Drew and I traveled to Cincinnati on Wednesday, as you may know from a previous post, for his first round of testing to determine if he is a candidate for a cochlear implant. I am happy to report that all of testing went very well.
This round was primarily focused on assessing Drew's cognitive ability. The audiologist, speech pathologist and developmental physician we meet with were looking at his developmental milestones. For example, the speech pathologist was very impressed that Drew was able to follow her finger as she pointed at various objects. She was also very impressed that he would gaze between her eyes and lips while she talked to him. These are things that babies do as they learn to communicate with the world around them and usually happen around 3 1/2 - 4 months of age. The specialists were really pleased to see how Drew is progressing with his desire to communicate. We know he will be behind his hearing peers in terms of speech, but if we can continue to engage him in activities that promote communication, the delay will be minimized.
We also had an ophthalmology appointment to rule out any problems with his eye site, since many deaf babies also have eye problems. While the experience is worthy of a future post of its own, Drew's eye site is perfect. He is near sided, which all babies his age are. The doctor dilated his eyes and examined his retinas and told me that hie eye site is normal.
At this point, the only eye site concern we have is that Drew's hearing loss was caused by Usher's Syndrome. While there is no test for this, we will be able to rule out any possibility if the genetic testing we have run comes back positive for connexin, the most common recessive gene for hearing loss. Otherwise, there is a very small chance he could have ushers, which has a degenerative loss of eye site, usually beginning with night blindness around two years of age. Please know that while it is a possibility, it is so rare, that we are not getting ourselves overly concerned about it.
Drew is a candidate for an implant, pending the results of a future cat scan show his ear has a cochlea. It has been rescheduled for March 14th. At that point the implant surgeon will be able to tell us the medical possibility of an implant. We know from this testing that he has the cognitive ability and desire to communicate.