There's lots going on around here, I just haven't had a lot to post about. That's okay! Lucas is wearing his hearing aid really well (in addition to the CI, of course), although I haven't noticed a big difference yet. I think that's hard with a 20 month old who can't tell me how he hears with it. It can't be hurting anything though, that's for sure.
There are lots of changes going on around here. I'm preparing to return to work in a few days with the start of a new school year, and we're making some changes in our communication method. Lucas is talking a lot more, and he is all but functionally walking, choosing to walk now instead of crawl most of the time. YAY!
I've been a big proponent all along of "baby" signs to facilitate communication, hence this post. Lucas has 37 expressive signs to date, and he responds to all of them with verbal only cues. As I talked about in #8 of this post, I think it's important to regularly re-evaluate the effectiveness of a communication method decision. Even if you never change your method, it's good to reinforce your decision too! Well, we've re-evaluated, and we're making a change. In the past, we've stated that we're doing the Lucas method: an oral approach with AVT strategies and baby signs. We are now taking a strictly oral approach. No more baby signs.
Basically, we're at the point where Lucas no longer needs manual communication, because he hears and understands us SO WELL. And although we really cut back on the signs after he was implanted (only teaching them to him so that he could express himself), we have decided to drop signing all together.
It's all about expectations. In the past, we would speak, he would sign back, and we would move on. We were just excited that he understood us!! It has become way too easy. We are raising the bar. It's fine if he still signs back, but we are now expecting a word, an approximation or even just a vocalization, not just a sign. We know he is capable. Just in the past week, he has begun to approximate outside (ow) and knock, knock, knock (nah nah nah).
We are beginning to work with Clarke, an oral school for the deaf, and look forward to benefiting from their services this fall, if all goes well. Lucas may also join their toddler group for 2 year olds come January. We're hoping to give him an extra boost, so that he can be comfortably mainstreamed for preschool.
We couldn't be happier with our decision to have Lucas implanted. It has been seriously life-changing. Not a day goes by that I don't marvel at the miracle.