Tuesday, November 1, 2011
1. Ava's left processor went kaputz a couple weeks ago. We were so worried that it was the internal device. The processor kept flashing a slow amber light. We swapped everything out to no avail. Even though the processor appeared to be working fine (we could hear sound through the listening headphones), problem was solved when Cochlear exchanged it for another processor. All is well now. In light of the recent recall on the N5 internal devices we were naturally very very concerned! Cochlear customer service was pretty impressive and attentive. I got a replacement shipped to me overnight.
2. I had Ava's first parent teacher interview at school. She is doing amazing! She is very helpful in getting other kids to follow through with teacher commands and prompts. She acknowledges all her peers as they come in to the class. She plays so nicely with everyone. She actively participates in sing alongs and circle time. She just loves her school and her teachers. She is so happy there. I was so pleased to learn that quite a few of her classmates will be going to to same school as Ava for kindergarten next year! This social interaction with her peers is so important.
3. Ava is consistently speaking in 6-7 word sentences now. So proud of her.
4. One of Ava's goals is to break her habit of referring to herself in the third person. For example she might say "Ava wants more juice please" instead of "I" . She is now using I, you, my, mine about 85% of the time.
5. There's a little girl in Ava's class that can read already! So I thought, why not Ava? I saved all of Lauren's sight words from kindergarten and got out a few two- letter words to start with. Ava is now reading the words "up, no, is, a, I, me". I also have her find those words in a book. Once mastered, I will add another 5 words. Why not give her a head start? She really enjoys learning the new words. At the same time she has started with phonics- learning the letter sounds. She has learned "S" and "M".
6. We have a big plastic calendar hanging on the wall. Every day we talk about the date, add the day's number and sing the days of the week. We talk about the day's weather and what we did "yesterday" and what day it will be "tomorrow".
7. Here's a speech sample. Ava is 3 years 4 months. She's had her CI's for 2 1/2 years. She is discussing the days of the week with her 6 year old sister Lauren.
8. I asked Ava's school for the lyrics of all the songs she is learning. At home we practice the songs to improve her articulation of them. She tends to rush through the songs sometimes and you can't always understand her words.
9. Amazing CI moment #326. I asked Ava's playdate in our basement playroom "where did Ava go?" . Ava, having overheard this, answers me from the upstairs bathroom which is off the laundry room "I'm right here Mom upstairs in the bathroom!" WOW.
10. I downloaded the Blogger app from my iPhone. I can now blog from my phone. The only thing I can't seem to do is post a video using the app. So I had to do that from my desktop. Pretty cool though.
Monday, October 10, 2011
Today is our Thanksgiving here in Canada. There are many reasons to be thankful today. Here are my top reasons to be thankful. I am thankful for.....
1. Cochlear Implants - which allow my deaf child to hear and speak.
2. Hearing aids - which allow myself and my hard of hearing child to hear.
3. My husband, who is my best friend.
4. A roof over my head.
5. Food on the table.
6. Always having a job available should I need to go back to work. In fact I am working temporarily this month at my old job, which I love.
7. My children. They are my purpose.
8. Bonus time with my mother-in-law. She is 90 and survived a stroke. She is back in her own home and nearly fully recovered.
9. the friendships that my high functioning autistic son has made in highschool. It is my wish come true.
10. My CI and HA blog friends that I hope to someday meet in person (you know who you all are - I don't want to leave anyone out). We give each other such hope, inspiration and encouragement when we need it most.
Monday, September 26, 2011
We've spent the last two years teaching Ava to learn to listen and speak. She can talk about her feelings. She can listen to a story and is starting to understand and answer "why" questions. She can recall events that happened at school. She is beginning to understand the concept of yesterday, today and tomorrow. These are all prerequisites to having a conversation. You know, the back and forth talking between two people. Typically with a toddler, it can be difficult to have a real conversation where you and your child can go back and forth about one topic for more than a sentence or two. Up until now, many questions would require a simple yes or no or one word response. "Do you want milk or juice?" "Where's daddy?" "Did you have fun at school?" etc etc. Now, it is time to expand this to include why questions and to keep the conversation going for more than a sentence or two. I found it difficult at times with Ava as she would lose interest sometimes. However, Ava LOVES to play pretend games where she would get out her dollhouse figurines and will designate me to be the "mommy " and she would be the "daddy" or "sister" or whatever character she chooses. I found that when we engaged in this type of play, Ava could go on and on back and forth with conversation between these two pretend characters. To keep her interested, we made paper bag puppets together and then we would engage in our "conversations".....hi dog. hi cat. do you want to play with me? ok, what should we play? ummmm let's play chase. Great idea. ok i go first and you chase me. ok? ok, let's go. I'm tired now. Why are you tired? too much running. I'm hungry. What would you like? I want some crackers. Do you want crackers too? ok......
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
2. We have had such a good, enjoyable and fun summer. She spent a lot of time swimming. She has no fear. She swims the shallow end, deep end, dives for pool sticks...all by the age of 3 and nary a swimming lesson (other than by mom). Wow.
3. Ava is speaking so well! We couldn't be more pleased. She continues to show noticeable progress all summer. She is becoming more accurate with her tenses (using "ing" and "ed" endings). She frequently will repeat phrases she hears us say at random times - such as "what are you talking about?" (in the sarcastic context - a phrase I use with my teenage children).
4. The pre-school Ava is attending is Silver Creek Preschool. It serves children with all kinds of special needs together with typically developing children. They do use a total communication approach, which incorporates oral, sign and visual aids (for the non verbal children or those with communication disorders). I didn't choose the school because Ava is deaf. I chose it because it is also an excellent nursery school for typically developing neighbourhood children. There will be other kids with no issues who will be good language models for Ava. Ava's older sister Lauren also attended the school and had a wonderful fulfilling year doing all the regular pre-school stuff. They also provide speech therapy (if needed) and music therapy. The school will work with Ava's itinerant TOD in preparing a list of goals for her. Also, the school is literally a 3 minute walk from our home.
5. Ava will resume her weekly sessions with her TOD (Teacher of the Deaf) in September. The role of the TOD is to act as a link between Ava's school and her family. She will make sure all of Ava's needs are met at school and also will continue to monitor Ava's speech and language development. She will also continue to work with Ava on academic concepts thus giving Ava a head start for kindergarten next year.
6. Ava is finally in a bed and is sharing a room with her sister. The girls love being roommates. Ava also decided she wasn't going to wear pull-ups anymore at night. Pro: She has been accident free since. Con: she gets up every night around 3am to pee and will sometimes roam around (she is the heaviest walker and thumps around like an elephant) before she goes back to bed.
7. Ava has a Mapping next month. Looking forward to having her processors tweaked.
8. Ava's oldest sisters are leaving this weekend to move into their dorms at university. It's an emotional time for me. Try to imagine your kid leaving home and living somewhere else. Yeah they'll be back some weekends, yeah, they'll be home for the summer. But its not the same. They are living somewhere else. When its your firstborn, it is such a huge adjustment. At home, you know they're safe and snug in their own beds for the most part. You still have some control over their well being. That is all changing now. They have to make their own decisions as to safety and judgment in certain situations. I'm so excited for them, but inside, I'm mourning a loss.
9. Sometimes Ava likes to leave her CI's off for a while. Such as after swimming, she doesn't want them back right away and likes to play around deaf (and naked too lol). She loves exerting her independence!
10. Our life with Ava couldn't really be any more "normal". I continue to stress this because with her CI's, Ava is a hearing child. We are so grateful for her CI's and her ability to hear so well with them. I grew up with hearing loss. My honest to God opinion? Right now? It is no.big.deal. It's life. Our life. Life is what you make it. Don't look the other way. Don't look for what ifs or whys. Just live the life you are given and accept it. Strive to do all things possible to help your child maximize his or her potential and believe you, as his or her parent, ARE doing EVERYTHING possible. Then just ......be. Life truly is precious.
Thursday, August 4, 2011
We visited Ava's AV therapist last month to check in. You may recall that Ava finished her AV therapy last December. However, we were having some concerns based on some new speech and language testing Ava had done. While we thought Ava was doing well up to that point, it was the testing that indicated she was not doing as well as we thought. In the end, we surmised that the testing simply indicated that there were some concepts she had not yet achieved, such as stating her last name. These are things we can simply teach her. Ava's AV therapist reassured us that Ava is still doing very, very well. Sometimes, you cannot get too caught up in "test results". To this day, Ava is progressing wonderfully. She has become very inquisitive, constantly asking me "what are you doing?" She is very VERY excitable and oh so full of zest and life.
Tomorrow we are headed for the annual summer Voice Camp weekend for kids who are deaf/hard of hearing. So excited for the girls to spend a weekend with other kids their age with hearing aids and cochlear implants. It is such an interesting mix of families. Some families are completely oral, such as ours. And some families use sign language, mainly those families where the parents are deaf and chose to have their deaf children implanted and learn to listen and speak. The weekend is full of activities for the kids and workshops for the parents. I look forward to meeting the families we met the last couple years and also to making new friends as well. I will be sure to post pictures.
Thursday, June 30, 2011
NOW: (she scraped her chin and lip yesterday :(
Ava's Sibs (almost all of them!)
Clarissa - almost 18!
Lauren - 6 1/2
Anthony - 16 on Monday
Adrian - 14 next month
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
1. Ava is toilet trained. Yay! Still wears pull-ups at night. That's okay with me!
2. Since Ava is toilet trained, I was able to sign her up for some good ole summer camp. YES! I have her in two weeks of half-day camps at community centres only 3 minutes away. They are called "Half-Pints" and "Tiny Tots" . How cute is that. Her older sister is also attending camp at the same location. It will be a great dry run to prepare for pre-school in the fall. Not too worried about CI issues. I will use a critter clip and send some extra wigtape for the camp counsellors. And sprinklers for water days? Bring it on! We've got Nucleus 5's baby!
3. Speaking of wig tape, Phonak has invented a clever product called "Stick 'n Stay". They are individual packages consisting of two pieces of double sided wig tape in a perfect contour shape. This is great for travelling. I now stick a couple packs in my purse instead of carrying scissors and a wigtape roll around. They work pretty well. They cost more than a roll of wigtape but it's still not that expensive if you only use it when you're out on the road (our hearing dispenser charged us $12 for a pack of 30 pairs) And of course but you can't beat the convenience.
4. Ava is a complete little stinker. She now REFUSES to wear her aloksak bag and swim cap for the pool. GRRRRR! Guess we'll just have to wait it out until she passes that "I want to be in control of everything" stage. I had major waterpark plans for this summer and she is ruining them. GRRRRR!
5. Ava has decided it is quite amusing to scream at the top of her lungs within close earshot. Not funny unless you're 5 months old and discovering your voice. Needless to say she has "time-out's" quite freqently these days.
6. Getting dressed continues to be a battle. I've tried everything. She simply will not wear anything you even look at, much less choose for her out of an array of 3 outfits. Sorry, sweetie but you can't wear Dora pyjama bottoms to church.
7. Ava LOVES to "read". She spends a lot of time looking at books on her own. She reads to herself having memorized her books. She will spend an hour sometimes doing this.
8. The other day I asked Ava: What do we use to see? She said, "eyes". What do we use to touch? "fingers" What do we use to taste? "mouth" What do we use to hear? She caught me completely off guard when she replied, "CI's". She's a smarty pants that one.
9. Growing up I used to wonder why I was the only one in my family who wore hearing aids. How grateful I am that I do have a hearing loss. I notice Ava looking at my hearing aids all the time. No doubt because of this Ava feels that wearing hearing devices are natural and normal because mommy and older sister Lauren wear them too. It kinda feels like this was God's plan for me, so I can better advocate and be a role model for my daughters. We are in it together.
10. Another observation - Ava has to have both CI's on all - the - time. Sometimes, for example, I'll put just one CI back on after the bath or if I can't right at that instant refresh Ava's wigtape on a CI that has fallen off, she goes nuts. She demands both CI's every time.
Friday, June 10, 2011
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Friday, April 15, 2011
4. My oldest daughter Clarissa and stepdaughter Catherine are graduating from high school in June. They are in the midst of deciding which university to attend in the fall. What am I going to do without my built in babysitters? I mean the reason I have a social life is because of my two oldest girls. I can literally just walk out the door and they know the whole routine of the household. I am going to be lost without them (and all their friends who babysit for me when my daughters cannot).
Friday, April 1, 2011
Our family was featured on our local cable tv show "Where Parents Talk". At first I thought the feature would be centered around Ava's cochlear implants, however, the network was more impressed with our blended family of seven kids thus the clip featured our family. They did touch briefly on Ava's implants, but not as much as I hoped for. To view the clip: click here
Thursday, March 17, 2011
1. The method I use: Aloksak bag and swim cap. For more details, click here.
2. Foodsaver method: click here .
3. Balloon method: click here .
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Monday, February 21, 2011
Putting in the muffin cups
Mix it up
Friday, January 21, 2011
I am going to be honest here. Part of me has a fear that Ava may experience rejection by her peers. I grew up with hearing aids. I did not experience rejection myself (except for one smart-assed boy in grade 7 who made a couple smart-assed comments about my hearing aid, which I just let roll off, although it did sting at the time). Ava's older sister Lauren, who is 6, wears hearing aids. So far, knock on wood, she hasn't had any problem with her peers. Lauren's teacher of the deaf played a role in this, I'm sure. She had the clever idea to have Lauren make a book complete with Lauren's own illustrations of all the parts and functions of her hearing aids and Lauren read this to her class and to the principal. Right from the get-go, Lauren's peers were made aware of Lauren's hearing aids, why she got a sound-field and then an FM system and how they need to face Lauren when they talk to her. She has a ton of friends and frankly, they don't even think about her hearing aids or remember that she has them. I'm hoping that this will be the same with Ava too. But, who has really seen implants before? Don't get me wrong. I am eternally grateful for the technology. But I feel I have to do everything in my power so that Ava gets off to a good start socially, with her peers. I want the world to see just what a lovely vivacious full of energy and zest little girl Ava is. And the sooner, the better. In a group setting, Ava can learn things like turn-taking, sharing, empathy and conflict resolution. Last September, I enrolled Ava in a mom/tot group. The group meets for two hours every Wednesday in a school-like setting and follows a school-like routine. Ava LOVES it. I mean absolutely its her favourite place in the world to go to.
First, it's FREE PLAY at the many different stations, such as painting, colouring, puzzles, dress-up, toys, play-dough, potato head, books, etc.
Then, we do a craft. Here, we decorated our own gingerbread men and of course devoured them.
Next, we have CIRCLE TIME. We sing songs and have a story.
Then we line up and wait for our name to be called. "Ava be nimble, Ava be quick, Ava jump over the candle stick."