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Saturday, July 27

Amusement Parks, Roller Coasters and Cochlear Implants, Oh My!

Drew has always been a bit of a dare-devil, much more so than his sister. He loves roller coasters, and now that he is over 48" tall, he is finally able to ride some pretty intense rides. On a recent trip to Kings Island, Drew had his first experience with the maximum thrill rides.

On our past trips to Disney World, Kings Island and Cedar Point, we have simply used a critter clip to attach Drew's cochlear implants to his shirt. This way, if a processor did come off of his ear during a ride, it would be attached to his shirt. However, as the ride intensities increase, we're becoming increasingly worried about their safety during a roller coaster ride.

Drew had a lot of anxiety while riding Adventure Express, one of our first rides of the day, when a processor came off of his ear for the first time ever. He was screaming that he lost his ear, and became very upset at the thought of losing the processor. Following the ride, we were able to remind him that they are attached to his shirt, and we won't lose them. He was fine for the rest of the morning, even riding The Beast with his processors.

As our day went on, Drew worked up the courage to ride The Vortex. This roller coaster goes upside down seven times. Not only was I worried about the intensity of the ride for Drew, but I was worried that even a critter clip would not keep the processors safely attached to Drew. I discussed my concerns with Drew prior to the ride, and he decided that it would be best to take his processors off during the ride. So, Drew wore his processors during the wait for the coaster, chatting with friends and family. As he boarded the ride, we took his processors off and placed them safely in a secure place, and he rode the ride. He loved it! He was so happy and had so much fun. And the interesting thing is that he told us he enjoyed riding the roller coaster more because he wasn't wearing his processors. And that's what he chose to do the rest of the day. Each ride, as we would board an intense ride, we would remove his processers and secure them during the ride. He still wore them for things like bumper cars, swings and the scrambler. But for the coasters, he was perfectly content riding without sound.

It's amazing the difference a year makes - last year we spent our entire day in Planet Snoopy and this year we're doing seven-loop roller coasters. My kids are growing up way too fast!

Drew's favorite ride of the day: The Vortex

Drew's sisters' favorite ride of the day: Flight Deck

Sunday, May 5

Drew's Kindergarten Grade Card

Kids with cochlear implants can't talk, read, or write? Maybe they're too busy singing!

Friday, February 1

Language Arts Skills - Kindergarten

It's hard to believe, but Drew is half way through Kindergarten! He's enjoyed making new friends this year, but mostly I think he enjoys being at the same school as his sister.

Drew's progress this year has been amazing. Besides a slight issue of talking too much during circle time and missing vital instructions ("Drew can get silly/talkative during group and work time..."), he has matured quite a bit this year and had glowing remarks on his progress report.

The most amazing piece of his report is his development of Language Arts skills. His teacher wrote, "Drew is growing so much as a reader and writer! He always amazes me that he is strong in language arts with his degree of hearing loss." Drew is currently working above grade level in most Language Arts skills, including rhyming, sight words, letter identification, and so on.

I'm really wishing I could have back all of the hours I spent worrying about weather or not he would ever learn to read and write.


Thursday, October 25

He's Off!

School has been underway for nearly two months, and I'm happy to report that Drew is doing very well in the mainstream setting. Other than a couple of issues getting his teachers and support staff used to his personal FM system, the start of Kindergarten has gone exactly as planned.


Drew has enjoyed making new friends, and asks to have a new friend over for a play date nearly every week. His favorite part of the school day is either gym or recess, depending on the day. Drew is reading. He has math homework. He has been superstar and shared stories with the class about his crazy family. He loves being at the same school with his sister.

Our life with a Kindergartener is so normal. Just how I prayed it would be.

Wednesday, October 24

Inspire

This past weekend, over 18,000 athletes ran though the streets of downtown Columbus, competing in The Columbus Marathon. This year the marathon raised over $875,000 for Nationwide Children's Hospital.

I'm happy to say that I played a very small role in helping to raise that money for the hospital.

While I am not a runner, I trained for the past 16 weeks to run the half marathon. It was a long training program, starting in May with a Mom of two that couldn't even run three miles. Despite a fairly serious injury to my back, I was still able to start the race. And to finish. I can honestly say that it was the hardest physical challenge I have every had.

It was an intense mental challenge as well. As the miles added up, and the pain became intense, it was the Patient Champions that got me through. Seeing the smiling faces of the children whose lives have been impacted so positively by the care that they have received from Nationwide Children's Hospital was an incredibly moving experience.

And then there is Drew. The reason that I chose to run in the first place. Because of this hospital, Drew is able to hear today. He's able to speak, communicate and go to school like any other six year old boy. Nationwide Children's was the only hospital in the area that was willing to implant Drew under the FDA recommend 12 months of age. Drew has had tremendous success since his implantation. And we have the Hearing Team at Nationwide Children's to thank.

13.1 miles seems like a small challenge when thinking about what he has gone through over the past six years to get to this point in his young life. The countless audiology appointments. Speech therapy three times a week. Full day school from the age of three. Drew has worked so hard every step of the way. I couldn't be more proud of him.