Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Chance's audiological results..

Chance had an audiological appintment last week where he was tested to see how well he was hearing with both implants on. And then how well he was doing with just the right one on and then just the left.

Chance is amazingly patient as he sits in the soundproof booth throwing cars into a bucket each time he hears a beep. Chance is doing realy well. To liven things up, the audiologist gave Chance a ramp he could set on his lap so he could make the cars jump off into the bucket. He enjoyed that immensely.

One test called the HINT which stands for "hearing in noise test", was administered. The funny thing is, there was no noise, Chance just listened to hear what he could hear. You can do the test with back ground noises going on, but that would have taken an extra 2 hours and as it was, Chance had been listening for 2 hours already. So, we decided to divide up the next appointment into 2 sessions. One day we will do the HINT test with noise, and one day we'll do just the regular tests. Our next appiontment will be in April if all continues to go well with Chance's implant program.

Chance's last test was in August and he scored 73% in his right ear, and 72% in his left ear. With both, he got 74%. Now, he is scoring 87% with the right implant, 87% with the left, and 91% together. So he continues to hear even better than before.

One of the other tests, is the CNC word test where random words are spoken by a taped voice. This is harder than listening to a live voice. In August he scored 50% with his right ear, 56% with his left ear, and 54% with both together. Now he is scoring 62% in his right ear, 68% in his left ear, and 80% together. He has made signifcant progress in his ability to correctly catch what word is said since August. Even hearing adults have a harder time on this test because there is no context, just random words.

The last test is the CNC phrases. This test is a bit easier than the single word test because in a phrase, you can guess what is said by figuring out what makes sense with the other words in the phrase. In August, Chance scored 77% in his right ear, 79% in his left and 83% with both implants together. Now he is scoring 81% in his right ear, 82% in his left ear, and 91% with both implants together.

If there is any question still as to whether having two implants really makes a difference, I think the tests show that Chance is getting a great benefit from having two. Even if the precentages are small on some of the tests, hearing just a bit more, means that you are able to understand more at school, lets you know more about what is going on on the playground, and makes it so that you don't have to focus so hard when hearing.

Theses tests are based on adult responses not child responses. That means that the percentages are put together by what adults score on these tests. Adults who usually have a much greater language base than a child does. Adults are better at guessing what is said too, since they have more of a language base to fall back on when something doesn't sound quite right. Adutls average score on some of these tests is about 75%. Chance, is scoring better than adults with a larger langage base and much more experience.

On the word test, adults are at a disadvantage though, as are older kids. By a certain age, when adutls or older children hear something and it doesn't make sense, they won't give an answer when asked what they thought they heard. They don't want to look stupid. Chance is young enough that if he thinks he hears the word "ping" he'll report that he heard the word "ping", even though it doesn't make sense. This way an audiologist can see that Chance is hearing the ending sound of the word "thing" but not the first. It gives a better assessent of what is being heard.

Chance is scoring quite a bit better than adults do on some of these tests which is phenominal considering that he has a much shallower language base to rely on. He is blowing us away with his progress and we know that he is getting divine help with his hearing as well.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Crickets for sale!

We have critters at our house that require crickets to survive so we are regular visitors to our local pet store. Since the pet store is located in a strip mall, I can pull the car right up to the door. Due to the lengthy stay required when one takes 4 children into a pet store, sometimes, Chance and his older brother will just run in and buy crickets while the rest of us are in the car.

While on the way home the other night, as we pulled up to the pet store for a regular purchase of crickets, Chance informed me that he wanted to go in and buy the crickets. By himself, while I waited in the car. It was only Chance and I as we were returning from a cochlear implant appointment.

So I gave Chance the money, told him to buy 15 crickets and he bounded out of the car and into the pet store. He returned shortly proudly holding a bag full of wiggly crickets up for me to see.

Chance was proud to tell everyone at home that he had gone into the pet store and bought crickets all by himself.

I am glad that he wanted to take the initiative. It is good for Chance to interact with everyday people that are around him and be able to express himself and get what he needs. He was confident that he could just go in and do it and that is what we like to see.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Those rhyming words in noisy environments....

Chance has decided and declared that he wishes to visit Disneyland. Knowing this, when Chance told me that one of his school friends had missed a week of school for a Disneyland vacation, I brought up the subject during dinner. Chance's siblings had many things to say when I mentioned Disneyland as they also have expressed a desire to visit the land where wishes come true. So the conversation went something like this:

Me: "Chance, how did Peyton like Disneyland?"
Kids at our dinner table: "Disneyland! I want to go to Disneyland!"
"Peyton got to go to Disneyland? For a whole week?!"

Chance: (very confused) "Satan? At Disneyland?"

Everyone at the table suddenly goes silent. Satan after all is not a typical dinner time topic of conversation.

Me: "PEYTON. Did Peyton like Disneyland?"

Chance: "Oh, yeah, he said it was fun!"

It is amazing how just one little letter can change the whole meaning of what your saying :)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Spelling, spelling, spelling..

Chance continues to bring home 100% on his spelling tests. We are amazed by this as the words are in word families which means they sound an awful lot alike. Last week two of the words were skunk and sunk. Very subtle differences. When we first went over the list with Chance, he had to focus on hearing the difference in the two words. You could practically see the cogs turning in his little head. He usually gets upset if you show him a word on the list as he wants to figure it out with out looking, so I spread the words out emphasizing each sound. His teacher goes over the list at school, making sure that the kids know what each word means. Then we have Chance verbally spell out the words each night. It seems to be working, he is discriminating between very similar words. It is fun to watch the focus Chance puts into these words. He is determined to hear the differences. Go Chance!!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Nibble.

Chance has learned another new word...nibble. I got a plate to hang up in my kitchen and it says nibble on it. Nibble is just a fun word to use I think. Chance was intrigued when he read the plate and wanted to know what nibble meant.

This is one of those words that makes me realize how "wordy" the English language is. There are so many words to describe things. You could say, "I just want a bite. I just want a nibble. I just want a taste." There are lots of words for Chance to learn! I wonder sometimes if it seems weird or confusing for a child who is diagnosed as being deaf later like Chance was, when so many words and phrases can be used to say basically the same thing. Here you are, trying to put a name to all of the things around you, and just when you think you've got it figured out, someone uses another name or phrase to describe something that throws you off, so you are not sure what they are talking about.

Chance walked out of the kitchen repeating the word nibble like he was trying to lock it in to his brain.
He does that sometimes when he learns a new word.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Did you hear that New YorK?

We have been working with Chance on certain sounds that he needs to work on. He is doing really well, but there are just some times when he speaks and I think, "Ok, I know what he said, and most people would understand what he said too. But there is just something about the way it sounds. What is it?" Usually it is
just something subtle like Chance is saying his g's too soft or the emphasis is on the wrong syllable in a word.

We go over these little speech errors and practice on a regular basis. Chance is really good about going over words that end in g or have a th in them.

It is a balance that you try to find as a parent. You want to help them have the best speech possible, but you don't want them to feel like all you do is correct them.

You also don't want your child's memories of childhood all tied into their deafness. We want Chance to feel like any other kid with his deafness being a part of him but not the main and only part of him. So it is a delicate balance of working with Chance on speech errors and letting him just be a kid.

Apparently, Chance also has a desire to improve his speech. It is always a plus when the desire comes from within as opposed to just being forced on you. Chance made the point of telling me the other day that he was saying the k sound correctly. He was playing with friends and New York was an important part of what they were playing. Suddenly all of the kids rushed to the front door to go outside. Chance stopped though and turned to me and said, "Did you hear that New York? He said pronouncing a perfect k sound.
"That was so good!" I told him.

Chance beamed at me and then ran outside to join his friends.

He is getting it! I loved that he was aware of it on his own and self monitored. Nothing motivates you to work on something better than if you want to do it:)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Observations at School

Chance continues to do really well in school. He is catching on to what he needs to, and is excelling. Starting in March, Chance will stay in the mainstream classroom after math without an aid. He already keeps up and in fact excels in math with out the need for an aid in the classroom. In March, he will stay in the mainstream classroom after math instead of going to a School for the Deaf teacher. He will still get some specialized languages class time after lunch, which he needs, but we'll see how he does on his own in the afternoon. Both teachers are confident that Chance will do just fine.

Maybe I should explain what the aid does. She is great, we love her. She is in the classroom because there are 2 deaf children in there, but she helps with all of the kids. She watches to make sure that Chance and his deaf friend are catching on and keeping up. If she needs to she will help them, but the goal is to have the kids be as independent as possible. Chance's class has around 26 students and there is not a regular aid in there that is there all the time except the aid from the School for the Deaf. She has told me that Chance is doing really well and does not require a lot of help.

I go in and help in the classroom at least once a week which allows me to see how Chance is doing and if he seems to be struggling. Many times I am reading with the kids or helping with assessment tests. Chance is holding his own and beyond with the other kids. I have stood out in the hall when Chance does not know that I am there to watch and see how he is doing too.

I have also watched Chance in P.E. a few times. I was curious to see how well he was hearing in that big gym with sound bouncing all over the place. I was actually surprised at all that he was able to catch. If he doesn't hear what has been said, he can watch the other kid s which I am sure that he has done once or twice before to catch on:)

The only thing Chance has said that he does not like at school is the lunchroom. He says that "It is too loud." I have eaten with Chance in the lunchroom before and loud is an understatement.

The one thing that Chance does wonder about though, is why some kids only have to go to school for half a day. Chance never had half a day school except in preschool. In kindergarten, he went all day so that he could have extra language help. He has figured out though that other kids only go for half a day and he wants to know why they only have to go for half a day. Then he tells me that he wants to go for half a day.