I met with our new speech pathologist yesterday, and am so very happy that we finally have someone who has worked with hearing loss before. She noticed Nolan's earmolds weren't seated tightly enough and showed me how to really get them sealed. We talked for quite some time about his level of loss (moderate) and what we want for him. I told her we wanted to go the AVT route because his aided hearing is in the normal range and we want him in a mainstream school setting.
I also expressed some concerns, because Nolan cannot hear us in restaurants (even aided) or when there is a lot of background noise. Bath time also causes some concern for us, because he sometimes seems to hear us and sometimes seems to be in his own world (kids with moderate loss are often accused of "selective hearing").
After some conversation, we came up with a plan that would work for our family and our situation. We will not go with a strict AVT plan, but do AVT therapy and learn some bath related and food/eating related signs. This sort of flexibility works well for us, and eases some of my anxiety about taking him to places where he simply can't hear well.
She was astonished that our former SLP wanted to reduce services for Nolan, especially when his test scores show a lag in receptive language. She said this is a common finding in kids with hearing loss, so we need to really work on this area and narrate our activities, step up the nursery rhymes, and sing and play one-on-one with him.
To that end, we have a new nursery rhyme that Nolan loves, and incorporates several speech characteristics:
(Place baby on your knee and gently bounce him/her in time to the rhythm of the rhyme)
This is the way the ladies ride, pace pace pace.
This is the way the gentlemen ride, trot trot trot
Then along come the country folk!
- For the "ladies ride," your voice is high and soft, and the tempo is slow.
- For the "gentlemen's ride," your voice is low and staccato, the tempo is fast.
- For the "country folk" you trill with your tongue (think Mork channeling his home world*), and move the baby around in a silly pattern.
Nolan seems to love it, especially the "country folk" portion of the rhyme.
*I hope people remember Mork and Mindy.... I'm starting to feel old!