Friday, June 10, 2011


Up until now, almost all of my posts have been fairly positive. Ava has been doing very well with her CI's, but perhaps not as well as we thought. Ever since Ava was discharged from AVT (and actually before she was discharged), I was a tad unconvinced that Ava could talk as well as her hearing peers. The testing (PLS-4) clearly indicated that her expressive language was a few months ahead of her hearing peers. But testing or not, I had reservations. I have 5 children. I know that children develop at different rates. I also know from experience that Ava just simply was not talking as well as her peers, despite the testing indicating that she was. For the last 6 months, Ava has been working with her Teacher of the Deaf (TOD); basically working on material from more of an educational perspective as well as incorporating the goals suggested by her AV therapist. Her TOD just administered a test called the Cottage Acquisition Scales for Listening, Language & Speech (CASLLS). With this test, Ava scored more in the range of a two year old (which makes sense since she has only heard sound for two years) rather than a three year old (her 3rd birthday is in a couple weeks). I was so upset, shocked and disheartened that I couldn't even blog about it. All this time I've been tooting the "my deaf kid has surpassed her hearing peers" horn only to learn that that may not be the case at all. Why did she score so high on one test and not do so well on the other? What's worse is the services provided by the school board for our TOD end at the end of June (just like school does) and break for the summer. I immediately called Ava's AV therapist who agreed to see us for another assessment on June 24 and we may resume AVT for the summer. While there is still time for Ava to catch up before she starts kindergarten next year, I feel really, really discouraged. All I want is for Ava to be caught up. We certainly have our work cut out for us for the next year and I'm so thankful I don't have to work so I can be home with her to work with her one on one. She will also get speech services at her preschool this fall. As for that CASLLS test, I'm also a bit skeptical. Some of the questions it posed, we hadn't yet taught certain concepts to Ava; such as "child states first and last name". I hadn't taught her what her last name was yet. Another item "child is able to tell simple stories". Ava can go into a diatribe about a Dora episode she watched quoting lines she hears from the show but can a nearly three year old tell simple stories - as in stories with a beginning, middle and end? Does reciting nursery rhymes count? (she has a few under her belt completely memorized). She can open up the "Green Eggs and Ham" book and has almost every page memorized. She regularly speaks in 6-8 word sentences. She is progressing everyday. We see a difference in her speech I am so anxious to see Ava's AV therapist and hear what she has to say in all this. I will be sure to keep you all posted.


  1. CASLLS is a much more in depth test than the PLS. Kids with large language gaps can "get by" with the PLS, but not the CASLLS. I would get back in therapy, and fill the holes.

    Also, remember, even if she does get "caught up" the work has to continue. Hearing kids learn an average of 5 words a day, just because she is caught up one year, doesn't mean she still will be next year.

  2. I don't really have much advice or experience, but you sound so worried- it will all be okay! I have no doubt that she will get caught up, especially since you are so on top of things.

    I feel like so many of those tests can be subjective and not completely accurate, and being implanted so early, Ava is already ahead of the game. To put things in perspective, my hearing loss, though not (yet) profound, wasn't even diagnosed until I was over 6 months older than Ava is now. The technology of analog hearing aids was nothing like current CI's are, but I did just fine when I started mainstream kindergarten.

    Obviously, AVT helped with all of that, so if you feel she still needs it, then absolutely push for her to stay in it. Follow your instinct, but please don't be discouraged!

  3. Our AV therapist told me to not get caught up in all the test results, because depending on the day (the child's mood), the tester, etc., results can vary. But, of course that's easier said than done. From what you describe Ava doing, I'm floored! I just wish Aiden was speaking even five word sentences consistently. I've always wondered how they consider exactly "when" a child can graduate AV therapy, especially ones so young as ours, who truly still have a lot of work under their belt no matter how well they speak. I say forge forward with the AV ... it couldn't hurt right? AND forge forward knowing how amazing your daughter is doing and try, try, try to put those test scores out of your mind. I completely agree, not many three year olds (especially those two years hearing), can tell a simple story (and I'm just now teaching Aiden his last name). Heck, I can barely get a good full sentence out of mine, much less about 5 sentences all at once! Ava's lucky to have you! you are such an awesome advocate for her!