundreds of times exposing him to the same word in the same or varying context.

No two kids with implants are the same but they all get to the same destination eventually and usually before they start school. PATIENCE is always rewarded

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18 words in 48 weeks

We have just celebrated the Anniversary of Harry’s Cochlear Implant operation and we are 3 weeks away from the 1st  Anniversary of his Switch On.

I have tallied up 18 words spoken by Harry in those 340 days.  

That is nothing short of a miracle of technology is it!!!

On returning from our Summer holidays so much has happened. Harry has started 2 kinder programs , gone back to Gymberoo and is on a mission to walk. Once we were back into a routine he started mimicking words with me again, something he has not done since the infection took hold. He loves to repeat the last line of a nursery rhyme and his current favourite is The Wheels on the Bus ( if that is classified as a nursery rhyme). He sings “All day long” after I finish my out of tune version. I am hoping that at this stage of interpreting sounds he is not fussed as to how well the melody is held. I have to curse the Apps on the Ipad and Iphone though as every version of this song must be American and says “all through the town ” instead of “all day long”. I have finally found one that allows you to record your own voice – you can check out the Duck Duck Goose App http://www.duckduckmoose.com/educational-iphone-itouch-apps-for-kids/wheels-on-the-bus/ 

In taking a look back at his progress I can rewind to Week 15 (Post Switch On) when we looked at the 6 core sounds referred to as LING 6 SOUNDS representing different speech sounds from high to low pitch. With these 6 sounds a child has access to all the speech sounds necessary for learning spoken language.

A ( ahh sound) as in aeroplane,    M (mmm sound) as in mummy, more,           I ( ee sound) as in the  sound of a monkey or ee-or of a donkey,           SH as in Shh the baby is sleeping,          U (ooo sound) as in the  twit-twoo sound of an owl

Hearing chart - where speech and environmental sounds are accessed

There is no doubt he can say all of these sounds now and he could before the infection in Sept.

The next step was associating meaning to sound. A child starts to associate a sound with its related object and start to recognise familiar phrases.   These key sounds are now meaningful to him and are spoken unprompted when the object is presented to him.

AAA- aeroplane,  Mooo- cow,  Brmm- beep , beep- car,  Baaaa- sheep,

Cheep, cheep- baby chicken,  Meow- cat,

At Week 15( which was mid June) we had clocked up the following words that Harry repeated and recognised as linked to an object:

  1. Mumm- mummy
  2. Baa- sheep
  3. Moo- cow
  4. shh- for baby sleeping

At Week 30  (1st week Sept before he got sick) we also added unprompted “words”

  1. EE- ii -ee-ii -oo
  2. Brmm- aRR  for car
  3. Up
  4. Banana
  5. Ali- ce 

If Harry had continued at this rate he would have caught up with his hearing peers there is no doubt. But we were unlucky and he got sick and the infection interrupted the flow of information while it concentrated on making  Harry well again. But the beauty of all this early intervention is that the brain at such a young age has amazing plasticity    and can create new pathways to feed the sensory information via the brainstem to the brain. Click here for more information on plasticity of the brain

http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/plast.html

Week 45 (Last week January 2013) Harry spoke the previous 5 words plus

6.Hi

7.Bye

8.Uh Oh ( when an object is dropped)

9.Car with the brrmm, beep noises as well

10.Good night ( or Gnn NIgh)

11.Water ( interpreted from Uuger)

12. Miaow

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13.Doggy ( sounds like Iggy)

14.Milk ( sounds like Mmk)

15.OKAY followed by an Um okay

Then in the last week he started to put more than one word together

16. Go car

17. All day long ( sounds like Or- day- onn)

I think the best thing of all is when he is chatting to me without his implants on after a sleep and those words are all still coming out in context and as clearly.

You couldn’t ask for more.

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Summertime

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It has been said that between December and February all the hard work from the previous year that you have put into your child’s development starts to bear fruit . Everything they have absorbed throughout the year solidifies and they are able to accomplish their goals and grow.

It is Summertime.

We are 3/4 of the way through our summer holiday counting down the last week of a lovely break.
My goal was to get Harry walking by the end of the trip and I still have a bit of time to reach it- Just

Without a doubt he is having trouble working out how to balance.

I’ve mentioned it in the past , the ENT specialists do not link deafness and delayed gross motor skill development in children . But there are certainly some kids out there who struggle with balance along with the hearing impairment.

Despite this he is so eager to walk he just grabs a hand.. literally anyone’s , and waddles tilted to the side you are holding and off he goes. If you manage to stop him for a minute and try and get him to stand still and actually stand alone he has no idea. It is similar to watching any of us after a bottle of wine swaying and giggling but not really acknowledging that you aren’t standing up straight or standing!

And so he continues, thinking he can walk and having a ball because it means he can really play with his sisters. He has definitely improved this waddle whilst we’ve been away and if we can just crack the standing unaided he’ll be there. I am sure a few sessions with the Physio when we get home will assist with the solo standing and allow him to walk freely on Melbourne soil.

Speech progress this Summer has certainly moved on- not in leaps and bounds but the words he knows are getting clearer and clearer and some new ones have snuck in. Funny though when I show him pictures of animals he chooses to learn their sounds rather than their names. So we are stuck on Quack for duck and we now have Miaow for cat. His new obsession with Peppa Pig the British cartoon has not managed to increase his animal vocab but I have no doubt in a few weeks he’ll suddenly start saying ” oink oink” promptly followed by “Mr.Bull ” in a cockney accent.

We organised to get Harry an FM system before we left. Not a relic from our 80’s dancing days but a small microphone device that is used to enhance speech in noisy environments. Wirelessly it connects to a monitor with a microphone for you to speak directly into. It is primarily used in classrooms so the teacher can talk directly to the CI user . Whilst the teacher speaks the unit reduces any background noise between the CI wearer and the microphone user. Normally you wouldn’t get one of these units until your child starts school. Harry will be attending pre- school from February for 2 days , so I used to as a reason to request the device. It is made by Phonak and for more detail on this specific device check out their website
www.phonak.com.au and look on the FM system link.

It is an amazing piece of technology as not only does it work in a classroom environment but also with any electronic device with an audio jack. That is, a headphone connection.
So iPhones, iPads, etc can be used without any interference. The sound goes directly into the users head- how phenomenal is that?
I got Alice to download a whole series of Apps on my phone , pop them in a box and name it Harry’s Games (I actually just asked her to see if Fisher Price had any Apps and she did the rest unprompted and unaided) . He now navigates my phone to his box and plays merrily away with various Apps that focus on the alphabet and animals. All these repeat the names of objects and sounds and when the FM system is on he has that going straight into his head with no interference. I am thrilled that my new babysitter is also assisting with is speech development albeit he may end up with an “international accent” ( the toy industry term for a non American accent)
I can also use the FM system in the car with my iPhone to listen to nursery rhymes or anything on my iTunes library. Thank goodness as I was getting a bit fed up repeating Incey Wincey Spider over and over again!

After this discovery I started surfing the Web for other Apps that could assist with speech development. I thought that the Cochlear Ltd website had some listed but I was unable to find them. What I did find though was a site from the States by a Teacher of the Deaf listing her recommended Apps for Kids with a Hearing Impairment.
If you are interested checkout out the Blog
Getting from there to hear Blog by Tina Childress. She has a tab in the main menu ” Apps for IOS devices ” and lists all the relevant Apps there.

So a week left till school resumes and we race closer to the One Year Anniversary of Harry ‘s Switch On. Next Post I will tally up all his words to date and see where we stand one year in.

Till then………..

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Progress after 9 months

I haven’t written much about Harry’s speech progress in a while. Looking back on my posts there is a lot about keeping the CI’s on with various accessory adaptations but I seem to have subconsciously steered clear of discussing his hearing progress since the infection.

There is a reason for this.
It was not until the end of October that Harry was given the complete all clear from the hospital and we could say that the intravenous antibiotics had worked to save his left implant. The infection was gone and Mapping showed it had not damaged either implant- you can’t even imagine what a relief this was for us. I guess I was waiting for the thumbs up before I wrote about it.

In the last few weeks we have returned to the Cochlear Implant Clinic for sound level reviews. After Harry’s infection the mapping had returned to pre- infection sound levels and we thought this meant the whole incident had not made an impact on his progress.

But 2 months down the road it dawned upon me in a session at Tarayle that Harry had not made any steps forward with his speech since the first weeks of mapping back in October when he said banana and Alice.

Sometimes the progress when it is not a full word is so subtle it takes a third party to point out to me that he has a new sound or word. Often this is the role of Judy our case worker at Taralye. It wasn’t until I started to discuss with Judy what Harry was doing compared to other kids with a similar hearing age, that it became obvious to me he was no longer mimicking my words in our one-on-one sessions at home.

What prompted me was a play date last month with another Taralye child who had been given her implants one month before Harry and was one month older than him. It was so interesting to see the difference between them. When I pointed to a book she repeated first go ” book” so clearly back to me and was able to do this with quite a few words.

Harry has never repeated words immediately – his process takes much longer and requires a lot of repetition of a word before he tries to speak it. I was inspired that after 10 mnths this little girl was speaking so clearly. But it also made me realise that Harry had stopped even trying to copy my sounds.

My immediate response once I had highlighted this issue was to check with the Cochlear Implant Clinic whether there was an issue with the program or Mapping. They rearranged my next appointment to bring it forward to 2 days later so we could check. They are so efficient to ensure the patients are not left without sound for any length of time.

In my mind I was hoping that there was a technical issue because if all the sound levels were okay then what could be the cause of the change in his speech?

It turns out that he was not picking up high frequency sounds in his left ear- which is the one the infection spread through to the electrode. High frequency sounds are the “softer” speech sounds such as “shh” and s sounds. An explanation for this is possibly some remaining inflammation around the left electrode from the infection- but I felt this was more a guess than a fact, as there is no way for the Audiologists to check for this and so few patients get an infection that travels as far into the implant as Harry’s did.

His left Implant levels were tweaked and he was given 4 programs to work through over a week when we were to return.
It didn’t take long for Harry to move along these new sound levels and throughout the week I was scrutinizing his chatter . It certainly increased post clinic visit but I couldn’t detect any new words or babble- just more frequency chatter which was still a great improvement.

On our return visit the levels evened out on both sides so the left side was detecting high frequency sounds better than a week ago. I am not an Audiologist- although some days i think it would help if I had some training in this field. So my understanding of what goes on once the electrodes stimulate the Auditory Nerve is very basic.
I have been told that once the brain is given the information by the Auditory Nerve that there is sound , there are still a lot of steps to then allow the receiver to be able to create speech . Maybe it is just that Harry’s brain is still creating those pathways after recovering from such a massive infection.
What I do know though, and I always take time to remind myself, is that I have never met a CI recipient who doesn’t learn how to speak well , so it will be just a matter of time.

I know I have some Readers out there who know more than I on how the brain interacts with the information given to it by the CI and are further down the track than us . So I invite you to share your knowledge with us.

After all it is a Blog and what is a Blog without commentary ??

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From listening to speech

It is now Week 30 since Harry’s Switch On date back in March.  We had 4 weeks in there without sound while he was sick but I am not sure if that is counted.

Back at Week 15 we had clocked up the following words that Harry repeated and recognised as linked to an object:

  1. Mumm- mummy
  2. Baa- sheep
  3. Moo- cow
  4. shh- for baby sleeping

 Now at Week 30 we can add unprompted “words”

  1. EE- ii -ee-ii -oo
  2. Brmm- aRR  for car
  3. Up
  4. Banana
  5. Ali- ce ( we are not quite sure  if it is Ali or Alice but time will tell)

The two most recent are banana and Alice, but Dan is doubtful that he has mastered banana based on my video.  One thing is for sure, he says, Harry won’t be voted in as the spokesman for the Queensland Banana Growers Association. Not just yet.

This list is not exhaustive. There are heaps more words he recognises but doesn’t speak.  He has started to incorporate Auslan signs and general pointing gestures to communicate them to us so I don’t think it will be long before he starts to vocalise the words as well.   I apologise for no video, I really need to find a new and better way to upload them.  

Today we had another mapping session at the CIC . Here they were testing his tolerance levels to loud sounds to see if he could be put back up to the levels he had prior to being sick.  We are now just above those levels which is really encouraging and there is no doubt his sickness has not set his development back at all.

I chatted to the Audiologists at the Clinic today about last weeks 30th Anniversary of the first commercial cochlear Implant operation. I love the old photos Cochlear has posted on their website to mark this occasion.  ( check out  www.cochlear.com/files/assets/timeline.swf )

It is a visual timeline of the Cochlear Implant History and the part Graeme Clark played in bringing this amazing technology to everyday people. We now have a date to meet Graeme Clark next month and we are beyond excited. Every day we think about what Harry’s life would have been like without sound and how lucky we are to live in this Age.

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Some new words

Did you think it was about time Harry uttered some more words?

I don’t actually think “uttering” is actually in Harry’s vocabulary, as the volume level he is inclined to share with us is nothing short of loud.

It could be that he is learning by example from his sisters and their daily screeching; at me, at each other or my screeching at them the non- stop orders about bags, hair, teeth, homework and picking up wet towels from the floor. There is no doubt the sound experience of a 3rd child is primarily made-up of a barrage of commands and the click of car seat and pram buckles.

Amidst all this Harry has managed to piece together the sounds of 2 more words in the last week to 10 days. As I mentioned in earlier posts we need to hear him say the words in context more than once to ensure it is not a fluke or wishful thinking.  But for sure there is an element of intereptation in deciphering these words.

Have a guess at what you think it they might be….  I’ve only been able to record one of them so far.  As soon as technology  allows me to upload it please check out “Meet Harry” on the Blog menu and go to Harry 16 mnths.

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Five months post switch on

Harry has now had sound for 5 months. It doesn’t seem very long to me but someone referred to him as not being a newbie now.

With all the progress he has made over the last few months , our expectations have been be that he would continue  to develop at this extraordinary speed and before he was two years old ( so only 10 months away) he would be on par with his peers.  But the reality is that that his output is directly linked to my input and I have taken my foot off the pedal a tad this last month. It is inevitable that would happen- with a family of three kids you can’t possibly put all your energy into just one child, and it wouldn’t be fair to do so even if you could.

So at 5 months post switch on Harry has the following sounds:

M- Mmm

Y- Yeah

G- Some babble with G in it

B- Brrmm

He also definitely says “uhh” for up in a variety of situations and is close to saying a version of “Bye” when someone leaves.  There is even a possibility he said “car” recently but it will need to be repeated in order to be lodged as official.

This is a modest addition of sounds and “words” to the last months listing and we are thrilled that the progress is constant.

On top of all this he is integrating so well at the normal toddler activities. A weekly visit to Gymberoo allows him to climb and explore to his hearts delight- well for 30 mins anyway. He is then required to come and sit on the mat and do singing in a group.  This he is not so fond of.  He much prefers to maul the other babies and plant kisses on their faces.  I have really landed on my feet here as the assistant informed me today that she did a 3 yr degree in Auslan (sign language) and would love to have the opportunity to practice on Harry.

How perfect when only this week we started to learn Auslan as a family. 

We have also settled into a pattern of visits to Taralye, the Oral language centre for Deaf Children (www.taralye.vic.edu.au )   This is our support service and from his 2nd birthday the centre will also be able to offer Harry some sessional kinder classes with both hearing and hearing impaired kids.

Once every fortnight I visit Judy our case worker with Harry and she observes and helps me record his progress. Harry now recognises when we get out the car at Taralye and gets excited that he is going to spend time in Judy’s office which is filled with lots of great toys and activities.  The sessions are very informal but we always seem to cover off a lot of things in that allocated hour. It gives me a chance to check in any concerns that may surface about how much Harry is achieving and be comforted that he is comparatively making great progress.

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