People often ask me what Matthew thinks about Nolan's hearing aids. And does he mind all the trips to Buffalo (2 hours each way)? And what will happen if Matthew graduates early intervention and doesn't get the "special attention" that Nolan gets during therapy sessions? Does he mess with Nolan's hearing aids?
It is hard to balance the time required by a baby, much less a baby who has so many appointments, with the urgent demands from a toddler who does not like to wait for attention. On the whole, though, Matthew seems fairly oblivious to it all. Perhaps due to his own language delays. Or due to the fact that he's a little boy who is much more interested in frogs and finding out what happens when one puts a remote control in the microwave* than in his brother's ears.
I actually think that he regards hearing aids as the "normal" appearance of his brother's ears. When Nolan's ears are without aids (bathtime, e.g.), Matthew will point to them and say, "ew!" Nolan's ears look no different than anyone else's, but Matthew views the earmolds as the way Nolan's ears should look.
Currently, Matt gets speech therapy at the same intervals that Nolan does. This may change in the future, since Matt now has 3-4 word sentences. His articulation is still questionable, so we will have to see what happens. We have a great speech therapist who tries to include him in the activities we do with Nolan. Matthew learns some new signs each week, and he also really likes the "sound or no sound" game. It is quite funny to see our 2 1/2 year old pick up a rattle, shake it, and say in a lilting tone, "I hear that!"
On a side note, Nolan thinks there is something missing from Matt's ears, too. He constantly pulls on Matthew's ears and tries to look into them. It would seem we have a bit of an ear obsession at our house as of late, born out of the curiosity of children too young to verbalize questions as to why one has "hear-ay" and the other doesn't.
In an attempt to make sure that Matt gets some special attention, we have enrolled him in a toddler class called "2x2's." Once a week, the 2 year old children and their mothers go to preschool. Half of the class is mommy-and-me, and the second half involves the mothers getting a cup of coffee while the children learn to separate and have a typical preschool class setting. Nolan will be in daycare for this 2 hour period each week (this also comes along with the program), giving Matthew his own special activity and attention.
I don't think Matt really thinks about these things on a deep level, so we just try to balance things as best we can. Who knows? Maybe all the exposure to hearing aids and the associated therapies will lead Matt into audiology, or into AVT, or into becoming a TOD one day!
*the circuit boards in a remote control will fry in less than three seconds in a microwave. And will smell REALLY bad!