Saturday, October 31, 2009

Of Long Car Rides and Earmolds

Nolan would much rather fly to Buffalo.

We drove up to Buffalo to make impressions for new earmolds yesterday. The actual appointment was quite uneventful, with the standard pink goo and disassembling of every puzzle in our audiologist's office. The car ride to and from Buffalo, however, was interminable.

For those of you who are not "lucky" enough to experience a long car ride with Nolan, I will recap the event:

  • *drops juice cup* "MY JUICE! I WANT MY JUICE! JUIIIIIIICCCCCEEEE!"- 25 minutes.
  • *takes off one shoe* "MY SHOE!!! MY SHOEE! SHOOOOOOOEEEEEE!"-20 minutes
  • *observes Matthew sleeping* "MATTHEW! WAKE UP! WAKE UP! WAKE UP!- 10 minutes.
At this point, I can't take any more crying (because all statements in the car must be made at maximum volume, in a sobbing voice). I told him to please use his talking voice, and not his crying voice. So, for the remaining hour, this is what I heard:


His pronunciation might have made it cute, in that he sounds Italian: "I'm a-talkin' a you, Ma!" The volume, however, negated any "cute" effect.

The ride home was quite similar, except he didn't have his hearing aids in, so he was slightly louder.

The good news was that he finally fell asleep. The bad news was that he fell asleep three minutes from our house.

Thank goodness our audiologist loves us and booked our next hearing test for the earmold pickup, so we can reduce the total number of trips!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hard of Hearing Moments

Now that Nolan's language has developed to a level where he can really communicate his thoughts and ideas, we are starting to notice the words he doesn't quite hear correctly. This can lead to some rather confusing exchanges!

We were at the Strong Museum in Rochester, and told Nolan that we were going to make a cape at the Superhero station. We went and started to decorate the cape, adding ribbon and his superhero name, "No-Man." All the while, Nolan was getting more and more frustrated. Soon the tears erupted, and I asked him what was wrong.

Nolan cried out, "Where my CAKE?"

The poor little guy thought we were taking him to make a cake, and not a cape. I tried to explain, but he couldn't hear the difference between caKe and caPe, so I finally signed "not cake." I had no idea what the sign for "cape" was, so I pantomimed putting a cape on. He finally understood and was more than happy with his cape. This was definitely an instance when signing came in handy, as the word "cape" was unfamiliar and he just couldn't hear well with the enormous amount of background noise.

It might not be cake, but he ended up liking it anyway.

We had another little moment today, when our speech therapist was working with him. She is working on getting him to identify objects by function, and had several pictures of body parts in front of her. She asked him what we use to see, then helped him select the eyes (he can't do this on his own yet- it is a skill for an older age set). Then she asked him, "Nolan, what do you comb?"

Nolan looked at her, thought for a minute, then shouted, "ICE CREAM!"

We were a little confused, then realized he was confusing "comb" for "cone." Darn those low frequency consonants!

At moments like these, I think a system like Cued Speech could be very useful for helping the little guys to discriminate words with similar sounds! For now, we're just emphasizing the sounds or sometimes using the sign to help him understand what we are saying. Hopefully he'll learn to discriminate those tricky words with practice!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Random Update

We've had a good week with the grandparents visiting from California, our first snow of the year, and visits to the Strong Museum of Play and Brown's Berry Patch. We've noticed a change in Nolan's language, which is getting more complex by the minute. Recent sentences include:

  • "I don't know where Matthew is!"
  • "My not a baby. My a big boy. Matthew baby!"*
  • "I got my Grandad!"
  • "My a frog. RIBBIT RIBBIT!"
The first sentence blew me away. It was completely spontaneous, and included all the appropriate parts of speech. Also, it was six words long.

He's also been responding better to sound, which is a big relief. We had about a month of poor response, which occurred with a cold. We know that Nolan's hearing level drops to about 80dB in the presence of fluid, so it is a big relief to see his behavior returning to "normal." He's turning to his name again, and even seems to be doing well in the presence of background noise. He turned when his name was called at preschool (the voice was behind him), and responded to Daddy's voice at the very hectic "Zoo Boo" event we went to last night.

The Nexium seems to be working well, and Nolan has been eating a good amount this week. He still isn't sleeping through the night, but our recent discovery that apple juice is on the "no-no" list may help matters a little.

It is nice and uneventful around here- just the way I like it! The only upcoming appointment is for earmold impressions on the 30th and then a well-baby checkup (2 year) in November. I love it when everything goes along so smoothly!

*Matthew heartily disagrees with this statement, and has indicated on numerous occasions that he is a big boy. This is a common point of contention between the two boys!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

July 2010

About two weeks ago, I submitted our application to the John Tracy Clinic International Summer Session. Last night, I received the email stating Nolan has been accepted for the July 11-30 session in Los Angeles, California.

The John Tracy Clinic has been a tremendous source of support, encouragement, and education for our family- from the early days when we were struggling to know what Nolan's level of hearing loss "meant" to these beginning preschool years, when we are struggling with discipline, learning special education laws, and other things that come with having a hard of hearing two year old.

For those who are not aware of the John Tracy Clinic, it provides free resources for the parents of deaf and hard of hearing children. They have a correspondence course for babies, and another for preschoolers. If you have a baby or young child recently diagnosed with hearing loss, I highly recommend their program.

The summer session includes audiology services, various language assessment tests, a preschool program for the children, and classes on everything from speech development to ear anatomy for the parents. Marielle, Logan, Tayten, and Miss Kat have been through the John Tracy Summer Course, and have excellent write-ups about the experience.

We will be staying in the on-campus apartments at USC, and will walk to and from John Tracy. Since we have family in Southern California, the grandparents have quite nicely decided to take care of Matthew while Nolan and I are at school. Matt is in for the time of his life, with trips to Disneyland, the Sequoias, and other trips in the planning stage. Nolan and I won't be left out of the fun, as a trip to San Diego and a few other mini-trips are in the planning stages for the weekends.

I am also thrilled that Lucas and Noah will be attending the same summer session program. I can't wait for July to come so that we can hop on that plane and start our learning adventure!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Speech Sample: 25 Months

Nolan is obsessed with the Pixar movie Cars, so when Grandma sent a sticker book with the characters, he was absolutely thrilled! I figured I would snag a speech sample while he was so enthralled. I have noticed his "hearing bubble" seems to be smaller these days- he has had a cold recently so I am not sure if the fluid is causing trouble or if there is something more permanent going on. He's dropped his final /r/ sound (car used to be "tar" and is now closer to "tie"), initial /p/ sound, and is confusing words like "police" and "green." I'm voting for fluid troubles- hopefully it will clear out soon!