Monday, September 20, 2010

and preschool begins...

Lucas started preschool today. I'm so very sad that I couldn't be there, but we're thankful Oma can take him instead. I started to prep him on Saturday for going to school. If I had started too much earlier he would have been disappointed each and every day he didn't go. I had hoped to make an experience book ahead of time, but I settled for several books about school. It certainly prepped him for today. Oma took some great pictures today, and I will now make an experience book with pictures of him in it.

Reportedly there were few tears, and Lucas enjoyed playing in the play kitchen and with the train table. It was an abbreviated day, but I would call it a success.

This morning when I asked him who he was going to play with, he answered Nolan, and two of his teachers from John Tracy. Although it still breaks my heart, I'm excited that he still has strong, positive memories from our 3 week adventure in Los Angeles.

Lucas won't be back to school until Friday, because we have an appointment at CHOP on Wednesday. I can't wait to see what the rest of the school year brings for our little Lucas!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

eternal gratitude

We will be forever grateful to the founder of the cochlear implant, Graeme Clark. This week he won the international Lister Medal, which is one of the most prestigious honors a surgeon can receive.

This man has transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around the world with this innovative technology. If you asked me 10 years ago what the best medical invention of the twentieth century was, I would have answered the contact lens, because of my personal vision needs. Now, of course, I know without any doubt that it is the cochlear implant. Not a single day goes by that I don't marvel at Lucas's ability to hear, to understand me when I speak, and to speak for himself. Although his success is certainly not thanks to the technology alone, it would absolutely not be possible without it. 

At this summer's CHOP picnic I spoke with a Cochlear Corp rep about the annual Cochlear celebration. She mentioned that they fly Dr. Clark to the celebration every year. I hope to attend this event some year when Lucas is older, especially to meet this extraordinary man and thank him for changing Lucas's life. 

You can read the full article here. I love reading about his inspiration for inventing this technology (his father), and how he finally figured out how to physically make the implant happen (with blades of grass in a shell while at the beach). I hope you can get through it without crying, because I certainly can't.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


So much to write about, so little time. 

We are in a time of transition right now in our family. Nate and I have returned to work full-time, Lucas starts preschool 1 week from tomorrow, and we move in less than 2 weeks. Little Lucas is not sleeping so well, and I wouldn't be surprised if it lasts a few weeks until we get settled into our new home. 

The other night he woke up and toddled to the door (which he can't open) and said in the most clear, pleading voice: "Mommy, open the door, please." He repeated it several times. How can you resist that? When I opened the door, he said "I want sleep Mommy's bed." We don't do that very often, but I decided to anyway. He was not happy just sleeping in between us though, he insisted that I have my arms wrapped tightly around him. It was super sweet, but I realize that it's not normal behavior for him. All of these changes are taking a bit of a toll on him, I believe. And we haven't even started next week yet, when he starts school, has CHOP appointments, sleeps at Oma's house and moves to a new house. It won't be pretty, but this too shall pass.

We've been working hard on PT goals this month, which include jumping and doing steps independenty. We've spent lots of time at the playground, and I signed him up for a gym class through the winter. He can finally step between our dining room and our family room without holding on. Yay! Check it out! He's pretty proud of himself.

He continues to make language and speech strides, and I just get so fascinated watching him acquire new language and grammar structures. Can you say linguistic geek? I'll save those updates for another post.

For now, wish us luck with our move. We will have more time to ourselves after we move, right? We can only hope.

Friday, September 3, 2010

speech sample

When we were at the John Tracy Clinic this summer, we had the opportunity to look at Lucas's language skills with more depth. I had stopped keeping track of all of his words, because there were too many to count. But, with the help of one of their vocabulary books, we counted how many receptive and expressive words Lucas has. We came up with close to 500 expressive words, and 900 receptive words.

At a chronological age of 2 years 8 months, and a hearing age of 1 year 8 months, here is a speech sample of Lucas. I just love the Bill Martin / Eric Carle bear books (brown bear, polar bear, panda bear), but I especially love Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, for its simple animals and colors. When I read this to him, I pause to let him fill in the blanks, then I let him read the entire last page. I think it's great that the books are always summarized on the last page.  He just belts it out, so I decided I needed to get it on video.

I just love his sweet little voice, and his intonation and enthusiasm for what he's saying. It's not exactly a random language sample, because he's just making a running list of images he sees. But, I think it gives a good glimpse at how well he speaks. I think it's so cute that he adds "y" to most of the animals (ducky, froggy, etc.). I'm not quite sure why he says "black fish" instead of "black sheep", but "sheep" is actually the first word he says on the video. There are still a few articulation substitutions that he makes (doddy, instead of doggy), but he's not even 3 yet, so we're just going to wait for some of the later sounds to emerge. You can also see him sporting his new blue and white hearing aid mold (just in time for Penn State football season). It fits so beautifully and doesn't give feedback at all now. We will continue to encourage him to wear it, to stimulate that auditory nerve and see what it can do for him!

We are incredibly, incredibly proud of him and how far he's come. We never dreamed in a thousand years that he would talk this well, this soon, or even ever. To say that we are eternally grateful for this life-changing technology is a huge understatement. I still marvel every single day.