Like the post's title says, today was a pretty intense (but good) day. Lucas barely even blinked when we left, and he's not even attached to his blanket anymore. So EXCITING! The first session today was on behavior management for children with hearing loss, which I listened to very intently. Lucas is at that ripe old age of 2 1/2, where he starts to have his own ideas about the way things should be, so I was looking for some tips. The first tip I gained was prevention, prevention, prevention. If you can prevent the behavior by identifying triggers, adapting the environment, and rewarding good behavior as opposed to always focusing on negative behavior, it can cut down on behavioral issues. The second tip I got was to maintain realistic expectations based on a child's developmental level and needs. Expecting Lucas to sit still for 15 minutes while in circle time is not a realistic expectation, for example. We also learned 8 steps to effectively managing time out, and especially that it should not be seen as punishment per se, but rather as a chance for a child to calm down and self-regulate after performing an unwanted behavior. We made two experience books, one on positive behaviors and one on negative behavior for our children. This session was most beneficial to me!!
After a short break (and a little bit of spying on our kids), we gathered again for a session on expressive language. Since Lucas is doing so well with his expressive language, this lecture was particularly interesting to us. We got lots of ideas about how to encourage further, more sophisticated expansion of expressive language, such as always expanding what you say and adding new phrases, and exposing children to a variety of language environments.
We finished the day watching a documentary called Sound and Fury. We watched it during lunch, and then watched the follow-up to it, which was very helpful. I would go as far as to say that this film is an important part of every family's journey to a cochlear implant. Nate and I saw the film shortly after Lucas was implanted, and there are a few scenes that left a lasting impression. I think it's so important, because it portrays many different perspectives regarding the CI. It portrays deaf parents of deaf children, deaf parents of hearing children, and hearing parents of deaf children. The original film kind of leaves you hanging, but after seeing the follow-up, the story comes full circle. I recommend it if you haven't seen it. Although it is 10 years old, it still provides valuable perspective.
Someone in the group shared a quote today that she read somewhere that had inspired her - "dare to have the conversations with your hearing impaired child that you would have with your hearing child." It was kind of a reminder to continue to dream big.
We spent time with the other families out on the lawn tonight. Our days with them are winding down.
Lucas was born with profound bilateral sensorineural hearing loss to two hearing parents. He wore hearing aids starting at 3 months, but he got no benefit from them, as we soon found out. He received a cochlear implant in his right ear 3 days after his first birthday. His second ear was implanted 1 month before his third birthday. Cochlear implants have changed Lucas's life immensely. This site was developed to chronicle his life and progress learning to listen and speak!