Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Still Hear(ing): an update on N's hearing loss

In the midst of my PRO Compression giveaway, I met a blogger named April who also has children with various degrees of hearing loss. In talking to her, I realized it's been a very long time since I've done any type of update on N's hearing and our experience with audiologists and Early Intervention.

No surprise, I have become a huge advocate for Early Intervention (EI). If your child qualifies - engage them! If you suspect any type of developmental delays - seek them out! Unlike the testing you might have to endure to diagnose a health issue, my kids actually had fun at N's evaluation. At the very least, your kids get a playdate with a group of education professionals who LOVE kids, and you get the opportunity to speak with real adults!

We were very fortunate that the ladies in the EI offices up here, and the ladies we worked with before the move were fantastic in making the transition smooth and relatively seamless for us.
infant toddler hearing aids

One big difference has been the integration of an audiology department within the EI up here. As of this week, that's no longer true, but it's been a great experience knowing the audiologist is truly included in your team. Due to new statewide EI budget regulations, the audiologists dept will be dissolved and we'll be on the hunt for a new pediatric audiologist.

Every audiologist we've seen has been great, and every one of them is qualified to work with young kids. However, the pediatric audiologists have been something else - something better.

It's definitely not less important to find the right fit with your audiologist than it is with any of your other care providers. In fact, at this point, we see N's audiologist more regularly than we see her pediatrician. Because of the length of her appointments and the level of interaction the hearing tests require, you really want a good repore and for your child to feel comfortable.

As far as N's IFSP and her vocabulary goals, we've been making some great progress. I love discovering all the new words she's picking up - both signed and spoken. I'm still painfully aware of her deficits, but she is doing amazing. Her vocabulary is definitely taking off the closer we get to her second birthday. I'm actually pretty proud of her. The girl is determined to communicate well.

N can be extremely shy, like her brother, and like I was (still can be). It's been nice to see her warm up to her team here. She might be resistant to interacting at the beginning of each appointment or session, but once we get started in the routine - where it's checking her ears, or sitting down with her hearing specialist at home - I see her relax and participate. I really hope our next audiologist will become as welcome of a team member as N has allowed her current team members to be.

Do you have any experience with early intervention? What about disabilities in your own children? I know we're very fortunate that N's is relatively mild, I sometimes worry how kids might react once she's in school. My hope is to create a feeling of normalcy and no shame for her. 

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