Monday, August 24, 2009

I Heard That!

One of the very first things I learned from the wonderful Miss Helen (the very first AV therapist I met with after finding out about Aiden's deafness) was to point to my ear whenever I heard something, in order to condition Aiden to do the same. She taught me that when Aiden was with me and we heard any sound what-so-ever, I was to point to my ear and say in a very excited manner, "I HEARD THAT! I HEARD THE PHONE RING (or whatever it was I heard)!"

So I did. Everywhere. Everytime. And by the time Aiden was 8 months old, he too would sometimes point to his ear as if telling me or his audiologist, "I heard that!" (and I catch myself doing this ALL THE TIME with the hearing kids in my neighborhood!)

Another time we use the whole pointing to the ear is when we're practicing the Ling Six Sound Check, which is a way to determine a cochlear implant's effectiveness. These six sounds (ah, oo, ee, sh, s, mm) indicate a child's ability to detect all aspects of speech. If Aiden is not consistently responding to one or more of these sounds, he may not be hearing across the range of frequencies, and therefore missing out on important sounds. This indicates to us that something is wrong with his mapping (programming) and an audiologist appointment is needed. Therefore, it is critical we practice the Lings everyday. In fact, I practice it with both of Aiden's implants on in the morning, and then again after his bath, at which time I rotate every other night between the left and right CI, to check each ear on it's own.

Since Aiden still cannot tell us verbally whether or not he hears these sounds, we have been conditioning him in other ways to show us he hears them. One, as mentioned above, is to point to his ear. After I voice a ling sound and Aiden shows some behavioral response, I point to my ear and say very ecstatically, "I HEARD THAT! (then repeat the Ling)". We have also been conditioning him to perform a certain action when he hears one of the Lings (such as drop a block into a bucket or put a stacking ring on its base). The ultimate goal is to get Aiden to imitate each sound when he hears it, but right now he will only imitate /m/, /ah/, and sometimes /oo/, but not very seldom.

Well ... all this explanation to preface the fact that AIDEN IS FINALLY POINTING TO HIS EAR WHEN HE HEARS THE LINGS!!!! He has always pointed to his ear when hearing an airplane or mowers outside or daddy coming home or the cats meows etc., but never to any of the lings! We have always relied on behavioral responses or the little bit of imitation he gives us.

In this video I do not point to my ear until he points to his, to reinforce his actions. I also cover my mouth the whole time (even when I'm not voicing any sound) so I know he's actually hearing me and not seeing me talk. You will also see his favorite sound to make is still "mmmm"!

(Make sure to turn off the music to the left before playing.)

Another thing I've been doing with Aiden the last couple of weeks is to ask him if he wants milk or juice as I point to each in the fridge. The last couple of days we've been getting some variation of "milk" (sounds like "malm" to me) and when he wants juice, well, he says his favorite "mmmmmm" sound and points to it.


AJ's Mom said...

WOW!! Simply amazing!!!!

Lucas'Mommy said...

Hi Tammy!

First of all, I LOVE Aiden videos! Keep 'em coming! And, I'm so excited about all of the progress he's making! YAY!

Lings have always been tough for me too, because like you said, I just wait for a behavioral response, and sometimes get imitations of mmmm and ahhhh. I will be trying your method, thanks!

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Oh man... not only is he doing GREAT, he's just so stinkin' CUTE!!!

I heard him say a word in the first clip... maybe "on"? Now I forget.

Way to go, Aiden! And all of his great family :0)


Bill and Shelly said...

YAY Aiden!!! Your rock, little man.

These video's bring back so many memories. I just love them.

Bill and Shelly said...

ooops, it should be you rock, not your. See what happens when you have a little guy sitting on your lap.