Tuesday, July 31, 2007

So many words, so little time....

Wow. I have begun to see some areas that we need to work on some more with Chance. Those years without hearing all that he needed to has left him with gaps to fill in his vocabulary.

We have been working on things such as: fridge and refrigerator mean the same thing. And T.V. and television are one and the same. These are things that non-deaf 7 year olds would know.

Chance is eager to learn and it is funny to see the amazement on his face when he realizes that certain words mean the same thing. For instance, large and big. Or shy and bashful.

Today we played a game in the car as we drove. We would all take turns calling out things that we saw, and then everyone else in the car would call out when they saw them too. When we saw 'cranes' we talked about them, to help solidify the word in his vocabulary.

We continually listen to Chance as he says things and try to give him the correct way things are said. For instance when his brother was hiding around the corner Chance said," He was hiding on the corner!" So we rephrased it for him: "He was hiding around the corner?" Chance nodded.

Chance amazes us with how far he has come since we found out that he was deaf. It will take effort for all of us to catch Chance up, but it is worth it! Chance picks up on things quite beautifully now that he has the implants. It is not perfect, but his language and communication skills are continually growing. I hear him talking with his friends and laying out the details of being bad guys or animal rescue workers. I find it fascinating to hear my deaf son explain with detail and vigor where the hideout is, or lay out what must be done to save an injured stuffed raccoon that lays with his wounds wrapped in masking tape on my stairs. He plays imaginative games for hours with other kids in the neighborhood. Just as a 7 year old boy should.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Chance hears the baby crying.

It was one of those nights where you think the baby is sound asleep and so you begin to settle in for a little winding down.

Chance and I were sitting in the rocking chair when I thought I heard the baby whimper. I perked up my ears because it was a kind of muffled sound.

Chance who was laying across my lap asked,"Is that the baby?"

I was rather surprised that Chance had heard it too, since I wasn't posititive I had heard it.

Sure enough, a few seconds later, the baby cried out letting us know that he was not asleep and needed some attention.

Chance is hearing more and more everyday. Not only is he hearing more, but he is hearing better. He is discerning more sounds. It is exciting to go through this journey with Chance and witness the unfolding of Chance's ability to hear and communicate each day.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Raindrops keep falling on my head....

Ahhhh, we really like the implants that are water resistant:) We were at an amusement park yesterday having the time of our lives, when it started to rain. Initially we thought we could just dash into the pioneer village at the park and wait out the storm. After all, it had rained the day before for a few minutes and the storm had just blown over after a bit. After we had checked out all of the pioneer artifacts, it looked like the storm had run its course so we ventured out for more rides.

Then the downpour resumed afresh. No kid wants to leave an amusement park just because of a little rain! If Chance still had hearing aids, we would have either had to leave the park, or taken the aids off and Chance would not have been able to hear anything. Chance is so used to being able to hear now, that he does not appreciate it when he can not hear.

Lucky for us, Chance's implants were not afraid of the water. The implants are not fully waterproof, you wouldn't want to wear them swimming, for instance. But the rain, they could take. We did wind up putting Chance's baseball cap on, but all the kids put their hats on to fend off at least some of the rain.

Yes, we like the water resistant implants. They served us well.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Fireworks

A few days ago, we sat on the sidewalk at some friends house watching fireworks go off. Chance was sitting on the grass next to me, and his dad and his pyrotechnic friend were rigging fireworks to create a show for all of us.

I was talking to someone and turned to check on Chance just as one of those squealing fireworks went off. Chance's eyes got big and he covered his ears yelling,"That is so loud!"

Then it occurred to me that this was the first July that Chance has had both of his implants. He was realizing for the first time that fireworks make lots of noise.

Chance watched in amazement as the sparks flew up in the air and every once in a while, he would uncover his ears only to cover them back up again because the squealing was not over yet.

Chance did not cover his ears when any of the other fireworks went off, just the squealers.
I realized that at the 4th of July parade we attended, that Chance would smile and cover his ears when the simulated gun shots would go off too. "That is so loud!" He would say. None of the other noises phased him at the parade either. He just wanted to figure out where the big bang was coming from when the guns went off.

Chance and his siblings made a flag out of paper and markers the day before the 4th of July parade. They asked me how many lines there were and how many stars they should add. then they wrote,"God Bless America" across the bottom. I didn't think that much about it, until we got to the parade and Chance and his siblings pulled the flag out on a stick to take to the parade with us.

In our area parade, thousands of people line the streets to see floats, balloons, police on motorcycles and soldiers going by. Veterans march from World War II and Vietnam along with those currently in the National Guard. One truck pulled the families of soldiers currently serving in Iraq. Each time any soldiers would march by, the kids would wave their flag. Out of all the people lining the street, several servicemen noticed the flag the kids were waving. Some soldiers saluted and one even ran over to shake the kids hands saying that he had seen their flag and had to come over and meet them. It was quite touching to see how the flag affected the veterans and current soldiers alike. Chance loved it.

So Chance celebrated his first July with bilateral implants and realized that as far as holidays go, this is definitely one of the loudest!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Chance can now tell our secrets..

When I was 18, I taught the 3 and 4 year olds at church. They would tell me about their new bed, their grandma's house, their haircut and how their brother had hit them while they were playing together. They would also give a report on what had happened in their lives that Sunday morning. I heard things like,"Ya, my dad was mad at my mom because she was late." Or "My brother got grounded for saying a swear word while we were eating breakfast." Oh the innocence of children and their ability to tell it like it is:)

Well, now Chance can report things that we do to other people. That certainly was not a problem before. This week Chance and I were sitting with his auditory-verbal therapist when she started asking him questions about various things around that Chance would see.

'What do we do at a stoplight?" She asked Chance.

It took Chance a minute to register what a stoplight was, but then he was on a role.

"We go when the light is green." Chance answered.

"Good. What other colors do stoplights have?"

"Red. That means we stop." Chance responded.

"Good. Are their any other colors on a stoplight?" The therapist asked.

"Yellow." Chance said. "That means......" At this point Chance slowly turned and looked at me. His facial expressions showed an internal struggle was at hand. Chance then turned to the therapist and said,

"Yellow means stop, but my mom just kept going." Chance said speaking slowly for emphasis.

The room was silent except for the therapist who was trying not to laugh too hard. She let Chance know that she had done that before too. (I would just like to say that the light turned yellow AFTER I had started into the intersection.)

Now Chance can tell stories about his parents just like any other child does. And apparently, he is paying attention to details :)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Music to our ears...

Chance has begun to use phrases like, "We got a ton!" Evidence that he is picking up on phrases that are said around him and adding them into his own vocabulary. He knew when to use the phrase "We got a ton", too. It made total sense in the context he used it in.

It is funny when you have a deaf child - even those little come backs that kids say that usually annoy you as a parent are music to your ears. Instead of being upset, I find myself smiling. One such incident happened when we stopped to get the mail. The kids were all clamoring around telling me that it was their turn to open the mail box. (oh what little pleasures children find in life!)

Chance was adamant that it was HIS turn to open the mailbox. And actually it was. But I told him that if he opened the mailbox, his brother would get to open the door to the house. Chance started to plead his case that his brother had been able to do BOTH yesterday. I told Chance that he had to choose. Chance did not like this and started to sulk. I used one of those motherly phrases,"Your going to be fine." Chance shot back, "No, I'm not!" Obviously Chance got the gist of my meaning and he did not agree.

We've come a long way from the early days when Chance could not express how he felt about something. If there was a disagreement with his brother, Chance could not really tell his side.

Once when we had just found out about Chance being deaf, he threw a fit when we called him in from playing outside. It was dark and time to come in. Chance was highly agitated and would not come away from the door. For all we knew, Chance was upset that he had to come in. Finally, Chance slammed open the door leading out to the garage which hit the pantry door making a hole (in our new house:) This was not Chance-like behavior, so his dad and I both sat down with Chance to try to figure out why he was so upset. After some effort Chance managed to convey to us that he had left his toy out on the grass in the front yard and it was raining. As soon as we recovered his toy, he was fine.

Now we can just take advantage of the fact that Chance can tell us what his needs are and how he is feeling. And if Chance has difficulty expressing what he wants to say, he has the skills to rephrase it or work with us or his friends to get the message across that he wants. It is a wonderful place to be for all of us.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Chance Speaks


We shot this video a few nights ago - thought we would let Chance tell you a bit about himself - in his own words.

Chance says a prayer..

Chance was picked to say the prayer in the children's meeting at church today. A child from each class is chosen every few months to read a scripture, say a prayer, and give a talk. Chance was asked to say the prayer. We have known since last week so Chance knew that it was coming.

We asked Chance this morning if he was ready and he said yes. He was not phased at all. We were wondering how Chance would react to his voice coming through a microphone. It used to be that when Chance heard his voice through a microphone, it would throw him off a bit. Then, he would get nervous and his voice would go really high. It was hard to understand him at these moments.

Today, though, was his time to shine. He got up, and without any help, gave a beautiful prayer from his heart. He was very thoughtful, and very understandable. He was not phased by the sound of his voice coming through the microphone and his voice stayed steady and even. When he was done, Chance's face was radiant and he threw his arms around me and gave me a big kiss. What more could a mom ask for?

I was sitting up front, as I lead the children in singing, so I could see the reaction of all of the teachers and children when Chance had finished. Most were smiling and many had a look of pleasant surprise. They did not know that Chance was so capable. He proved to many that even though he was deaf, he could get up and participate like any other child in the room. Our church congregation has been very supportive of Chance, but not everyone interacts with him often enough to witness the incredible progress that he makes on a seemingly daily basis. Everyone that was in that room today knows now!