Thursday, April 12

IEP Meeting

As we transition to Kindergarten, it is time once again for a multi-factored evaluation and writing of a school-age IEP. I'll share the details of that with you soon, as everything should be finalized by the week end.

As I prepared for the meeting with our school district this week, I came across all of Drew's diagnostic testing from five and a half years ago. There is something about reading, "Findings suggest that Andrew has profound hearing loss in both ears," and "no response," that, even to this day, makes me incredibly sad.

My emotions are so mixed. I am so incredibly happy with how well Drew has done with his cochlear implants, and I'm so incredibly thankful for this technology. But I'm still struck at times by the sadness of having a child with a disability, of being told there is something wrong with my child. In some ways, I hate the fact that I even know how to read an auidogram, or that I understand the workings of the cochlea. On the other hand, I am so thankful that I've gone through this journey, as I've met so many wonderful people and I have such a wonderful appreciation for the miracle of hearing. But I hate this for Drew. I hate the unknown challenges he will encounter. If I could take it all back, I would.

Friday, April 6

Cochlear Implant "Booth" Testing

We recently had a mapping appointment for Drew's cochlear implants. At nearly five years post implant, we see Drew's audiologist about every six months, just to make sure that he continues to hear well and that his equipment, both internal and external, is working optimally.

I was able to capture this video of Drew in the sound booth. I thought it would give you an idea of what hearing impaired children go through in order to be able to hear. I can not tell you what an awesome job Drew does in the booth. His ability to perform conditioned play during pure tone testing is amazing (although he prefers making baskets to doing a puzzle), and his stamina is unlike any child I know. He can sit in the booth for just about one hour providing us with detailed information on just how well he is hearing. Quite honestly, I attribute a lot of his success with his cochlear implants to his ability to perform in the booth because his audiologist has all of the information she needs to properly program his implants.

This mapping appointment was unique, as we begin to peruse options for Drew's transition to mainstream Kindergarten. During this booth test, we were really looking to get a good idea of how well Drew hears in noisy situations, and his potential need for an FM System. You will be able to see how difficult the noise testing is. On the NU-CHIPS test, without noise, Drew scores nearly 100% every time. In a sound to noise ratio of +10, Drew's score drops to 80%. Now, this is still a really good score, but this testing does not take into account degraded listening situations, for example when noise, distance and reverberation are all present, which occurs in auditoriums, cafeterias and even classrooms.

We determined that we are going to use an FM System with Drew next year, bilaterally. This will provide a clear path for the teachers voice to reach Drew's ears, and will eliminate any possibility of a noisy classroom effecting his learning. There will be many situations where Drew will not be using an FM, at home, during his sporting activities and daily life, so we don't anticipate that his ability to listen in noise will diminish.