Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Party Time

Pizza party in the lounge this evening

Today's lectures at John Tracy were very interesting- including staff from the House Ear Institute for a Q&A session on cochlear implants and a lecture on auditory learning. While Nolan is nowhere near implant candidacy criteria, it was interesting to learn about the implants and to see actual displays of the three models available.

The auditory learning lecture included information on acoustic highlighting and how children use listening as the main input for developing speech: we speak what we hear. Many of the acoustic highlighting techniques are completely new to me. I never thought to whisper to a deaf child, and as it turns out, this technique enhances the audibility of higher frequency consonants. This was termed the "Buenos Dias" effect, because if you shout, "bUEnOs dIAs!" you can hear the vowels very loudly, but the consonants are masked. If you whisper, "BuenoS DiaS," you can hear the softer, high frequency consonants better.

After school, most of the John Tracy group headed out en masse to the playground on Flower St. This time, sunscreen and swimming suits were taken along for the ride- the kids had a blast playing in the fountain. I wonder what the locals think, with a huge caravan of strollers and parents wandering through a construction zone in Los Angeles. We'll do anything for a language opportunity (and a way to get the wiggles out)! After playing, everyone gathered in the lounge on the 3rd floor for pizza and pasta. We had a great time, though the noise made Nolan crazy. He huddled with Dennis and wouldn't play with any of the kids.

Nolan's "safety zone."

He was much happier when he ripped out his hearing aids and didn't have to deal with the huge amount of noise. We've noticed many issues with his ability to function in large groups, and my gut says that Nolan just doesn't deal with noise and high activity levels well. He does fine in smaller groups of a few children, or on an open playground with many children (which is not as noisy). If there is a lot of activity or noise in a room, however, he shuts down or tenses up. He's also shy and doesn't like attention focused on him, so he's much happier in Daddy's lap (or Mommy's lap) than socializing with the other kids. He did quite a bit better when many of the kids left. He also requested that I turn his hearing aids off when the noise level was too high- this is interesting, because he almost NEVER asks for me to turn them off!

A typical "overstimulated" reaction-laying down away from the noise!

Tomorrow is a very full day. Nolan has his first audiological testing at the clinic. They are going to run bone conduction first, so hopefully we will be able to get a good sense of his sensorineural loss. I always have anxiety around booth testing, since we tend to get rather fluctuant results. Frankly, Nolan's unaided hearing seems to be kind of random in "real life," too. I've seen him hear a toaster pop up from across the room (unaided), but then be unable to hear a friend calling his name from 5 feet away later the same day. I am hopeful that we will get a firm grasp on his "hearing picture," as it were.

I will not blog tomorrow, because we are headed out to a Dodger's game tomorrow night. Someone (very generously) donated Dodger's tickets to the John Tracy Clinic, and our family won a raffle. We get to sit in an all-you-can-eat pavillion, which is possibly the most awesome invention in baseball. Dodger Dogs, here we come!


Lucas'Mommy said...

That's really cool about the Dodger's tickets! We're also anxiously awaiting our first booth testing tomorrow. Eeek!

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Woo hoo! The ball game, I mean :D

Have a great time!


rouchi said...

I love your updates, its so like as if we too are living those moments.Thx for these, makes me want to come to visit them myself.Would love to know the procedure.Maybe it would fill gaps in our lives too.
A friend of mine also has these issues when there is too much noise.Prisha on the other hand is very at home and never has issues even if the music is full blast.I keep worrying though.My friend had loss at 28 yrs of age and she does have problem adjusting to noise.With Prisha we had all kinds of sounds playing while we spoke to her.Maybe this is why she has no issues.Do add in more pics.

xraevision said...

I have to admit that I felt a twinge of jealousy when I saw your pizza party photo. I miss our JTC friends so much, and wish we had made more of an effort to hang out with the other families in the first week. I guess it was just all so overwhelming.

X also has issues with too much noise in a room, especially at family gatherings or birthday parties. He attempts to get involved in the activities and seems to tolerate the noise for an hour or so, and then he pulls out his aids and withdraws a bit. We make sure that we give him breaks throughout such events, which seems to keep him going longer.

Have fun at the game (all you can eat!!!) and I'll be looking forward to your audiology post.

Julia said...

As you know, Ben has some of the same issues with noisy situations, and it's hard to tell how much is shyness and how much is hearing loss. It's probably a combination, the shyness exacerbating the hearing difficulty. We got some goals written into his IEP having to do with monitoring and addressing these behaviors. When we (finally!) get his IEP in the mail, I can share those with you. Also, the SLP at NYU (we just had an appointment with her yesterday) is going to suggest some goals along those lines which we might try to incorporate into a future IEP if necessary.