Thursday, August 19, 2010

Voice Camp 2010

Last weekend we had an AWESOME weekend at Voice camp! VOICE is an organization here in Canada which offers support to parents with deaf and hard of hearing kids. Voice's mission is to ensure that all hearing impaired children have the right to develop their ability to listen and speak and have access to services which will enable them to listen and speak. Every year Voice hosts an annual weekend camp for families with deaf/hard of hearing children. It is SO MUCH FUN! As an adult who grew up with a hearing loss, I know this camp is SO IMPORTANT for my children Lauren, who wears hearing aids and Ava, who has the cochlear implants, to be around other children just like them. When I was growing up, there was nobody else in my school who wore a hearing aid and there were many times that I wished I knew someone else my age who wore a hearing aid just like me. MY perception was that I didn't feel "normal" because there were no other kids who had hearing loss and wore a hearing aid in my town. I still had a very HAPPY childhood and did EVERYTHING the other kids did and had lots of FRIENDS. But that part about not feeling "normal" stuck with me throughout my childhood and know that I if had the company of just one other kid like me, that would have made all the difference. However, that being said, those were MY feelings. My children may or may not ever feel that way and I hope that they don't. But attending VOICE camp is fantastic for Lauren and Ava as they are surrounded by tons of kids just - like - them. The feeling is incredible.

What was especially exciting was this year I got to meet Amelia's daddy and his beautiful daughter Amelia.

It was Amelia's daddy's blog that inspired me to start my own blog and gave me hope when Ava was diagnosed.

Also at Voice camp we met Chris Loewen. Chris is a young man who received a cochlear implant when he was 12. He entertained us all with his amazing magic show. Chris gave an excellent talk to the parents about what it was like growing up with a cochlear implant. His mother was a very strong advocate for him and was determined that he learn to listen and speak no matter what the professionals said. He has excellent speech! He was an inspiration for us all! Thank you Chris!

Of course my wonderful talented children's musician husband Markus entertained the kids around the camp fire:

We can't wait until voice camp 2011! See you all next year!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Close Call

Ava and I were hit by a car on our bike yesterday. It is still hard to even write those Miraculously, we walked away with bumps, bruises and scrapes. The bike is a write-off. But we are alive and we were wearing our helmets. I am a very cautious person but all the caution in the world does not prevent the stupidity of some drivers. My advice is to always make eye contact with drivers and ensure that they see you. Even if you have right of way, even if your light is green and even though you are in the crosswalk, you need to make eye contact with the driver BEFORE you proceed. As we crashed to the ground my immediate thought was that no way was God going to take Ava from me after giving her the gift of hearing and all that we've been through. She didn't even cry. She was stunned. But thankfully, she was o.k. I noticed a welt on her forehead. No doubt from the helmet which saved her life I'm sure. There has been a lot of discussion on CIcircle (which is a discussion forum on the web for parents of children with cochlear implants) about bike helmets and how some parents have problems buying the right helmet to fit properly over the coils. Ava's helmet is a Bell helmet we bought at Walmart. We also used a Hanna Andersson pilot cap to wear under the helmet to help keep the coils in place. They look like this:

Ava's AV therapist informed me about a cool website which sells decorative accessories for hearing aids and cochlear implants. They are called Tube Riders and are sold by I purchased 3 pairs - pink flowers, blue flowers and pink butterflies. They have really cool sport themed and animal tube riders for boys. Ava's older sister Lauren wears hearing aids so she was thrilled to wear the Tube Riders also. The tube riders have a small little rubber ring attached to them which you simply slip on the ear hook of the processor or the tubing of the hearing aid. Here are the girls proudly showing off their new accessories!

Feeling oh so good to be alive! And, always always always wear your bike helmet!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

"WordFUL" Wednesday

Just a quick post to post a couple videos of Ava singing and talking. As I've said previously, Ava is very difficult to film. She is constantly on the go and never seems to want to perform for the camera. After bribing her with blueberries, we finally were able to post two videos. The first video is of Ava singing "Twinkle Twinkle" . She actually can sing it much more clearly than in the video but it's the best I could get from her. The other video is of Ava simply talking about whether she wants one cookie or two cookies. In that video she is utilizing a couple things she is working on in AV therapy. One is giving direction where she in turn asks her sister and father if they want a cookie and also utilizing the plural for cookies vs. cookie. Soooo exciting to see her applying what she learns in therapy at home! Her speech isn't always clear at times. But that is to be expected for a two year old.

I have spent a lot of time trying to attach pretty flowers to Ava's coils. I got some ideas from other moms on how to sew snaps around the coils but it is quite difficult to do it with the N5 coils. I also don't want to sew something on only to have to remove it later and then sew it on again. I found these pretty flower stickers at the craft store. They stick fairly well and stay put for days. Even when I remove them they will still stick after a second or third time.