We learned we could choose a world of listening, speaking, and literacy for our son.
We learned, that with the proper technology (cochlear implants in Aiden's case) and services (i.e. audiology and auditory verbal therapy), Aiden's auditory centers of his brain could still be accessed, stimulated, and developed into a strong foundation for listening and speaking, and therefore, reading.
We learned quantity matters. In order to stimulate and develop these auditory centers, it was imperative that he wear the proper technology everyday, all waking hours, AND that we talk, and sing, and point out every.little.thing we hear, and narrate every.little.thing we did, then do it all over again; continuous input to feed his auditory brain. So we did and we still do.
We learned to read, read, read - TEN books a day - yes, TEN. And it's proven very effective.
We learned (first hand) quality matters. REALLY matters (see my past posts on phonemic mapping).
"Speech perception is the only thing that really matters. That's how they learn language, that's how they gain literacy."--Jane MadellWe learned all the above not only directly impacts Aiden's listening and spoken language, but also his phonemic and phonological awareness, and overall, his literacy skills.
We learned this journey is not easy, yet very rewarding. Aiden has been hearing with cochlear implants for three and a half years now, but it hasn't been until the last year that I can honestly say he's had a strong and stable, QUALITY, map. He still has CI mappings every three months. He also has sensory processing challenges which have presented a barrier to his spoken language, an obstacle that we're starting to break down, through the guidance of our amazing OT.
and with all we learned above, a TON of hard work, an amazing team of professionals, dedication, patience, and consistency, ladies and gentleman, I am proud to present, three and a half years hearing, my deaf son, is actually reading. Everywhere we go, he reads signs (and most of his pronunciations are phonetically correct, sometimes a little off), and is always asking, "What that say mom?" His interest in letters making words, and words making sentences, and sentences making a story, is soaring.
Take a look at simply amazing moment #678 and add it to my "I can't believe my deaf child is______" list. (and by no means is this a book we read every night. I have read this to him a handful of times, and it's been about six or more months since we last read it - promise).