Wednesday, July 30, 2008

An Unnecessary Trip

When we made our last trip to the audiologist to pick up earmolds, two appointments were made. One for a hearing test, and the other for earmold impressions. I received appointment cards for both appointments, but foolishly never consulted them and remembered the dates (the 28th and the 7th). When I got home, I wrote down the appointments for July 28th (impressions) and August 7th (hearing test and earmold pickup).

Turns out I should have consulted the appointment cards and not trusted my feeble brain. I took the boys on a four hour tour of Western New York on Monday for no good reason! When I arrived at the audiologist's office, we were not on the list for the day. After consulting with the receptionist, it turns out our appointments were for August 7th and AUGUST 28th. Oops. Oh, well- that's what we're good for. Supporting local gas stations and the toll booths!

I also received Matthew's informal testing results. He is above age level for receptive communication (117th percentile), expressive communication (108th percentile), and severely impaired in articulation. I don't have the percentile yet, but a severe impairment means he is at least 2 standard deviations below his peer group. He doesn't say most of his vowels correctly, omits final and middle consonants, and has a few consonant subsitutions. We will, of course, be pursuing another hearing test just to make sure. I doubt a hearing problem with expressive/receptive scores that high, but there is always the possibility of a high frequency or mild hearing loss that is affecting his articulation. I am a tad concerned about the complete lack of plurals. This means he will stay in the early intervention system until his third birthday, and will likely transition to the local school district under an IEP for speech.

The wondeful thing about the early intervention system is that both boys have therapy on the same day in our home, so I don't have to go trotting off to an office four times per week (twice for Matt and twice for Nolan). With speech therapy, MOPS, library hour, and the Two-By-Two's program, I am going to be one busy mama!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

First Steps

Nolan took his first steps on July 3, but is just now starting to prefer walking to crawling. It was just before bedtime, so he is sans "ears." Sometimes he responds to us with his aids off, sometimes he doesn't. I guess this is why kids with moderate levels of hearing loss are often accused of having selective hearing!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Battle Wound

Turns out curiosity isn't always such a good thing! A little girl grabbed Nolan's ear when I was at playgroup yesterday, trying to get at his hearing aid. Her mother and I quickly removed her hand from Nolan's ear, but he has developed a nasty bruise that is on the top of his ear. His left ear is quite sore now, and it doesn't make inserting that earmold any easier!

On a more positive note, Nolan signed "ball" for the first time during therapy today. He now signs "more" and "ball," and has imitated "all done" and "milk." He also waves bye-bye, and babbles while doing that. Sometimes it sounds like "bababa," though usually it is "dadada" or "yayayaya."

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Out Cold

We had a playgroup meeting at Ellery Park this afternoon, so both the boys are exhausted and OUT COLD! I totally believe in miracles now- two kids napping at the same time. Though Nolan may get nominated for "What Not to Wear"- I was looking for a pair of socks and grabbed the first ones I could find.

We are having a busy speech therapy week. Nolan continues to verbalize, but hasn't added any more consonants to his repertoire. He is babbling with "N" and "B" again, though "M" is still missing. Those sounds are in the same region on the speech banana, so it looks like we just took a brief hiatus from trying those out.

Matthew is getting evaluated by Early Intervention this week. He is at age level (or above) for receptive language, but his expressive is probably a tad behind. He is starting to use 4 word sentences, but does not use plurals or verbs ending in "ing." He should be starting to say things like "boys running," but would say "boy run" instead. Actually, he'd probably say, "boy we" since he can't say any of the sounds in the word "run." We're doing the articulation testing on Wednesday, since his eligibility for EI rests on the results of that test. He doesn't have a hearing impairment (that we know about), so if he has gone from a "severe articulation delay" to a "moderate articulation delay," he will graduate from EI. If he fails to improve on his own, then he'll re-enter the system later on. Hopefully he'll either graduate and improve, or stay in the system. I don't really want him doing a yo-yo into and out of services.

We have a new song/game to play with Nolan. You do need two "rhythm sticks" (two thick, short dowels or cylindrical blocks). I can't find the music for this one (and I can't carry a tune in a bucket, so I'm not going to sing it), but the gist of it is:

We hit the sticks up high

Hit the sticks up high

Hit the sticks up high

Because its fun to do.

You then alter the instructions to "hit the sticks down low," "hit the sticks behind us," and "roll them on the floor." Any variation will work- Matthew actually follows along with the action and Nolan just enjoys whacking the sticks together. It does introduce positional concepts, and the kids love banging things together.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

In a Month and a Half..

Nolan turns one! As we live rather far from family and have no one visiting in late August, his birthday will be a rather small affair. My biggest challenge is to find great toys that we don't already have, owing to the fact that we have a 2 1/2 year old who has amassed an assortment of Duplos and cars, toy tools and bikes.

I went through our toys and got rid of the ones that Nolan is now too old for (the walker, the baby gym, and the bouncy chair). Going through our stock of toys, I tried to find toys we are lacking, and ones that would be good for Nolan's speech and language development. Any ideas are welcomed, from those who have toddlers and have a toy that they love! My ideas so far are:

  • A Little Tikes "Jungle Jamboree" piano. We don't have any real music-making toys.
  • The Fisher Price Little People farm
  • A toy lawn mower (we have one, but we have two boys)!
  • Richard Priddy books (we have three)
  • A toy with a "repeat speaker" built into it- it repeats what the child says.
  • A toy telephone (amazingly, we don't have one)
  • A See and Say

We have a good set of unit blocks that my little guys play with all the time (probably THE favorite toy), so I might get the castle-shaped extension set for those.

I am also going to make a "learning to listen" sound box, but I don't want that to be for the little guy's birthday. He repeated the "aaaaa" I made for "airplane" the other day, and it totally rocked my world. We seem to have lost our "B," "M," and "N" sounds, and I'm hoping that's just a phase. We have "D," "L," and "A." Usually Nolan wanders around making a "ldldldldldl" noise, which is impossible for any of us to reproduce. In the meantime, I'm working extra hard on "MAMA" since he seems to have the "dadada" sound down pat. Matthew FINALLY says mama, after 2 1/2 years of work! Hopefully Nolan will say it a little sooner than that!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Pre-CPSE Meeting and Hearing Test Scheduled

Matthew at Panama Rocks

We had Matthew's pre-CPSE (Committe on Preschool Special Education) meeting at the local school district last Thursday. This was not an official affair, but just a "hello" to the school district and make them aware that Matthew has a likelihood of transitioning to the local school district for speech services.

We aren't quite sure if he will be declassified when he goes through his next round of early intervention testing or not. His receptive and expressive language are age appropriate now, but his articulation is still fairly atrocious. For example, take the following phrase:

"Go leet. Die. Ge'in car. See peet in wa. Wa. Too pie wie. Go peet."

For those who can't translate Matthew-ese, that's:

"Go to the lake. Drive. Get in the car. See fish in the water. Too far away. Go to the fish."

If he comes out with a "moderate" as opposed to "severe" articulation disorder, then he will not qualify for further services. I did request that he get another audiological evaluation to verify there is no hearing loss as a cause for his articulation issues, especially if he ends up with a declassification recommendation.

Luckily we brought Nolan in for the meeting, so they could see the whole family situation. They readily agreed that we should have Matthew's hearing tested since he speaks more Klingon than English.

Nolan with Grandpa at Cook Forest

Nolan has guaranteed services due to his hearing loss, so the CPSE chair was happy to meet him and told us her TOD would be glad to be working as a TOD again (the TOD is currently working with students who need speech therapy, but there are not other kids with hearing loss in our school district).

We also saw the audiologist this week, to pick up earmolds and more dessicant (darn that humidity). Our audiologist scheduled another hearing test for August 7th, so we will be taking impressions for earmolds on July 28, doing a hearing test August 7th, and going in for the MRI (pending insurance approval) on August 11th. I am reassured our audiologist is keeping good tabs on Nolan's hearing levels, especially since he seemed to lose a small amount of high frequency hearing between his ABR and first booth test.

Oh, yeah- and Nolan took his first steps. I can't believe my little guy is starting to walk!

It looks like we are on for a busy August and September, but then things should slow down and we will get back to our normal pace of life.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Meeting New Friends

The Optimist Club in Jamestown sponsored a Jr. Deaf Club event at a local camp on Chautauqua Lake. It was absolutely wonderful to meet a group of parents who have "been there and done that." All of the deaf and hard of hearing youth were older than Nolan by at least 5 or 6 years, but it is nice to have the shared experience and collective knowledge in how to get the most out of our early intervention/special education services.

We had hot dogs, talked, and the kids all played wonderfully together. I didn't get any pictures because we were too busy just relaxing and talking to the other parents. There were a variety of communication methods used (all the kids were oral, but most also used some sign as well). We get to meet again in late August, this time at a park near our house.

In the meantime, we have been exploring various local places and learning lots of new vocabulary words (mostly for Matt, but Nolan picks this stuff up while in my front pack). Here are some new words for the week:

From Panama Rocks:

Matt: Slippery, boulder, roots, moss, fungus, streaming light, sharp, crevasse.
Nolan: Rock, tree, chipmunk, light, dark (and all the other words overheard).

From the zoo:

Matt: Rotate, tunnel, camouflage, exhibit, chimes, smelly.
Nolan: Ice cream, dirty, warthog, polar bear, mister.

From the Overlook Park:

Matt: Colorful, mushroom, poisonous, slimy, steep, drenched.
Nolan: Well, Nolan slept for most of this little hike!

We're having a great time exploring some local hiking trails and getting the kids introduced to the woods. Let's just hope we hold off the introduction to poison ivy for quite some time!