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Eyes and Ears

Revised post with all the words

Harry's Ears

Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in , therein to be content”

Helen Keller


I have been ever so quiet. But there has been good reason.

3 years ago we read an article in the Herald -Sun about a 3 year old boy being taken in a helicopter to build up a visual image bank as he was losing his sight. This little boy was also profoundly deaf and had cochlear implants. He had just been diagnosed with Usher Syndrome, which Google states is the leading cause of deaf-blindness in the world. However, despite this claim it is an extremely rare condition , caused by recessive genes in both parents who carry a gene deformation which will go back many generations.   That gene  may be “activated” when they have a child and then they have a 1 in 4 chance…

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Cochlear N6 demand exceeds Australian Hearing budget- new policy for children’s eligibility for upgrades

Cochlear N6 demand exceeds Australian Hearing budget- new policy for children’s eligibility for upgrades.

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Happy birthday Harry


Today begins celebrations in honour of our Harry turning 3 on Tuesday.
It has been an emotional road as you know but it is incredible what he has
achieved in that time . I created a video/ trailer as the invitation so check out the link


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Swimming for kids with cochlear implants

using the aqua accessory

using the aqua accessory

IMG_0160I am sure many of you wonder whether swimming can be on the agenda for Harry at this stage.
Not only does he wear electrical equipment ON his head but he also has grommets inside his inner ear. Neither of these make it impossible for him to swim but they are certainly huge deterrents . new aqua accessory to launch


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Harry’s Headband H.ears

Harry’s Headband H.ears.

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“Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you?”

Empire Strikes Back

For the last year and a half I have been often heard quoting “never tell me the odds” as Harry seemed to always be the kid that didn’t do anything by the book.
This phrase reminded me of a movie and sure enough it is a quote from one of the best Bloke movies of all time. To give you a clue, I feel like the Force has been with us in recent months; there have been no major illnesses, Harry’s balance is showing signs of strengthening close to normality and his speech has jumped into Hyperspace.

“Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to 1.”
“Never tell me the odds.”

Forgive me for using the Star Wars analogy but as I have spent the last few months convincing myself his slower progress with speech and his desire to only mimic words related to food, cars or trains is directly linked to his gender, I am going to run with it as appropriate.

In the last 2 weeks Harry has managed to surpass my stereotyping and is able to parrot a huge percentage of what we are saying to him. This is a skill you will notice in most 18 month- 2 year olds. You say a word and they repeat it back to you several times and then it forms part of their vocabulary. Given Harry’s hearing age is 19 months ( 17 if you take out the 2 months he was sick this time last year) this is spot on. In the near future we can wish he surpasses his hearing age to have  birth-age appropriate speech and language skills , but for now I am thrilled.

In his speech lesson this week, Beth and I spoke of his huge increase in vocab and given his desire to take in the language we are now moving to weekly sessions. This will give us the time to start working on expanding his vocabulary to include verbs or action words to add to the nouns and names he has learnt. With the addition of verbs he will be more able to start putting small sentences together. At the moment he is able to say 2-3 words together but they are phrases such as “see you later” rather than combining individual words.

I have dug into a great resource which Cochlear provides on their website. It is called the “Listen, Learn and Talk Auditory Habilitation Theory”. So for us laymen it is a chart showing age appropriate stages of listening and speech for babies and toddlers. Checkout

Harry has mastered all the 16-18 month old skills. In listening he discriminates between phrases and is now imitating words heard.The section of  Expressive Language covers the following for a 16-19 month old.
o Jargon disappears
o Increases vocabulary, 10 or more meaningful words
o Decreases use of gesture – relies on talking to communicate
o Imitates words heard
o Asks for more Receptive Language
o Understands more simple questions
o Begins to understand longer phrases with key word in middle of sentence
o Identifies more body parts
o Finds familiar object not in sight
o Understands 50 or more words and for speech in this age group

For Speech in this age group  toddlers increase single word approximations , most vowels  are present  but they still mainly producing front consonants  [p, b, d, m, n, h, w].

They next age group is 19-24months and there are certainly skills here he is yet to master but by no means does he need to master them all.

For listening (audition)  at this age they need to master the following list:

Auditory memory of 2 items,Discriminates songs ( yes mastered), Comprehends a variety of phrases ( yes mastered), Discriminates descriptive phrases ( not sure about that one!), Follows a two step direction, e.g. Get your ball and throw it. ( yes with very familiar routine such as shoes and socks)

Then there is Expressive language

Expressive Language

Uses new words regularly

o Increases expressive vocabulary to 30 words or more ( mastered)

o Attempts “stories” –longer utterances in jargon to get message across ( certainly not here yet)

o Begins to use own name when talking about self ( this will come )

o Uses possessive pronouns – mine ( certainly not here yet)

o May ask where questions Where car?

o By 24 months may use2 – 3 word phrases with nouns, some verbs and some adjectives ( this is what we are targeting in Speech classes)

The Receptive language and Speech sections for this age bracket are what we are working towards. I can list them here so you get an understanding of our benchmark and they are only a guide as each child is unique ( of course)

Receptive Language

o Completes two requests with one object

o Chooses two familiar objects

o Comprehends action phrases

o Points to a range of body parts, e.g. elbow, cheek

o Begins to understand personal pronouns –my, mine, you

o Recognizes new words daily

o Increases comprehension – decodes simple syntax

o By 24 months understands 250 – 300 words


o Approximates words

o Substitutes /w/ for /r/

o Uses suprasegmental features

o Most vowels and diphthongs present

o Consonants [k, g, t, ng] emerging

o Consonants[p, b, m, h, n, d] established – used in initial position in words

o Consonants often omitted in medial and final position

Let me end on this note. There is not an ounce of delay on Harry’s Cognitive skills . He has developed ahead of the game in this area and has really great fine motor skills ( probably to balance out the slightly delayed gross motor skills)

The list the provide for this age in this category goes as follows ands I can tick them all!


o Imitates symbolic play, e.g. household activities

o Uses one object as symbol for another

o Places triangle, circle, square in shape board

o Imitates vertical strokes

o Threads three beads

o Begins to tear paper

o Imitates ordering of nesting cups

o Begins to categorize objects in play

o Uses two toys together

o Stacks blocks/builds tower

o Completes simple pull out puzzle

o Activates mechanical toy

Please watch the videos below to see Harry’s progress.

I know I’ve said it before  but it is “AWESOME”


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Hachimaki is the Japanese headband worn as a symbol of perseverance and courage.

Still looking for inspiration on a name


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Bionic Band


It’s all in the name…
What should I call the headbands?
Should I reference ears, or hearing or fashion?
For sure, “Bionic” will be Trademarked by the Institute, so the whole family sat around the table tonight reeling off various versions of Harry’s Ears and trying to come up with a cool name for the headband.
Maybe we don’t need a name , as
my all time goal is to get Cochlear Ltd to include the headband in the suitcase of accessories
you get when your child receives their implant(s).

Wouldn’t that be awesome as it is all very well being supplied pens with screwdrivers on one end and a million processor covers , but what about an accessory that keeps them on a head that is only 50 cms in circumference ?

So, Folks, I really hope some of you guys all over the world tuning in to my tales will also buy up big on the Bionic Headband. My next step will be to set up shop(online of course ).

And the big news , based on your feedback, i have pleaded to get the price down to $18 AUD . I will be making hot pink for girls and electric blue for boys.

So stay tuned for more details



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Sewing is child’s play…

Sewing is child's play...

Folks, I am ready to sell Harry’s headbands online.
It has not been an easy task to find someone to make them commercially so other kids can benefit from this great design .
Before I press the button, please let me know if you would pay $25 for one ( plus Postage for delivery) .
I wish we could give them to you at no cost but this is the best I can do to start .

Please send your feedback as I plan to start production this month


April 9, 2013 · 10:43 pm

Harry’s Ears : Blog 2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 4,100 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 7 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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