I'm down on myself right now and I hate writing these posts, BUT, I think the reality of having a deaf/hoh child is that you have these days, no getting around them. I have reasons for being Miss Debbie Downer right now, which I'll get to. I truly believed that by the time my son was this age that he'd be further than he is ... because I've watched the videos, I've talked to moms.
I attend Auditory Verbal Therapy with him, I've put my career on hold and have become his full time mommy/primary therapist, I take him to an oral school so he can be around hearing peers for a language model along with their awesome language theme based program, I have a TOD and PT come to our house every other week, I read other's blogs and talk to other mommies to get ideas, I work, work, work, and work with my son (I mean PLAY, PLAY, PLAY), all to get these dang reports that make me wonder if I'm truly doing enough ... and now I'm finding out that we need to integrate even more therapies into our days ...
... and it is SO DAMN FRUSTRATING!
It all started Tuesday. Aiden has OT right after his class to help him with his gross motor skills (they don't have a PT program at the school, but still wanted to work with him). After his OT services, the therapist told me Aiden is having some fine motor skill issues and would benefit from at least an hour and a half of OT services per week. Great. Add it to the list.
THEN on the way home I open up the audiology report containing Aiden's soundbooth results.
NOTE TO ALL MOMS ... FOLLOW YOUR GUT! YOU ARE RIGHT! NO ONE KNOWS YOUR CHILD BETTER THAN YOU!
As I've written in the past, I was not happy at all with Aiden's last soundbooth/mapping appointment back in Sept. Going from 15-20 db across all frequencies to 25-30db was not okay with me. Plus I felt he just didn't react in the soundbooth like he normally does. I didn't feel good about any of it. I brought up my concerns with the audiologist (which wasn't his typical one), but was told things were just fine, he's doing great, 30 db is wonderful blah, blah, blah ... and I accepted it and went home, knowing my little rockstar had been at 15 to 20db since his first soundbooth after activation.
I then brought my concerns to his school audiologist to get a second opinion. She took our case history and got Aiden in the soundbooth as soon as she could, but he wouldn't perform. Then he had three ear infections, the flu, and respiratory issues all within the month. Finally last week, Aiden was cooperative, but she wanted to confirm her results the following school day - which was this past Tuesday.
When I looked at the results on my ride home my eyes just welled up with tears. I had known something wasn't right. Aiden flatlined at 40DB with his left ear, and with his right ear was at 30db/500hz, 55DB/1,000hz, and no response from there on out. My stomach hurt.
THE NEXT DAY (yesterday) we had an appt. at Hopkins with Aiden's primary audiologist and his school audiologist joined us there. His soundbooth results were better, but not much. The results showed he definitely needed some program changes, especially in the right ear where he was getting very little high frequency sounds. All I could think of was how we had to move forward ... don't think of the past, it was over.
Let's hope it's fixed. He'll be tested next week at school to verify he's still responding and then return to Hopkins in three weeks to check his maps again. We left there with four programs, one for noise, and two additional ones to work with if we feel he comes to another standstill. So glad his audi is back.
FAST FORWARD to today, parent-teacher conferences at Aiden's school. As we headed there, I read over the three page typed report from his teachers. There were A LOT of positives and he has transitioned well into a preschool setting. He likes school. But there's so much he needs to work on. A small example:
- Aiden does not yet respond to peers who approach him without prompts from the teacher. While cruising around the classroom he requires prompts to shift his attention to notice where his peers are and navigate his way around them.
- Aiden rarely turns to his name when called in the classroom (noise factor?) His teachers often have quite a bit of difficulty gaining his attention.
- Aiden is not yet finding items on request and requires physical prompts to follow routine directions.
- Aiden has difficulty attending to teacher directed activities even for a brief period of time (ex. reading a book).
- Aiden has very inconsistent visual attention to fine motor tasks which makes it more difficult for him to complete these tasks and sometimes requires cues to look at the toy while he plays.
I can't help but look at this, plus others that were listed and cringe. One part of me thinks I started him too early in school ... he should be at home with me. But then, how much farther would he be behind next year or the year after? The bigger part of me KNOWS these concerns need to be addressed now. He needs to start learning NOW to compensate for his hearing loss and learn how to be successful in an oral, mainstream classroom, with noise. I want him to learn these communication/cognitive/social development skills NOW as to not further delay him in his hearing and speaking.
All of this has been such a huge reminder that my child is DEAF and even with Cochlear Implants he is going to have challenges ... not just now, but always. and today, I.hated.it.I couldn't take anymore. We did discuss ways I can work, I mean PLAY, with him at home to help in these areas, but I'm feeling so spent. We're all hoping that a lot of these areas are due to his not hearing very well the past couple of months and that this revamp in his maps will increase his activity in the classroom as well as with his language.
THEN on the way home I opened up his Speech and Language Evaluation. Why do I do this to myself?!? I'm not even going to go there now. I'll write about it after his IEP meeting next Tuesday. I'll just say they weren't great. Definitely not what we see at home and reinforced my son is having trouble communicating in a group setting.
To end my day, I had a Dr. appointment for Aiden's sister to start her on ADHD meds (this is after a full evaluation including IQ and cognitive tests etc). By this time though I was done with any type of "test" results. While we were there I had them perform a basic hearing test (beeps and headphones) ... I wanted to rule everything out. Well, she was at 20 db in her left and at 40db in her right?!?! The Dr. said it could've been an attention issue. The test took five minutes, I know she has trouble sitting still, but not for 5 minutes! I have an email into our audiologist.
To overcome the whole day, on the way home we turned up the tunes, and JAMMED the whole way home ... SINGING our hearts out. I needed that. and the glasses of wine haven't hurt much either.