Monday, October 26, 2009

Dancing!! and other humorous moments...

Taylor has started dancing. She likes her musical Halloween cards in particular. Derek & Taylor got two musicals cards for Halloween -- Alvin & The Chipmunks and Scooby Doo. Soo cute! I am trying so hard to get this on video. Standby for the video addition.

One of the first things that we did in therapy was a "Shhhh, Wake up" game. It's a good way to know if she is hearing the "Shhh", plus it's just plain old fun. She tries to play it by herself now... and if we just whisper "SShhh", she'll turn her head to the side and close her eyes like she fell asleep.

She also has started high-pitched squealing and imitation of lots of ranges of sounds. If I sing, she'll try to go along with me... not the words so much, more the tune.

We play an airplane game where we go "ahhhhh" and move our hand up and down like an airplane. Jon just made the "ahh" sound, and she started moving her hand like the airplane. We were in the family with room with toys and books strewn across the carpet. Taylor was sitting on my lap. I asked her to go get me a book to read, and she got down, picked up a book, and came back to me. :) This week at our therapy appointment, we said "Bababa" into a little bucket, and got her to imitate us. Next, we tried "Shhh" and she again imitated us and tried to say "Shhh." We have had some success getting her to do this at home. It's odd... we are trying to teach her the power of her own voice. There are lots of fun things happening... too many to write, but we are seeing progress!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hoorah for Headbands

A frequent conversation among parents of little ones with cochlear implants -- How are you keeping them on your little roly-poly, wrestling, climbing toddler?
I originally started out with some Goodie elastic women's headbands. They were working great, but you needed two, one to hold each CI. And they were elastic, so sometimes Taylor would pull on them and end up snapping herself in the face, like a rubberband. Not good.
We go to a parent's group of deaf/hard of hearing kids in Wichita. There, I met another mom of a little girl with bilateral CI's. Her grandma had sewn her a headband with loops to hold the CI processor on. It works so well and looks great! The super sewing grandma hooked me up and offered to make some for Taylor. So far, we have light pink and dark pink, with others on the way. Mom, Dad, and the babysitters are thrilled! These pictures were taken while I was making some pies and whipped cream (on Taylor's mouth) last weekend.
(If you want a headband for your child, I can give you her contact information.) I love it so much, even if I had a boy, he'd be wearing it as a sweatband... maybe with a fake Nike swoosh or some kind of sporty decoration. It makes life with CI's and a 1-year old that much easier.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Taylor Talks!!

Taylor had her cochlear implants activated 4 weeks ago... On Wednesday, we thought we heard her say a word but weren't for sure. On Thursday, the same word came out - Mama!!!
Ha! A victory for Moms Everywhere! We all know that babies usually say Dada first. Not Taylor. She had a wonderful, amazing gift for her Mommy. Daddy was trying to take her away from me and she said "Mama"!
I will remember that moment for the rest of my life. The fact that my profoundly deaf daughter is learning to talk is a blessing so magnificent that I can barely comprehend it, certainly more than I dared to hope... all that we have done since the day we found out that she was deaf, June 8, was working toward this moment. And although we believed in the technology of the cochlear implant and the therapy that we have been working on, and even having met other children that have only had the implants for a few months or years, still I was prepared for nothing and afraid to hope for all...
In the booth testing prior to the mapping, Taylor easily heard a sound at 20 dB and a frequency of 1000 Hz. Above you can see that the normal range of hearing is 20 dB or below. Taylor is already hearing at normal levels!!
This week we went back for another mapping of the devices. "Mapping" is a programming process to fine-tune the CI for Taylor. She was a very patient little 16-month old, sitting for over an hour. She was playing with some toys, and they were trying to condition her to look at the puppy dogs or bears when she heard a sound. Instead, she just started repeating the sound back when she heard it. "Beep, Beep. Beep, beep." 22 electrodes on each side... The audiologist and therapist were laughing at Taylor's creativeness. It also made Jon and I wonder how often she was imitating us when we thought she was just making "noise."
Taylor is showing us her growth in receptive language. Today I asked her to pick up the diaper, and she picked it up. She also knows the word "shoes." (That's my girl!) We have been working with her on family pictures and names. She knows Daddy, Derek (brother), and Katie (our babysitter.) -- probably many others but this is just a start.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

So Many Exciting Changes

This has been an amazing week. I always try to be extremely cautious about what I claim that Taylor does when writing the blog. There was such a long time period of her life that I thought she could hear, so I don't always trust myself to be an unbiased critic.
According to Grandma M, Taylor recognized my voice on the phone! Her Dad had her in Ok City for her therapy appointment, and she was crying her little eyes out. I called his cell phone and he held it up to her ear so I could talk to her. She stopped crying and started smiling!! Ahhh.
According to both of our wonderful nannies, Taylor has started doing some great new things this week. She will move her mouth like she is talking, but doesn't make any sound. (I really want to get this on video.) She rubbed her tummy and said "MMmmm," imitating Derek and the babysitter, during snack time. She also tried to imitiate some other word-like sounds, even once sounding like she said "Uh-huh" for a sucker. Another time, Katie said "Let's go upstairs" and Taylor started heading for the stairs.
According to her Dad, he is noticing big changes this week too. They were playing and wrestling, and she started imitating sounds he was making. :)
These are all very little, but very BIG, things. It is so important that she start to understand the meaning of words, and recognize that she has her own little voice in there.
Taylor seems to think all bodily functions are hilarious right now.
Burps will turn her head at any moment. She even did a fake burp tonight.
Coughing - she will imitate us or even purposefully cough to try to get us to cough back.
Spitting (or sound of spitting)
Gargling, thanks to Derek... her brother, sidekick and partner in crime.
It makes sense that Taylor will go through a learning process for sound similar to a newborn baby. At 3 weeks post-activation, I would say she is about like a 6-8 month old baby. She is going through the same learning progression, at a more rapid pace.
I continue to be amazed by Taylor's ability to adapt to the new world of sound, and I am so thankful that cochlear implants exist.