Monday, January 18, 2010

it will not hold him back...

It's been a very eventful day, and I have lots to say!

Being a public school teacher awarded me the day off to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday. Somehow, although Lucas's "struggles" are not race related, today was a very fitting day for two amazing hearing journey firsts.

Inspired by the success that Mari has had in music therapy, I decided to sign Lucas up for a music class. I found the class through a local rec center. With 4 other 2-year olds, Lucas danced, "sang" and dabbled with 15 or so odd toddler-friendly musical instruments this morning. I find a certain amount of irony in a deaf kid taking a music class, but it was one of those proud CI momma moments.

We were the first to arrive (kind of purposefully), so I was able to explain everything to his instructor. It's kind of hard to explain that he's totally deaf, but he can hear at the same time. She asked me if he could hear and understand us talk, so I decided to show her. I said "Lucas, say hi to Miss ____". He turned, waved and said hi. Point made. I think she needed to see it to really believe it. I can't blame her, because it still amazes me every day too. She was really sweet and told the class up front that "Lucas might not hear everything like everyone else." It was perfect, and really accurate too. I can't wait for the next 11 weeks of class. Although Oma will get to mostly participate in this one too, I have 3 more Mondays off before the class is over. I'm looking forward to it.

There are mixed reviews on music appreciation with the cochlear implant. Technology is improving that link all the time, but I'm under the impression that "busy" music is what's difficult - music with lots of different instruments, singing, etc. So, I believe that isolated music - just singing, just drums, just bells, etc. should be just fine for him. In fact, I think it will be GREAT for him, especially for improving his sound discrimination. His hearing loss will not hold him back from participating in a music class.

I also got to accompany him to aquatic therapy today. Boy was he in for a surprise! He had SOUND in the POOL! Since we've been contemplating private swimming lessons in this kid-friendly pool, I've concluded that his sessions will be more valuable to him if he can hear instructions. So, for his hearing birthday, I ordered a 5"x4" Aloksak bag and a lycra swimming cap from Amazon, and I took an expensive chance. It worked like a charm. It was so funny though, because when I was getting him changed, I kept trying to re-attach his ear, and he kept pulling it off, because he knows he can't have it in the pool, and he was so intent on going swimming. I had to have a heart-to-heart with him, and ask him if he wanted to hear while he swam. Once he understood, he was thrilled. He was able to follow simple instructions in the pool today, like "kick", "push", "blow bubbles", "get the ring" and best of all, "don't splash!". It makes me cry just thinking about it. His hearing loss will not hold him back from hearing while he swims.

the set up

hearing in the pool!

Lastly, while at aquatic therapy today, I picked up some free magazines from our area that advertise kid-related events. The one is specifically geared toward special needs kids. When I got home, I found a short article on a deaf teenager. Although I found her story inspiring, I read that she attends a residential deaf school, and when she graduates she may attend a vocational school that specializes in training adults who are deaf and hard of hearing. I'm sure she is happy and thriving, and she will lead a fulfilling life. There's absolutely nothing wrong with attending a vocational school either. But, I can't help but think about how Lucas will not need specialized training like that. And we will never have to send him away to a residential school, unless he asks to go. His hearing loss will not hold him back educationally.

All of these little miracles would not be possible without Lucas's cochlear implant. It's plain and simple. We would love him just the same. We would still see to it that he met his full potential. We would work hard to provide him with enriching experiences. But he would never hear music, he would never have the opportunity to hear in the pool, and he would not have an array of educational options to choose from. No one can deny that. I am a very happy momma today.

Enjoy Lucas in the pool!!!!!!!!!


The Brights said...

This is great!

You are most definitely right, it will not hold him back! He has come so far in so little time and I love reading about all of his amazing accomplishments.

Awesome, Luca!

Maybe I need to have a heart to heart with Tayten. He will not and does not want his ear in the pool...and I am not sure anything will change his mind...I guess he enjoys the listening break and that is okay with me too.

Christian and Lily's Mommy said...

He is such a superstar!

Good for you for taking the leap with hearing in the pool! I'm terrified of possibly damaging the equipment, but it looks like the Aloksak works! Maybe when we upgrade to the 5 we'll use our Freedom for the pool :)

misskri said...

What a great post!!! Nothing will hold Lucas back ~ and thank goodness for cochlear implant...
I was thinking of buying an aloksack bag for Thomas (we did something similar when we went to the waterpark) and I love that he can hear me and other kids in the pool.

tammy said...

What a great post Jen! Our kids may have more challenges, but nothing will hold them back! We're going to look into music classes too! I can't wait to start them! I'm also hoping to find some sort of water therapy class for Aiden's vestibular issues and will have to call you to get the low down on wearing the CI in the pool.

leah said...

What a moving post. Lucas is going to rock this world, and NOTHING will hold him back.

The pool is one place where we're glad that Nolan has some residual hearing. As long as it is not too noisy, he hears us pretty well. Not sure what to do about swimming lessons, though.. They're pretty noisy and there's no way to waterproof his aids. I guess we'll take it as it comes!

Bill and Shelly said...

That is so great!!!! I was looking for something for Allison so she can hear when she swims, I might just have to get some of those bags. Did you just stick the coil on and put the cap on?

I wish I could find something for Jared to wear with his hearing aids, but I don't think they have anything for him.

I love the video of him swimming, he is doing great!

Julia said...

Nope, it will not hold him back. The way I think about it now is that I am determined (and optimistic) that deafness will not hold Ben back in any way, and in fact it enriches his life by giving him an alternative set of experiences and perspectives that most people don't get. It's not what I would have wished for, but now that it's part of our lives, it has its perks.

The way I explain the "deaf but hearing" thing to other people is I say that Ben is deaf, but he has access to sound via technology.

Emily said...

You'll have to show me how you do the swimming cap while we're at JTC this summer. That's something that I've yet to be brave enough to try, but I would like Noah to be in swimming lessons at some point.

Anonymous said...

What web site did you order the Aloksaks?