Thursday, October 27, 2011

More "Out of the Booth" Mapping

I have so much to catch up on, I know, it's the story of my life, but for now ...

check out THIS POST by super mom Mel and her recent experience. Our stories are similar. Both our boys need frequent maps; both of us went through a long struggle of getting a stable map for our boys; both our boys SOAR from this out of the booth mapping.

Goes right along with our most recent "out of the booth" experience. Which by the way, continues to make a world of difference in Aiden's speech production!

and just a cute fall shot of my little monkey to end with on this rainy Thursday.

Happy Fall.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

1. My sister-in-law is AMAZING. She's married to my husband's "Irish twin" (they're 14 months apart). We share the same birthday. She's a teacher-of-the-deaf. She has been such a blessing in this journey and I cherish the relationship we've built and all her advice to me. I'm lucky to have her insight, her knowledge/expertise, and her love for Aiden all in one.

2. I spoke with this CI momma today. I love all the friendships I've built over the years. I've never had such close relationships with people without actually ever meeting them. There's something about talking to someone about that certain something and they just get it. One day, we will meet and our boys will play. We have that "cheese-head" link, there's no way we can't!

3. Today I sat and observed Aiden's class again - for a good two hours (he didn't know I was there). I'm preparing for his upcoming IEP and I want to fully understand what his classroom experience is and see him in action. Then I was invited to sit in a speech session with him. He didn't know I was coming, and when he walked in, his face lit up and he ran right to me with a big ol' "MOMMY!" Needless to say, we spent the rest of the afternoon together after that session.

4. Fall is here. I'm bummed though, because all the leaves started changing colors, which I absolutely LOVE, and the next weekend they were pretty much gone after the big wind storm we had. I was hoping for a lot more time of their beauty. I am looking forward to my upcoming field trip with Aiden's class though to the pumpkin farm! Fun times! Living in Texas for so long, I forgot how much I LOVE fall!

4. Parent-teacher conferences for Ryan = complete success. All of the teachers raved how respectful and what a nice young man he was. A few said their class was too easy for him and he needed to be bumped to honors. One said he was their favorite. One asked if he was on "a program"?!?  Last year I would've understood this more, but when further questioned if he was talking about an IEP, the teacher answered, "Well ya, have you seen his handwriting?" So proud of my messy handwriting son who is kicking butt and taking names!

5. Kailyn's volleyball season is over. What an amazing program they put on. And by the end of it, she had a handful of serves that made it OVER the net - scoring a point, many bumps over the net - and scoring a point, and even a couple sets. AND she's become quite the defensive player this season in soccer. Best thing about all of it, she loved every minute of it.

6. Any day now I'm going to start a photograph of the day blog (or just add a tab to this blog). I LOVE photography and I've been playing around with my camera a lot. My dream is to have a successful photography business, but want/need to get some more practice under my belt. SO, I thought what better motivation than to take, edit, and post one picture a day. This way I figure I'll practice a certain technique every couple weeks, without feeling so overwhelmed with it all.

7. I'm having a hard time with this full day of school five days a week thing. I miss my baby. The other night he told me, "Mommy, Aiden's sick." (he has a cough), "stay wit mommy. No school." Okay.  (heart melting and such a sucker).

8. OT has been AMAZING! I have so much NEW knowledge I never understood and so many NEW ideas to work with him on and so much NEW faith in the whole OT program. Miss Amie ROCKS. Aiden loves her. I love her. I have so much to share about it all.

9. Aiden is going through a monkey phase. Last night he insisted on "monkey top and monkey pants" for pjs. This morning he fought me to put on his shirt because he wanted a monkey shirt. So during our afternoon together, we ate pizza then went shopping for monkey shirts. Thanks to Old Navy's character shirts and Curious George, we didn't have to look far.

10. We live in the country. The few people who drive by, fly. Even with kids outside playing. We live on the corner. Today they pounded in the pole to put up our "Deaf Child in Area" sign. Our little po-dunk town had AMAZING turn around with no argument about putting up the sign what-so-ever. One of the five has a girlfriend who is Deaf. Aiden and I will be delivering some homemade goodies this week. So thankful.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Walk Back Into Time

Tonight we found two old video cameras. Not that we didn't know where they were. 
Just didn't realize we weren't missing them until tonight.

My heart was taken back. You know, like when you hear a song on the radio
and it completely brings you back to the moment?
I was so scared.
and I didn't realize how scared I was,
until I was brought back to THOSE moments.
SO scared.
The days of trying to understand the words, 
"It's probably just fluid" to,
"Your son has profound sensorineural hearing loss" to
not realizing that what this meant was "Your son is DEAF."
The days of pre-hearing aids to
the days of hearing aids. and all the buzzing. and pilot caps.
The days I wondered and worried. 
wondered and worried and prayed. 
The days of the unknown,
clinging to every ounce of HOPE.
 HOPE he had hearing nerves.
HOPE he would be a good candidate for CIs.
HOPE one day I'd hear his laughter and he'd hear my "I love you's".
HOPE that ONE DAY he'd hear and speak.
HOPE that he would not be held back.

It brought me back to a time, not forgotten, yet left behind. 
My stomach turned, tears rolled down my face, 
as I watched myself performing AV strategies,
with a THREE month old
who probably didn't hear a word I said.
Yet, I smiled.
and cried some more,
then smiled.

Within minutes of watching, my heart dropped,
seconds later, filled with peace and happiness.
Because within those few moments of being brought back
to a time of the unknown,
it also proved to me,

every ounce of hard work. of reading book after book, of BELIEVING. of singing song after song,
and narrating every little thing I did, of working so hard to introduce as much
spoken language and listening opportunities as possible,
to our DEAF child,

made a difference.


and going back tonight, to real time
of what seems so long ago,
has made me realize, 
just how much,
just how much,
just how much,
because even with three plus years of appointment after appointment,
and still many more to come,
he continues to be one of the HAPPIEST kids I know.
and reminds me just how much this journey truly is


Right after watching the videos, I put on Aiden's pajamas,
which I always take his CIs off and he can't hear a thing.
after pjs, we usually only put on one CI,
(to verify how he's hearing with that CI alone)
and for the first time ever I asked,
"Aiden, do you want just one CI?"
and he replied,
"No mommy, two please."

Monday, October 10, 2011

Working on Preliteracy Skills

Since the day we found out Aiden was deaf, amongst many of the things we worried about, we worried about literacy skills. We started working on this right away by reading to him everyday. We were told by our first AVT to read, read, read, read. In fact, we were given the number TEN - yep, ten books a day. Of course we didn't get in a full ten everyday, but we tried, and even if we got to three, we felt good. Although we know this is important for ALL of our kids, we knew it was especially important for Aiden, as any child, who has challenges with speech and language, needs so much more help and encouragement on pre-literacy.

Aiden learned his alphabet pretty early on, around two to two and a half. We've also been very lucky that he has always shown a love for books, which I attribute to the 10-a-day rule. Experience books are another way to not only build language, but work on pre-literacy skills. I wrote all about our experience book HERE. With Aiden's interest in books, and his early learning of the alphabet, sparked his interest to take it to the next level, and with our help, he attached the sound to the letter and started to recognize that letters together, create words. About six to eight months ago, I noticed he was "reading". I would present certain words in writing, and he would find the picture to match - such as house, boy, star, ball, boy, cat, etc. THIS is a great book to practice this. In fact, we love all of Eric Carle books. Aiden can read THIS one by heart, which has also helped in elongating his sentences, learn his colors, put an adjective with a noun, and again, realize words have meaning.

So to take it even a step further, I started sounding out words for him, without a picture, and he would put the letter with the sound and hence, spell simple words. OR, we play the sound game, I say (CAR) and he tells me what letter the word starts with. I believe a lot of what he knows too, he has seen in books or heard in songs and nursery rhymes - again, a great reason to read, read, read and sing, sing, sing! In fact, Aiden learned how to spell his name and mommy from a song I changed up using our own names, from the Tune Ups CD which is a part of the Advanced Bionics Listening Room. Also, if you google pre-literacy, you will come up with a ton of websites with different ideas. This is a great website for some basic ideas and background on pre-literacy.

Our next step, rhyming words and words that are very close minus a letter (lie vs. light).

First, a sampling of his writing, which is a also a big part of literacy. He did this all on his own, without me spelling it for him. Notice the "y" in mommy is under his own name, which he realized he left off after he was done.

Here is video sampling of Aiden's pre-literacy skills. He gets a little silly, but that's always the fun part. I included a little extra for a small speech sample. He's a bit nasally, as he has a stuffy nose, which isn't unusual for him. AND I had no clue how to get that dang "directed by" off the end. oy.
BONUS - with him voicing the sound each letter makes, I get a good sense that he's hearing it correctly. This all goes back to our most recent mapping strategy, which has made a world of difference with his pronunciation of so many words!

Turn down the tunes and listen to my boy go.