Friday, April 30, 2010

IEP Goal Bank

Another CI mom, from THIS blog, shared a wonderful site with all us other CI moms and dads on the CICircle and Listen-Up forums through Yahoo Groups. This IEP Goal Bank is a wonderful site to use for those currently going through an IEP process or to bookmark for a future IEP. It provides an IEP Goal/Objective Template, it gives examples of specific goals from articulation, to auditory processing, to language etc. It also has additional links to explore for activity/material ideas too.

Although we're not going through this process right now, it is not too far away and I am gathering as much information as possible to be armed and ready when the time does come (which is next January). There is so much involved in an IEP process and as Aiden's mom and dad, it is up to us to make sure he gets what he needs and I think this is a great informative site to help parents along.

If you have any other sites you have found helpful during the IEP process, please share them in the comments section.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Hello Little Boy

Aiden's daddy busted out the clippers yesterday and gave Aiden a not-so-little haircut.
I didn't realize how much hair he had until it was all said and GONE.
I loved all his waves, but bye-bye waves.
And bye-bye toddler ...
my baby looks like such a little boy now!

This calmness didn't last too long.

No thanks dad, I'll go without this 1960's do.

Please Lord, let this be over with!

and after a pretty good struggle, some tears, hair EVERYWHERE, and a good bath,
we have a smiling LITTLE BOY again.

I didn't realize how much of his hair had covered up his CIs. We really didn't see the coil or wires too much with all that hair he had, just the processors. Plus the beige CIs blended in with his blonde hair. Seeing his equipment "pop out" so much more now was like a push back into reality that, wow, our little boy is deaf. I hate that he has to wear these, but thank God everyday for the miracle of Cochlear Implants.
I like his new haircut, and come to think of it, his coils stay on
SO much better with his shorter hair
and not to mention ...

... he is PRETTY DANG CUTE with it!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


None of my children have the easiest names to say for any toddler, much less a deaf one with cochlear implants learning to hear and speak. For a little while, Aiden would say his own name when he'd see his picture on this blog. It sounded like "Ayen", but it was very short lived. In fact, I'm surprised we don't hear the same "Ayen" for his brother and sister since all my kids have two syllable names ending in the "en" sound. He has NEVER attempted either of his sibling's names, except closed mouth humming of the two syllables that each name has.

This past weekend, we were outside and Aiden was playing in the car as his daddy, brother, and I sat and talked. He was being his typical silly self so I ran to get my Flip.

Glad I did. (Excuse my loud excitement, but how about that /r/! AND it was the FIRST time I've ever heard him attempt to say "dad" instead of dada, and "cat" (do you hear a final /t/?) instead of just "meow").

Make sure to turn the music off on the left first!

I just had to pull this post back, as I wrote it very quickly this morning. What I forgot to mention is what a GREAT BIG BROTHER Ryan is to Aiden. As soon as Aiden sees Ryan, a huge smile instantly lights up his face, and he runs up to him screaming this brotherly, "Let's get on the floor right now and wrestle" type of scream. He loves everything about his big brother (including getting into everything in his room), and Ryan just said to me last night, "I love playing with Aiden, he's a great little brother." I love it.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Listening Room Activity of the Week

Check out THIS quick, easy to create preschool activity that The Listening Room has posted this week. (note - you'll have to sign in in order to be taken to the appropriate page I've linked to. If you haven't signed up on this site, do so TODAY! They have weekly activities, PLUS a ton of other wonderful resources to help you and your child learn to listen and speak! You can sign up here) All you need is the printout, a Pringles can, some glue, and objects that represent the pictures on the printout!

When I saw this activity, I thought it'd be a perfect way to 1) get Aiden's siblings involved in an easy to play, after school activity and 2) introduce a new activity (gotta change 'em up quite frequently or Aiden gets bored and doesn't want to "play"), yet continue to work towards the same goal of getting him to label objects with their noun name instead of just with the sound they make.

Although Aiden currently associates, and vocalizes, most of these sounds with the appropriate object, we're still struggling getting a good /oo/ and /ee/ out of him. I can say we FINALLY have the rounding of the lips and now we're just searching for the sound that goes with it! Ahhhh, one day it will come.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Moments that Matter

After Aiden's Little Gym class today, I stopped by the grocery store to pick up a few things. Despite the fact that Aiden threw a HUGE FIT as I tried to get him to sit in the cart (I mean so huge that people just stared and one older gentleman even stopped to offer his assistance), I forged forward, as much as I wanted to grab him and walk out, determined to get done what I needed to get done. (I gotta say, he's one strong, determined little dude). I'm glad I stood my ground though.

As I rounded the corner into dairy I was stopped by a younger woman and our conversation started something like this:

"Can I ask you, is he deaf?"

"Yes." (sorta shocked, as people typically just stare and VERY RARELY ask questions).

"Since birth?"

"Yes, he was born with a profound hearing loss, completely deaf in both ears. Hearing aids did not help him much at all."

"Do you use sign language?"

I pondered this question for a very quick second not sure who this person was or what thrashing I was about to get because my baby had CI's or that we truly don't use sign, so to be safe I answered,

"Yes, he's learning some."

and she continued into her story. A story I haven't been able to get out of my mind all day.

She continued to explain to me that she has recently been diagnosed with Meniere's Disease and has had frequent, unexpected deafness episodes which can last for hours or DAYS at a time.

Unannounced. Unexpected. Unbeknown.

Just there, out of nowhere, with the possibility of becoming permanent. She told me how she had a "ringing sensation" in her ears throughout her school years, but thought it was "just normal". I could sense the fear in her voice as she told me about the time she didn't know her baby was crying until she "saw" her crying; how she called her husband on the phone, not hearing a word he said, to tell him she woke up and couldn't hear. She told me how no one in her family, that she knows of, has any type of hearing loss. She told me her and her husband are learning ASL, together, just in case, but how difficult it is. She told me a lot.

What she didn't say is that she was scared. But the whole conversation, I was scared for her.

I wanted to reach out and give her a HUGE hug. Many, many, many huge hugs.

She asked about Aiden's CI's and how they worked. She asked how much sign we really did. This time I was more honest and told her the only signs Aiden truly uses are banana, thank you, and cat ... and that's even at a minimum. I told her how because of his Cochlear Implants he is very ORAL and how it is our goal to have him LISTEN and SPEAK to communicate. I explained how one of our main reasons for having Aiden implanted was so he could communicate with EVERYONE in our family and be a part of our hearing world, as we too, knew no one in our families who were deaf or hard of hearing. I explained how our fears will always be there, but are definitely minimized knowing he can now HEAR and SPEAK to his cousins and friends and all of our family without sign language. I told her about other late deafened adults I had met and their positive experiences with hearing aids/CIs. I invited her to view my blog and told her about the WONDERFUL support system out there of ALL ages and ALL types of diagnoses. I gave her some resources and websites and my phone number.

I can only hope I provided her some HOPE.

My husband called when I was in line checking out and as I told him about my experience, tears welled in my eyes and I was taken back. I have thought about this sweet girl This couldn't help bring me back to the days of Aiden's diagnosis. I was SO SCARED. Not so much for me, but for him. It scared ME, for HIM, that his world was SILENT. I just couldn't fathom a silent world. I couldn't comprehend it was truly all he knew; yet he knew no different. I'll never forget the time sitting in bed nursing him, as I watched tv. I had to yell for one of my older children and muted the tv. Then I just stared; and it hit me hard; "this is how it is in Aiden's world everyday ... lips moving with no sound", and I lost it.

I don't fear for Aiden's, what could be, silent world near as much anymore, since I know he has the ability to turn the world off when he chooses, but I just cannot imagine how scary it must be to hear for 20plus years and then all of a sudden it's taken away. I can't imagine waking up one morning and my hearing's gone and not know when or if it's ever coming back.

Even though their stories are different, I'm so glad Aiden was chit chatty (as he ate his lunch of deli turkey meat and Gogurts) and showed her his voice and hearing abilities, as a deaf child with cochlear implants.

Near the end of our conversation she asked me if I believed in God, which I replied yes, very much, and like her, I believe that He put us at that spot for a reason. She said she had thought twice about approaching us. I'm glad she did.

S - (don't want to use your name without permission), I hope you read this. You helped me as much as I can only hope I helped you. Everyday I am thankful for the miracle of Cochlear Implants, but this particular day I was very frustrated with his yelling, his showing vocally he didn't want to go in the cart. You helped me take a step back, smile at my amazing little man, and just THANK GOD my DEAF baby can HEAR my voice (and know he hears and understands when I say NO), and I get to hear his voice protest back. I wish you the best of luck in your journey and wish you were staying around this area. If you have time in the next few days, contact me, I have some resource materials I'd like to give you ... just to have whenever you're ready. The one thing my mom has always said since the beginning of this journey is all I can do is take it step by step, day by day.

Step by step. Day by day.