Monday, November 1

IEP for the 2010 - 11 School Year

We're very pleased with Drew's IEP for this school year. His teachers and therapists spent the first month of school thoroughly evaluating Drew's spoken language, receptive language, auditory skills, math readiness, writing readiness, etc. Below is the summary of his evaluation:

Drew's spontaneous speech is characterized by substitutions and distortions of /f, ch, j, th, v/ according to the Goldman Fristone Test of Articulation 2. In addition, he exhibits distortions of /l/ blends. However, Drew's connected speech is usually intelligible when conversing with others. The Ling Phonetic Level Speech Evaluations indicates that he correctly produces all of the vowels of our language in single, repeated, and alternated syllables. In his conversational speech, Drew exhibits appropriate vocal characteristics, including vocal quality, intensity, ,pitch and natural intonation patterns.

Wearing his implants and using audition alone, Drew can identify common environmental sounds, repeat vowel sounds and follow directions containing two critical elements in a closed set of four choices.

Drew recognizes and names 17/26 uppercase and 11/26 lowercase letters of the alphabet. He recognizes and names 10/11 colors. Using the Get It, Got It, Go! preschool assessment, Andrew can name 19 pictures in one minute, and point to eight rhyming pictures in two minutes.

Andrew can rote count to 39, count 21 objects and name five shapes (circle, square, triangle, rectangle and heart). He can sort objects by color and shape and duplicate simple patterns using Unifix cubes (ABAB and AABA). He recognizes the numerals 1-5.

Andrew can copy 10 letters of the alphabet. He attempts to write his first name from memory, but does not form the letters correctly.

Probably the best part of the IEP is the "Child's Profile", which was written by his teacher:

"Drew is a bright child, who has a great personality. He is willing to work hard and he has a good attention span. He seems to enjoy coming to school. "

From this evaluation, Drew's team developed the following goals:
  • Andrew will produce final /f/, /ch/, /j/, /v/, and /th/ in syllables and words on 8 out of 10 attempts in the therapy setting.
  • In a quiet setting with audition alone, Andrew will respond in sequential order to auditory training activities in the sub-skills of phonetic listening and auditory comprehensions with in the DASL 50 out of 50 times. (nasal and non-nasal consonants in the beginning position of syllable and words (cake vs. make); the follow directions containing four critical elements in a closed set of six choices on 50 out of 50 consecutive trials).
  • Andrew will independently recognize and name letters of the alphabet and frequently displayed pictures, icons, labels and words in the environment in six out of 10 attempts. Andrew will independently sequence and event or familiar story read in class in six out of 10 attempts.
  • Andrew will demonstrate basic number concepts through counting, numeral identification and the use of manipulative upon teacher request in six out of 10 attempts.
  • Andrew will show understanding that written symbols convey a message by attempting to emulate writing in six of 10 attempts. Andrew will use the writing process to make the intended message clear by drawing pictures and/or words, letters or symbols in six of 10 attempts.

Drew has lots to work on this year, but knowing him, I bet he'll have mastered this by the end of the year!

Thursday, October 28

OT Evaluation

Drew's teacher requested permission to evaluate Drew's fine motor skills prior to his IEP meeting this fall. She had some concerns about his development in that area, and wanted to see if he was far enough behind to qualify for services.

At our meeting this week, I received the evaluation. The school used a standardized "Peabody Developmental Motor Scales - 2" test to evaluate Drew's skills. Drew scored in the 75th percentile for grasping skills, and in the 95th percentile for Visual-Motor Integration.

Drew was observed using an overhand/side approach to working with blocks. He could stack 10 blocks to form a tower and was able to copy simple three to four block patterns. He was also noted to grasp a marker with a mature tripod grasp (which shocks me!). He could unbutton three buttons in 75 seconds, and unbutton one button in twenty seconds. He was noted to be able to touch finger to thumbs in a smooth manner. In addition, he can trace a line, cut out a circle and square with accuracy, connect dots with accuracy and was able to imitate a horizontal line, vertical line, circle and a cross.

Basically, all of this is to say that he does not qualify for services for his fine motor skills. He was noted to have several strengths, including his "mature" grasp on a marker, ability to cut out simple shapes with accuracy, ability to button and unbutton and his imitations of drawing lines and simple shapes. The only weakness noted was in his printing skills of his name (it looks quite awful!). So the game plan is for him to work on his fine motor skills in classroom activities with his teachers, and for us to come up with some creative activities at home to help develop these skills.

Wednesday, October 27


At Drew's IEP meeting this week, we reviewed Drew's progress to date on his current IEP (for the 2009 - 10 school year). He mastered every goal from that IEP! Here's an idea of what he can do:

  • Demonstrate improved voice control and improved vowel and consonant productions on at least five out of 10 attempts in the therapy setting.
  • Produce a sustained voice in response to a model on eight out of 10 attempts.
  • Produce a voice of varied duration in response to a model on seven out of 10 attempts.
  • Produce /00/ in syllables and words in response to a model on seven out of 10 attempts.
  • Produce final /p/ in syllables and words in response to a model on eight out of 10 attempts.
  • Produce /sh/ in syllables and words in response to a model five out of 10 attempts.
  • Produce/d/ in syllables and words in response to a model six out of 10 attempts.
  • Produce repeated sequences of contrasting consonants, such as /ba-ma/ in response to a model on seven out of 10 attempts.
  • Using the school curriculum, imitate and spontaneously use the word "have" instead of "got", and "to" in infinitives. Demonstrate an understanding of the concepts "front", "in front of", "over" and "full/empty" during structured language activities (unit/circle time) and unstructured (recess/lunch) activities through the use of speech reading and oral language in an appropriate fashion during at least six of 10 opportunities.
  • In a structured classroom situation using play objects and pictures, demonstrate a receptive understanding of the directional/positional concepts "front", "in front of", and "over" through manipulating objects during structured classroom activities in seven of ten tries.
  • In a structured classroom situation using play objects, indicate an understanding of the quantitative concepts "full/empty" by identifying full of empty objects as requested by the teacher in seven of ten trials.
  • Spontaneously use the word "to" with verbs to form infinitives: to make, to cut, to color, to write, to play and to go during structured classroom activities 70% of the time.
  • During structured classroom situation, imitate a model in a 3-4 word sentence with the possessive "I have ____" instead of "I got ____" during 90% of provided opportunities.
  • During structured situations, will spontaneously produce utterances using "I have ___" when made meaningful through theme related play activities with minimal cues 60% of the time.
  • Show progress in the sub-skills of phonetic listening and auditory comprehension in sequential order using the Developmental Approach to Successful Listening by responding correctly in 50 of 50 attempts.
  • Phonetic Listening - will discriminate between syllables and words initiated with /s/ blends and syllables and words beginning with single consonants.
  • Phonetic Listening - In a set of four choices, discriminate syllables or words with initial /s/ consonant blends.
  • Auditory Comprehension - will follow directions containing three critical elements in a closed set of four choices.

Friday, October 22

IEP Meeting Monday

We have our yearly IEP meeting scheduled for Monday. We will review the assessments and evaluations that Drew's teacher has conducted over the opening month of school, and update his goals as necessary. We have no reason to believe that it won't go smoothly, but with these things I guess one never really knows.

One area of interest (or concern) has been Drew's fine motor skills. We consented to an evaluation in early September, and will receive the results of the evaluation on Monday. We're not certain that he will qualify for services, but we do know that Drew is a weak in that area. If he doesn't qualify for service, we're hopeful that his teacher (and the OT) can offer some activities that we can do at home to help Drew develop his fine motor skills.

We'll update his lastest evaluation and IEP goals after our meeting.

Wednesday, September 22

Language Sample - Four Years Old

I've taken a little video of Drew over the past few days, to give you an idea of how Drew is doing with his language. He will turn four years old this month, and has had his Cochlear Implants activated for nearly three years, three months.

It is really hard for me to believe that this whole hearing journey began nearly four years ago. If only I would have known then, what I know now. It would have saved a lot of tears.

Saturday, September 18

Across the Field

Drew attended his first Ohio State football game this weekend! We made the mistake of telling Drew on Wednesday that we had tickets to this weekends game. He was instantly excited, and has been asking each morning if it was time to go to the game. Today, when we opened his bedroom door, he simply said, "Terrelle Pryor?" To which I nodded, and Drew's grin lit up the whole room.

Drew's love for all sports is infections. His love for football is awesome. Drew's Dad and I are really enjoying sharing our love of everything Ohio State with our little boy. Today, we introduced him to "Skull Session", stadium hot dogs, The Best Damn Band in the Land, Carmen Ohio, the Buckeye Bounce and an Ohio State Victory.

Saturday, September 11

Game Day Treats

It's a big day in Buckeye Country, as we face off with the Miami Hurricanes later today. To get into the game day spirit, we're baking some yummy football treats. Which also happens to be a great language activity for Drew!

Drew is counting the number of cupcakes we are making. We also discussed the colors of the cupcake wrappers, and counted the number of yellow, red, pink, etc. Great for pre-math skills!

While we've known for several years now, through all of our therapy session, that baking provides a rich source of language, it hasn't really worked with a crazy boy that can't sit still for more than a minute. However, as Drew is nearing his fourth birthday (gasp), his attention span is growing. He's actually really enjoying baking, among other things, now.

Today, we talked about the ingredients that go into the cupcake mix. We counted. We sorted. We asked questions that made Drew recall what we had done, each step along the way. (Drew, did we add the eggs or the butter first?) He had fun, and in no way knew he was doing work!

The finished product!

Go Bucks! Beat the Hurricanes!

Tuesday, August 31

Road Trip!

Oh. My. Word. We just returned from a weeks vacation at the beach, and my ears need a break! We took a little road trip to the lovely island of Hilton Head, South Carolina, to celebrate the last un-official week of summer. While road tripping, Drew decided that he likes to talk. A lot. And he talked the entire 10 hour drive. Non-stop. He was relentless. Never tired. Talking the entire ride. It went something like this:

[Drew]: Mom. Mom. Mom! I need to talk to you because I like to talk. Mom. Mom. Mom! I have something to tell you. Mom. Mom. Mom! Buzz and Wuzz rhyme. Did you know that? Mom? Mom! Did you know that Woody and Moody rhyme? Seriously, it rhymes! I'm serious. Jessie and messy rhyme. I'm serious.

[Me]: Drew, it's time to settle down and rest. You need to take a nap. Let's stop talking.

[Drew]: But Mom! I need to talk. Mom, I need to talk. I need to tell you something. Zurg and furg rhyme. Did you know that?

[Me]: Drew, it's nap time, now STOP TALKING!

[Drew]: But Mom, I can't sleep. It's too light out. I can't sleep. I need to talk.

[Me]: If it is too light, put your blankie over your eyes and take a little rest.

So this is what he did:

And he continued to talk, at a whisper, under the blanket for the next hour. Once he pulled the blanket off, you can pretty much re-read the above conversation. And that was our trip. For ten hours.

Actually, my ears are ringing just writing this post.

Monday, August 30

Water Babe

Drew is a water maniac. On our recent vacation Drew and his sister invented the "tuck in".

Sunday, August 29

Get on the Bus!

This year, Drew will be riding a school bus to his school each day. After a paperwork nightmare, and a first-day-of-school issue, Drew's busing is now running smoothly. And he is really enjoying his new ride to school!

He's growing up so quickly.

Thursday, August 26

First Day of Preschool 2

Drew enjoyed his first day of preschool this week! He's in the four-year-old classroom this year, with the same teacher his sister had last year. We're all very excited to see what this year brings for our little man.

Drew will receive auditory and speech therapy at school. His teacher will evaluate him over the first month of school, and we will revise his IEP goals as necessary at that time.

Sunday, July 18

Cedar Point with CI's

We recently made our annual trip to Cedar Point with Drew and his sister. The kids both love amusement rides and junk fair-type foods, and were extremely excited to spend the day running around the park.

This is a picture of Drew and his sister taking off on the Jr. Gemini for the first time. It's a mini version of the real Gemini roller coaster, just for kids. Drew and his sister were big enough to ride by themselves, so off they went together. As their car pulled out of the station, a sense of panic came over me. Drew was wearing only the BTE portion of his cochlear implants. He had never ridden a ride this intense without a parent by his side to protect his CI's, nor had he ever ridden a ride without his babyworn system. I turned to Drew's Dad and mentioned my fear. We both worried the entire time they were flying around the track. I resolved myself to an afternoon of combing the grounds beneath the roller coaster searching for missing parts, but luckily that did not happen. Drew returned, two CI's still in place. A sense of relief came over us, until the coaster took off again. Another minute of painfully waiting for Drew to return with both ears.

All was well. He didn't have an ear come off all day. And I think he rode the Jr. Gemini about twenty times. Although it ended well, we have an oto-clip (scroll down to the bottom of page) on order.

Sunday, July 4

Crazy Boy

Drew has turned into a crazy boy in the pool. He clearly loves the water, and enjoys everything about spending hot summer days jumping off the side of the pool into the refreshing water. Over and over and over again. I can't tell you how happy I am that our waterproofing method works as well as it does. The kid never misses a beat. And he can hear the life guard blow the whistle at him when he's "misbehaving".

And, Drew is going to have his first "play date" at the pool this weekend. One of his friends wants to go swimming with him this weekend. We're going to meet for some fun in the sun and pizza pool side. We are just so, so blessed with how normal our life really is.

Monday, June 28

Third Hearing Day

We're celebrating tonight! What an amazing three years it has been, full of listening, games, playing and fun. It's been lots and lots of hard work; days spent in hospital offices, with therapists, audiologists and at all day pre-school. Drew's progress has been nothing short of amazing and we're thankful everyday for his gift of hearing. And listening. And speaking. And communication.

We captured a little video of Drew tonight to mark this third hearing anniversary.

Happy Hearing Day Drew! We are so thankful that you are such a happy, loving and hardworking little boy. We are so lucky to be your Mommy and Daddy!

Wednesday, June 23

Nearly Three Years

It has been nearly three years since Drew's cochlear implants were first activated - and what a journey it has been! Here are some of my favorite videos from the past three years.

Sunday, June 20


Drew is very excited this evening - he begins soccer (and basketball, football and t-ball) lessons in the morning!

Drew has been asking, for probably close to a year now, to take soccer lessons, and we've finally signed him up! It's not that we haven't wanted to enroll him, but this is the first summer that he is old enough to participate in a program in our community. We could have enrolled him last summer in lessons, but they would have been nearly 30 minutes away!

We're very excited that Drew is going to be able to participate in a program just like all of the kids in our neighborhood - with no accommodations! I'll brief the instructor in the morning about CI's and what to do if one falls off; I'll let them know that they may have to repeat instructions for Drew, and that background noise can be a bit of a problem. Other than that, he'll be good to go.

I have a feeling he is going to have a great day tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 15

Summer Therapy

I've struggled quite a bit with what to do for Drew this summer in terms of therapy. What does he need? Who can provide it? What is he eligible for?

The unfortunate thing is that now that he is on an IEP he is not eligible for Extended School Year services. In order for our school district to provide summer services, we would have to demonstrate that Drew would have a significant reduction in his current performance level by not having services in the summer. That obviously isn't the case, so he isn't entitled to any school based services. (The reason being that all kids regress some during the summer months, and special needs kids should not be subject to services that peer students are not, unless the special need student would regress more than a peer. Basically, the summer months are not a time to "catch up" because it isn't fair to peers. Blah. Blah. Blah.)

So, we're left in this little area of doing well, but trying not to let the summer months lead to a large reduction in speech and language. So, what is right? Luckily we were informed about a grant that is provided through Drew's Preschool specifically for deaf and hard of hearing children. Drew was accepted to the grant program and will receive six hours of auditory therapy this summer. We're really excited about this formal therapy.

Other than the six hours of formal therapy, Drew's Dad and I signed Drew up for the preschool summer reading program through our local library, which guides us through reading specific books designed for Drew's age group. Some are pre-readers, some are letter and number books, and others are stories. Some come with questions for discussion to work on understanding of key concepts in the stories.

Other than that, what are we doing? We're having fun. We're going to relax. We're going to enjoy the summer months. This is the first summer where we've felt like we can just relax and that everything is going to be fine. That's a first for us. The past summers have been filled with CI activation - and all the appointments that go with it, therapy and IEP battles. We're looking forward to just being a normal family this summer!

Sunday, June 13

School's Out

Then end of this school year has come. While I'm extremely excited for the warmer weather and all the things that come with it - the beach, pool, park, outdoors - I am very sad that Drew is moving on up to Preschool Two.

Drew is getting so big. Growing each day. Learning new things. Talking like crazy. And I'm sad that we won't be able to share this next year with Ms. L. She was Drew's teach this year. A wonderful woman, patient and kind. Drew grew and learned so much in her class. We are really going to miss her!

I know that next year with bring another outstanding teacher, and another wonderful year of growth - in many, many ways - for Drew. But it's hard not to feel sad about leaving a teacher - and a year of school - behind. Each year with Drew is more and more amazing - his progress more and more amazing. And it's hard to move on from those that are such a large part of his success.

Saturday, June 12


It's not unusual for Drew's Dad and I to find ourselves whispering to each other quite often, especially when we are driving. While whispering is often considered rude, when you have two young children, you find yourself whispering quite often. Why talk aloud about going for ice cream when you aren't sure your spouse is in agreement? Can't discuss the possible trip to the pool for fear of someone getting over excited. The list goes on.

As we drove home from a trip to the park the other night, Drew was behaving quite poorly in the car. Really, he was out of control crying and whining over something. I can't even remember what he was crying and whining about - that's how important it was. After several requests to stop whining, I told Drew he would be placed in timeout when we finally made it home.

Drew, being the master at manipulation, began saying "I'll stop. See, I'm stopping. I'm not crying any more." He continued this speech over an over, in a super attempt to keep himself out of the dreaded timeout.

Drew's Dad and I began our whispering, in this case about parenting. We were discussing with each other the fact that we had already told Drew he would get a time out, and that he couldn't get out of it now. Just making sure we were both on the same page.

As we talked we started to hear Drew in the back seat talking louder and louder. To us. He was saying, "Hey, stop talking about timeouts! Stop talking about timeouts! Mom, Dad. Stop talking about timeouts."

Drew's Dad and I found it hilarious. First, it was quite hilarious that he heard us talking, and knew what we were discussing. But hearing his sweet little voice tell us that we should stop talking about his timeout was just precious.

For the record, Drew did receive his timeout when we got home. Although it wasn't nearly as long as what it should have been. He's just too darn cute.

Monday, May 10

Dining with Drew

We celebrated Mother's Day with a dinner out at one of our favorite local restaurants. We had a rather large party of 10 to celebrate the day, at a very busy, loud restaurant.

When we took our seats we didn't give much thought to the seating arrangements, other than the fact that Drew and his sister were required to sit by either me or their Daddy. Sometimes restaurant behavior can rapidly deteriorate without a parental unit nearby.

Anyway, Drew sat with his back facing the center of the restaurant. And he would not stop talking. The entire night. Didn't matter if someone else was talking at the table, his mouth was moving. And he was talking. Loud. To the point where he was wearing on my last nerve.

Then it dawned on me - he couldn't hear. I leaned down and asked him if he could hear, and he said "No, it's too loud," and popped both of his ears off.

Lesson learned. Drew needs to sit as far away from the center of a noisy restaurant as possible. And I need to talk with his audiologist about getting some additional mapping programs for noisy situations added to his processors. Now that he is able to tell us with more accuracy how he is hearing, I think we can give these additional programs a try.

This is the first time in quite awhile I have really noticed his hearing compromised by noise. I think it's time to see his audiologist.

Sunday, April 25

Airport Travel with a Cochlear Implant

We recently return from our first family vacation that involved air travel! We went to Disney World to celebrate Drew's Sisters' 5th Birthday, and this meant that the kids flew on an airplane for the first time.

I did a little bit of research prior to the flight, mostly revolving around the security process as it related to Drew's cochlear implants. I was worried that Drew would beep going through security, and I was a little worried about taking all of Drew's spare equipment with me on the airplane (would TSA search my bags with such unfamiliar equipment stashed throughout my bags?). I found that many cochlear implant recipients walk right through the metal detectors, reporting a bit of a buzzing sound in their ears, but no other complications. I also learned that most travel with their back up accessories in their carry on luggage. And I certainly carried Drew's medical cards with me, which we were given at the time of his surgery.

As we approached the security check point on our outbound flight, TSA ushered Drew and I to a separate screening area. After I walked through the metal detector, as I have hundreds of times before, Drew and I were moved to a secure area where he was "patted down". He never walked through the metal detectors. I thought it was very cautionary on TSA's part, and I was very impressed by their professionalism. The screener said that he didn't want any damage to Drew's equipment, so they hand screen all cochlear implant travelers.

The exactly same thing happened on our flight home. Again, I was screened through the metal detector, and then Drew was brought to a secure location with me where he was again "patted down". The TSA agent was very professional again, explaining to Drew exactly what he was going to do. We loved our "special" screening in Orlando, as we were moved to a separate line and spared from a very long security line!

Overall, our security clearing process was a piece of cake, and just one additional little thing that is so normal in this little boys life.

Friday, March 26

The Fishy Song

Each week at school, Drew's class has a specific focus. It could be shapes (he made the cutest little book!) or colors or, like this week, counting. And each week the class has a special song they work on that goes along with the weeks theme.

Throughout the year I've known about the songs, and Drew's Dad and I have worked with him at home, singing the class song. Well, this week, Drew learned his song at school all by himself! (And I really like how he finishes his consonant sounds - a big piece on our IEP!)

Enjoy "The Fishy Song".


One, two, three, four, five
Once I caught a fish alive!
Six, seven, eight, nine, ten
Then I let him go again!
Why did you let him go?
'Cause he bit my finger so.
Which finger did he bite?
This little finger on the right!

Thursday, March 18


Our request to have Drew's Cochlear Implants upgraded was denied by our insurance company. We now go forward with an appeal. We'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, March 10

Taking the Plunge

Well, we've taken the plunge. Quite literally for Drew, figuratively for me. Drew is now enrolled in his first swim class.
When Drew was diagnosed with hearing loss, one of the (many) things I cried over was swimming. How would a deaf child ever learn to swim - without being able to hear in the water, nor knowing any sign language? How would he ever be safe swimming? I felt like yet another little thing was being ripped away from me. What would our summers be filled with, if not water activities?
As a child I grew up with a pool in my backyard. I was spoiled. Every day of every summer I can remember was spent in the pool. As soon as I woke up, I would make my bed (a rule of my mothers) and jump in the pool. I would get out only to eat, and watch General Hospital. My sister, brother and I would swim all day long, until dusk, when the bats started swooping at the pool.
I have been so worried that a life in the water would be taken from my family. You see, if Drew could not hear in the water, it would not be enjoyable, so therefore the whole family would have to find something else to do. For one, I have been worried about how he will learn to swim. He does not know sign language, nor does he have a need to learn. Second, I find it very unsafe for him not to be able to hear in the water. What if a life guard is blowing her whistle at him for something? How will he know?
When we stumbled upon a YouTube video describing one families way of waterproofing a CI, we were ecstatic. Finally a solution to an issue that had worried us from very early on in this journey. And I must say, the waterproofing has worked beautifully. We used it on our vacation to Hilton Head two summers ago, and all last summer at the local pool.
As Drew is now 3 1/2 years old, we felt it was finally time for him to take some formal swim lessons, not only to learn pool safety, but to also begin working on basic swimming skills. I was very apprehensive to enroll him in the lessons. In-door pools by nature are very loud, and in a class of six children I was concerned that his ability to hear would be compromised. I was worried about him having issues if his CI feel off, or how the instructor would respond to having a child with different needs in her class.
I'm happy to say that I was needlessly worried! Drew is doing amazingly well. On the first night, I gave his instructor a little information on how Drew hears and things she could do to help him. With only one ear on, his sound localization is compromised, so she knows to tap him to get his attention on her. We told her that it would be helpful if he could see her lips. I've noticed that his teacher now makes an effort to have Drew stand or sit in the front of all the kids. We've had no issues keeping his ear on. He's happy in the water, even talking to other kids when it's not his turn to swim. Overall, it's just been really...easy.
Drew loves swimming. He's asked to go back every day for the past two weeks. He enjoys swimming on his back the most. And for the first time tonight actually let go of his teacher and swam, with his noodle tightly wrapped around his waist, by himself. He was so proud of himself!
Just another ordinary day in the life of an extraordinary little boy. I wish someone would have told me all this in the beginning. It would have saved a lot of tears.

Wednesday, February 24

Mr. Bron

Who is that, you ask? Why Le Bron James. NBA All-star. Dunk master. King of eating vegetables.

King of vegetables?

Yes, that's right, LeBron eats his veggies, or at least that's what we're telling Drew. And LeBron, if you're reading this, you do eat your veggies, correct?

You see, we've had some over-the-top picky eating issues with Drew. Remember this? Anytime Drew is served a meal, you know, that includes something healthy, we get that response. Well, that actually is mild compared to the slinging his plate across the table, screaming "I don't want that!" at the top of his lungs. Yes, it is pretty around here at meal times.

Enter LeBron.

You see, Drew loves LeBron James. Loves him. Seriously. The boy loves basketball. He loves to play basketball. He loves to watch basketball. Especially LeBron. He asks every day if he can "watch LeBron play basketball today Mommy?"

So, an idea came to me. Maybe if we tell Drew that LeBron eats peas, Drew will eat them. Green Beans? Let's give that a try. Spinach? Can't hurt to try!

And the crazy thing? It worked!

Drew now eats his veggies. And while he's eating he'll say, "I eat my peas so I can get big like Mr. Bron."

Drew now cries when we tell him he can't have any more to eat. He'll say, "But I need to eat so that I can grow big and play basketball like Mr. Bron."

Thank you, LeBron. Mr. Bron.

Wonder what else I can parlay this into? LeBron likes to do laundry? Clean the house? Cook dinner? I think I'm on to something special here.

Tuesday, February 23

A Little Whine With My Cheese

This post is going to be whiny. Consider yourself warned.

I signed up for a gym membership. Five years of parenthood, and the stresses of having a child with hearing loss, as well as the stresses of every day life, have not been kind to my body. Sure, I pretty much look the same as I did PB (pre-babies), but I don't feel the same. So, I decided to be selfish and do something for me.

In order to get myself to the gym, I knew that I would need to join a gym with a children's center. With our crazy work schedules, this ensures that I can get my workout in, even if Drew's Dad is out of town or working late. Great idea, or so I thought. The very first night that I left the kids in the play place, all of the older children made fun of Drew and his ears. How sad is that? So, after my workout, as I'm tired and ready to head home, I have to deal with hearing about how all of the other children in the play place were whispering and talking about Drew and his ears. Sucks.

I've finally made the big decision to enroll Drew in swim lessons. We are heading to Disney World for our first family vacation in 46 days, not that I am counting, and I thought it would be a good idea to introduce Drew to real swimming before our vacation. Well, today I had a little pity party for myself about how hard it is for me to get him to swim lessons. I have to bring his spare left ear parts. I have to put them in the waterproof food saver bag. I have to turn it on, take his other ears off, hold the ear, in a bag, on his head while trying to put a swim cap over it to hold in place. It sucks that he can't just run and jump in the pool like the other children. And the alternative, him not being able to hear while in the pool, is unimaginable.

Drew loves sport. Seriously loves them. But his ears are always falling off. He has to stop and start playing so many times in a day just because his ears come off and he needs them put back on. And now, he has decided that he enjoys boxing. (I blame that one on his Daddy and the Wii.) Well, he wants to take his shirt off to box. Well, in order to do that, he knocks his ears off and then needs them put back on. It sucks that he can't just play what he wants to play, when he wants to play without having to make sure he can hear.

I am finished. Now back to our regularly scheduled (cheery) blogging.

Tuesday, February 9

Nucleus 5 Upgrade

Cochlear has developed a new external processor, called the Nucleus 5. You can read more about it here, and find many of the new advantages and features that come with the N5. One of the reasons that we chose the Cochlear brand is because all of their current implant recipients can benefit from their technological enhancements and upgrades, regardless of time since implantation.

We have begun the process of submitting for the upgrade through our insurance provider. Cochlear is working with a company called Access MediQuip to assist with insurance coverage for the upgrade. You can contact them at (866) 586-8083. They will ask you to provide you insurance information. Your audiologist will need to provide a letter of medical necessity. More information on the upgrade process can be found here. We should hear something in about three weeks regarding approval (or denial).

Friday, February 5

Speech Therapy

Since Drew began school in September, I haven't had an opportunity to see any of his therapy sessions. It's funny how I went from being so involved in every little thing in his CI/therapy life to really having little involvement. Sure, I get weekly notes, and am given "homework" to do with him in the evenings or on the weekends, but it really is different from our life the previous three years!

I decided that I wanted to see how Drew was doing in his therapy sessions. Drew's teacher and SLP are fabulous (seriously, we are so lucky to have such wonderful people working with Drew) and they are so willing to let parents observe their classroom and small group sessions. Here is Drew, in action, at one of his most recent therapy sessions:

I can't believe how big my little boy is getting! He just amazing.

Friday, January 29

What Does the "Wrong" Ear Sound Like?

On rare occasions, Drew's Dad or I will accidentally put the "wrong" ear on Drew. We'll put his right on his left or vice versa. Each of Drew's processors is specifically programmed for an individual ear. For some CI users, their programs on each ear are nearly identical, so mixing them up won't create too many problems. Sure, hearing won't be maximized, but there isn't any tell tale sign that there is an issue.

That's not the case for Drew. His maps on his two ears are quite different. His right ear requires so much power that we actually had to go to a wider pulse width than his left ear. As a result, mixing up his right ear and putting it on his left causes him pain. It is "too loud", as he has told us in the past. And we always know when we've put the right ear on his left because he cries out in pain.

Now that Drew is a bit older, we were able to ask him after this most recent mix up what putting on the wrong ear actually sounded like. Here is Drew's response:

Wednesday, January 27

How I Feel?

This post by Christian and Lily's Mom does an excellent job of describing my feelings about Drew and his hearing loss. I think I do "have it together" most of the time, but there are always occassions when the reality of Drew's deafness, and how it will affect his entire life hits me like a ton of bricks.

It's not-so-much the silent time during bath, or the inability to communicate well during the night that worry or upset me, because we've become so used to handling those situations. Drew is becoming excellent at lip reading, and between that and gestures, he does well understanding what we are telling or saying to him.

But the fact that he is deaf will impact him in many, many ways. Not just in the classroom, where he'll likely miss pertinent information that could affect his progress. But how will his deafness impact his friendships? If he is at sixth grade camp, sleeping, and can't hear all of the boys sneaking out in the middle of the night to torment the girls cabin, not that they should, but they are boys who are going to do mischievous things, he'll miss out on that. Tiny little events that bond friends together. I know it is silly, I know it is irrational. But life with a hearing child was taken away from us. Drew is deaf. And sometimes that is just hard to accept.

Sunday, January 24


Drew is probably going to look back on this blog one day and be so embarrassed at the things I write. And while that is not my intention, the things he says are just too funny not to mention.

As Drew was going potty the other day, I stood outside of the bathroom door. Drew always demands "privacy" while doing his business, and as any mother would, I happily obliged. So, as I stood there, waiting and waiting, I over-hear Drew say, "Come on poopy! You can do it. Come. Out. Poopy! Ahh, that's better. Mom, I'm all done!"

Hilarious. As I opened the door to my smiling little boy, proud as could be that he "did it", I just thought about how amazing he truly is. He uses his words for everything. He talks to himself. Just like I would (although I won't admit to talking to myself as I do my business). Just as you would. Just as every hearing person in this world does. It is just natural. And I am so, so thankful and so proud of him.

Saturday, January 9


Recently, and regularly, heard around our house...

[While shooting basketballs in his new hoop]: "Clap for me Mom! No, not like that! Clap louder!"

"Tell me you love me and I will laugh!" [I say, "I love you Drew."] "Haaaaa!!"

[Flushing the toilet]: "Bye, bye poopy! My poopy goes down, down, down!"

"Open it! Open it! Open it!" Referring to his bedroom door each morning. He wakes, and lays in his crib saying this, over and over, getting a little louder each time until we finally get him up for the day. The crazy thing is that his ears are off during this time.

[After having a tantrum]: "I want to squeeze your nose, then I will feel better."

"I wanna play the Wii! I wanna play basketball! I wanna play swords! I'm the best! I'm the Drewsie Man!"

"Mom, I'm not the Drewsie Man anymore. I'm just going to be Drewsie."

"Can we go Chuck E Cheese? Today? Tomorrow?"

He's a really funny little boy. That really likes to talk. A lot.

Tuesday, January 5

It's Official!

This little guy is...

2010 is going to be a great year!

Sunday, January 3


I just looked up at that little ticker that tracks the "age" of Drew's hearing and it says 2 years 6 months. Wow! My little guy has been hearing for 2 1/2 years. Two and a half fabulous years of hearing for a little guy that is profoundly deaf.

I don't really remember if I had an exact idea of how this whole "cochlear implant thing" would turn out. I certainly knew that Drew would be able to hear something if we gave him cochlear implants. I certainly knew that Drew would be able to learn to listen over time. I certainly knew that when we chose to implant him we were giving him the best opportunity to learn to talk.

But I don't think, even in my most wild of dreams about Drew's future, that I even envisioned the past 2 1/2 years playing out the way that they have. A little boy that loves his ears. A little boy that communicates all of his needs verbally (and Drew has a lot of needs!). A little boy that tells "Knock, Knock" jokes with his sister. A little boy that sings Christmas Carols with his grandparents. A little boy that hears the church bells ring, the roar of a lion, the "I love you" whispers from me.

I am just so, so thankful. So thankful that Drew's Dad and I made the choices that we did when we learned of Drew's deafness. So thankful for a smart, hardworking little boy that has spent more time in therapy than on a playground. So thankful for the team of professionals that have guided us. So thankful for the technology that has given Drew not only the gift of hearing, but the gift of a lifetime of endless opportunities.

Two and a half years. Wow!

Friday, January 1

Happy New Year!

Buh-bye, 2009! I can't say that I am sad to see you go. Sure, there were very memorable and wonderful things that happened throughout the year, like watching this little girl dance ballet to "Jolly Old St. Nicholas":

But mostly 2009 stunk. The year was filled with stress, personally and professionally. The economy stunk, which didn't directly impact our jobs, but it did indirectly. Over one half of our year was spent dealing with the ridiculous IEP process, which wore on us physically and left both Drew's Dad and I sleepless for months on end. My car was broken in to, my lap-top stolen, losing months of pictures of the kids, including Drew's Sisters' 4th Birthday pictures. Just a bunch of little things that added up to 2009 not being one of our most favorite years.

I know that there are many that had far worse trails in 2009, and I truly pray for all of us that 2010 brings happier days. The new year brings the hope that better days are ahead. And 2010 is already starting better than 2009 did: we rang in the new year without anyone having the flu!

Happy New Year! May 2010 be a wonderful year for all!