During lunch today, we watched the documentary "The Sound and the Fury." I had heard about the program, but had never actually watched it. It was a very moving film about the struggles of a Deaf family, trying to decide on a cochlear implant for their five year old daughter. We watched the follow-up ("Six Years Later") as well. Prior to this trip, we had always been concerned about Nolan having a progressive hearing loss, since his ABR report read "rising to normal" and his current hearing levels are not normal. We now know that his loss is far different than what was originally diagnosed, so we will not ever have to worry about getting a cochlear implant. Still, the documentary was very emotional for me- any time I see a baby getting a hearing test, it brings back all those raw emotions.
Speaking of hearing loss, we had very repeatable bone conduction scores today. His sensorineural loss is borderline normal (25dB) sloping to moderate in the high frequencies. He is 45dB at 2000Hz and 40dB at 4000Hz. This is the part of his hearing loss caused by damaged hair cells in the cochlea, to my friends who aren't as familiar with hearing loss.
Nolan's actual hearing level is in the moderate range for one ear (about 50dB) and moderately severe for the other ear (about 65dB). This means he has a large air-bone gap- indicative of a conductive hearing loss. This is probably the cause of the fluctuation in his hearing levels.
Now that we have two identical bone conduction tests, we will have to make an appointment with our ENT to discuss the results. I'm not sure where this will lead us, but I am indescribably thankful to John Tracy for this test. I can't imagine going on indefinitely with incorrect information. Without John Tracy, who knows how long it would have taken us to get an accurate picture of Nolan's hearing loss? We might have stumbled along for quite some time, anxious and stressed over the perception of a progressive hearing loss. Now, we know that he is likely to fluctuate a little, but unlikely to progressively deteriorate in hearing levels.
We had great lectures on behavior management and expressive language- I will share more detailed notes on those lectures when I bring my binder home tomorrow. I left it in the classroom, and I don't trust my brain to remember any detailed information!
We did have a parent-teacher conference today, and it was only full of good news. Nolan's shyness in class is dissipating, which is wonderful. While still a tad shy, he is playing with the other kids and even giving answers in class. Everyone agrees that Nolan needs an FM system, and that his speech and language are excellent. We're not quite sure what to do about his IEP request when we get home- we still want an IEP, but he may not need the number of therapy sessions we currently receive. We have an IEP role-playing session tomorrow, and I am looking forward to that class.
I thought it was interesting that one of the things the teachers work on is "natural" language. While we strive to teach our kids to speak in complete sentences, sometimes a shorter answer is better. For instance, if you ask a group of hearing children, "Who wants a cracker?" the answer would be, "I do!" and not "Yes, I would like a cracker please." Natural speech patterns are an important part of language development, too. I never thought about this aspect of speech, but it is vital for social interchanges.
We didn't go far for an outing tonight. We joined several families on the lawn in front of the Annenberg apartments and let the kids play. Then we joined Lucas and Noah for a walk to La Taquiza. We really enjoyed the food and the company!
Nolan had some trouble going to sleep tonight, requesting several stories, declaring he was scared, and then having a major tantrum about his "ears." He wanted them back on, and they were already in the Dry and Store. I think one of our next Experience Books will be about bedtime routines and hearing aids. He really doesn't like to be without his aids right now!