Sunday, February 10, 2013

Happy Birthday to my Ears!

February 9th, 2012 was activation day.  Madison's 'new ears' would be turned on.  For the very first time, Madison will be able to hear our voices, hear the sounds around the neighborhood, and hear us tell her how much we love her.  This was going to be a whole new world for her... and for us. And now, here we all are, February 9, year later. 

It really is truly amazing how much progress she has made.  Madison had an appointment on Friday at NYU Cochlear Implant Center with her audiologist, Alison and speech therapist, Rosemarie.  Madison was going to have her "1 year post activation" evaluation in the sound booth. 

The appointment began with Madison sitting on my lap with Rosemarie in a sound booth.  Brian and Alison were in another room.  There were two figures in the room I was in - a blue monkey playing drums on the right side and a yellow monkey playing drums on the left side.  Different electronic sounds (beeps and buzzes) were played at different decibel levels and Madison would turn to the side she heard the sound - when she acknowledged that she heard the sound the monkey would play the drum.  This was designed to condition the child (who is not yet speaking) to respond to a visual cue.  She passed the test on the left ear, but was very bored when it came time to testing the right ear.  They moved on to the next test that involved placing two items in front of Madison (i.e. Bunny "hop hop hop" and Airplane "Ahhhh").  Alison would make a sound (either "hop hop hop" or "Ahhhhh") and Madison would have to select the right item.  She had no interest in 'playing' this game.  We were asked if they incorporate this 'play' into her therapy at all and Brian and I said that they did this activity, a while ago.  We then said that they have moved on to the next step... now her therapist is having Madison repeat words and put a block into a basket after she hears it.  They were amazed, stating that is very advanced... but figured they would give it a try!  An actual piggy bank was placed in front of Madison with a stack of colored plastic coins.  She held a coin up to her ear.... Waited... Alison said the word "Shoe".  Madison repeated the word and put the coin in the bank! Madison than said, "I want more coins".  She was given another coin... held it up to her ear... and waited for the next word.  Alison said about 10-15 words.  Madison repeated all of them, with some pronunciation errors here and there.  Both the audiologist and speech therapist were amazed with Madison's responses.

Once the formal evaluation finished, we met in a conference to discuss her results.  Madison is hearing well with-in range of conversational speech (which is the target range for someone with a cochlear implant).  We were told that her expressive language exceeds that of other 20 month children, born with typical-hearing.  It was gratifying to receive this feedback.  We thank her wonderful therapists at CHC - Katilyn, Fara & Michelle... and are so incredibly lucky to have a caring, dedicated nanny, Gloria, who is an integral part to Madison's success.  Madison is one lucky girl to have so many family and friends who care deeply for her and just want her to be successful and achieve all that she aspires to... and we certainly believe that she will do so!

Her therapy schedule has stabilized into:
-       4 hours week at CHC (2 individual/2 group)
-       2 hours week at home

We know there is still a lot more ground to cover.  We were told that the surgery would be about 5% (CI technology), with the parents/caretakers and the therapy as the remaining 95%.  Brian and I are excited what this next year will bring and believe Madison will continue amazing us on this journey.


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