Wednesday, July 21, 2010

half way point

Today marks our half way point, and I just can't believe it! We had another busy day of learning, analyzing and sharing. We started our day with an appointment with one of the audiologists. I was concerned that Lucas would not cooperate in the booth, based on how he has been working for Miss M., but on the contrary, we got the best results we've ever gotten! I attribute that largely to the fact that JTC utilizes very skilled test aides in the booth who work closely with the audiologists to keep our kids focused (and entertained) on the task at hand. She had 6 different activities to do with Lucas that really kept his attention. Lucas showed aided responses of 20-25 dB across the board, which are results that we haven't yet seen. I'm so pleased.

She also tried to get some unaided responses from his left ear, but the results were varied, so we're going to try again another day. She did check his hearing aid though, and felt that it was set a little low, so she increased the settings a bit. We tried it on him again around 10 AM, and by the time we checked on him around noon, he had removed it, so I guess he still doesn't like it. I was trying to hold out a little hope that he might wear it if it was providing him with a little more benefit. We'll keep on trying. I can't really blame him though, if he's not hearing anything with it. He sure loves his CI though. He kept patiently asking for it in the booth while his left ear was being tested.

We were finished testing with enough time to participate in circle time with Lucas, then we said our good-byes and he didn't even CRY! What a big boy he has become in 8 short days.

This morning we had the amazing opportunity to listen to a panel of deaf adults speak about their experiences. I listened so intently to all of their words, and cried on occasion. I was most touched by the young JTC grad who is a senior in college. She was implanted as a child, and I just really hung on her every word, all of her experiences. Some of the insight I gained from them were tips on minimizing hearing difficulties. I learned that when in restaurants, they prefer to choose tables off to the side, with their backs to the wall, and stick with locations with ample lighting to facilitate lipreading. I learned that using the lapel mic from the CI kit can assist hearing in restaurants. I learned that while driving, they can't always hear an ambulance or where it's coming from, so they rely heavily upon visual cues to spot the flashing lights. Most importantly, I learned that they all want to be known as people first who have hearing difficulties, and not just deaf people. They don't like to let it define them. What a powerful 2 hours.

It was also my first experience with oral transliteration. An oral transliterator works with deaf and hard of hearing people to interpret communication. In contrast with a sign language interpreter, oral transliterators work with oral deaf people who don't use sign to communicate but utilize speech reading instead to access all information. The woman who transliterated sat right in front of me facing the panel and silently repeated (sometimes with gestures) what was being asked by the audience and what was being said by other members of the panel. One of the panel members also talked about her experiences using a transliterator and those of her daughter. It was fascinating to learn about even more options that our kids can have access to, if needed.

This afternoon we had another guest speaker - a local ENT who has been speaking to the JTC summer session parents for several decades. Amazing. He spoke about the importance of maintaining good ear health for our kids and answered many questions. He also shared his experiences as a father of a child with hearing loss. His perspective was very unique. We were able to ask him a question about Lucas's preaurical sinuses and whether we should be concerned about them. He further explained what they are, and how they are removed (if necessary) in more depth than we've ever been shown before. It was very helpful.

I'm looking forward to a session on children's books and experience books and a Scholastic book fair tomorrow (among other things)!

1 comment:

xraevision said...

I found the young adult and youth panels among the most powerful experiences in our time at JTC. It was such a relief to all of us to hear the positive life stories of actual deaf people in similar situations as our own children. Our group also seemed to hang on every word, and I think we came away feeling extremely hopeful about our kids' future. I think we will remember the panelists for a long time to come and the very wise things they shared.