|Ava in her uniform|
Ava started Kindergarten this month. It has been going super well. I had some reservations as Ava's school implemented a full day program for the first time which meant she would be in a class of 30 noisy three and four year olds together with one teacher and one early childhood educator (E.C.E.). This, coupled with the fact that her classroom is openly connected to two other noisy 30 kid full day Kindergarten classrooms, made me worry that noise would be an issue. We decided before school started that she would benefit from a soundfield system in her classroom and this has made things oh so much better for her. Both the teacher and ECE wear the transmitter and they alternate between the two of them who would be doing the teaching as they both cannot be on the system simultaneously. They have worked this out very well between the two of them. Also, the soundfield is portable and it is brought to the gym and worn by the gym teacher. The proof that the soundfield is working well for Ava is how she comes home day after day demonstrating the new songs she learns at school; how she remembers the lyrics and has a pretty good articulation of the songs. She blew my socks off with her near perfect rendition of our national anthem "Oh Canada" last week. She is making lots of new friends but lucked out with having her best friend from pre-school placed in her classroom (one of the perks of having a child with a disability). Her compact rechargeable batteries last throughout the school day but we find that they run out of power a bit sooner now thus we are changing her batteries at about 6pm daily. Her itinerant TOD comes in once a week to make sure the soundfield is working efficiently and spends time with Ava in the classroom to get a feel of how things are going for her, and to see whether the classroom needs any further modifications to reduce noise. Soon, Ava will be pulled out of her class once a week to work one on one with the TOD. One of the projects they will work on is introducing her cochlear implants to her classmates. Cochlear Corporation apparently has colouring books that we can order which Ava can give to her class while she is doing her presentation.
There are a couple exciting products for cochlear implants that I am dying to share:
SKIN-ITS - I've ordered Ava "skins" which are custom made for her Nucleus 5 processors. I can't wait to get my hands on them. She is so excited. She picked out a Hello Kitty design. Her brown processors are so.....boring and look like, well, like medical devices. The skin-its will certainly give her CI's character and I'm sure her classmates will be sooooo jealous :)
WATERPROOF BAGS for Nucleus 5's. - Cochlear Corporation (finally) came up with their own solution to waterproofing the Nucleus 5. A custom made waterproof ziploc-type single use bag so Ava can wear her processors on her ear and go SWIMMING. Click here for a picture of the bag. From what I can tell, Ava will still have to utilize a swim cap given the fact she dives in 8 feet of water for pool sticks. Ava was not a fan of swim caps so we will see if she will be receptive to wearing the new bag. Certainly a step in the right direction by Cochlear and I trust we will see a fully waterproof processor in the near future! The bags are available in Canada (yay for us) but are just awaiting FDA approval.