Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hearing Teacher Consult

The appointment today with the hearing teacher and audiologist did not go quite as we expected. This is not necessarily a bad thing, just very different from what we envisioned. The audiologist was only there to observe, nothing to test or otherwise. The hearing teacher had very little to offer, suggesting that they really need the ABR (type of hearing test) to get a definitive result and formulate a strategy. We certainly were not expecting a diagnosis, but maybe some insight or opinion. All they really would say is that we are on target and seem to have already done everything they would be able to assist us with. They are going to follow Elias, but we do not see them for 2 months. So we still have to wait until the surgeons and the hospital can work out the details to coordinate the ABR test and his next surgery. Essentially they told us that what we are already doing is along the same lines as their intervention at this age. We agreed to anticipate that Elias is profoundly deaf, since he has no startle response to loud noise and does respond to things in his sight line. They were impressed with his peripheral vision range, for such a young age it is far more developed than you would expect. This further legitimizes the theory since other senses are usually heightened when another is impaired. However, none of this really matters until we have the test which will likely not be until mid May. Until that time we are going to start some signing. The big choice now is American Sign Language (ASL) or Cued Speech. ASL is the more commonly known, but not necessarily the most commonly used. The Cued Speech is based on the phonemes and properties of traditionally spoken word. Katharine went to school with someone who's brother was hearing impaired and used cued speech, and we are favoring that right now. As with most things there are advantages and disadvantages that need to be considered. Our two biggest considerations are thumb use in each, since Elias has no thumbs that would make things a little more challenging. Secondly, his arms and the likelihood they will be shorter than average, again creating a challenge. The hearing teacher is investigating many of these things for us, but as you all know we will have our homework done as well. Until we arrive at a definitive conclusion we are going to use some basic signing for infants, which is becoming more popular even with hearing babies, signs for Mommy, Daddy, more, eat, enough, etc. So we will embark on another grand journey of discovery and emotion, realizing that this is one of the easier hurdles we have encountered so far and much easier than the ones that await us as Elias gets older. We will keep you posted on when the testing will be completed. Thank you all for the emails, thoughts and prayers today.

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