Aiden's older brother and sister have always played a huge role in helping Aiden hear and speak. They are not only great language models through their everyday interactions with Aiden, but two of his biggest advocates. Anytime they have a new friend over, the first thing they do is introduce Aiden and explain his cochlear implants before the person even has a chance to ask. They are very matter of fact, to the point, and PROUD.
Now of course, they still have that typical "sibling love" and get tired of me asking, "Can you please play with your brother while I do (xyz) and make sure you ..." and before I can get it all out, they finish my sentence with a big sigh of UGHness, "I know mom, talk to him."
Ahhh, for the love of siblings.
Now the one thing I have decided to start doing more of is including his brother and sister in some sit down therapy at home. As Aiden's getting older he responds to and imitates them much more than he does me, so we make it a fun game. Kailyn is especially great at this because she loves the praise of being such a "GREAT TEACHER" and "AWESOME BIG SISTER", whereas Ryan is like "whatever mom", but every once in awhile I can convince him to put his cell phone down and make his mommy happy.
Ok ... little side note:
As any parent to a CI/hoh kiddo will tell you, one of the biggest achievements is getting your child to:
1) repeat the Lings (ah, ee, oo, s, sh, m) back to you during the ling sound check, and
2) perform a conditioned response when they hear a ling (or tone played in the soundbooth) - or what is also referred to as "listen and drop". For example, when practicing the lings with Aiden, I will hold a block (or Lego or chip or ring or bouncy ball etc) up to my ear, say the ling, watch for his response, say, "I heard that", repeat the ling, then drop the block or whatever into a bucket. The goal is to get Aiden to do the same, so that when he is being tested in the soundbooth during an audiology appointment and hears a sound, he can show he heard the sound by placing a ring on a stack, a peg into a peg board, any object into a bucket ... anything of the like to tell the audiologist, "HEY, I HEARD THAT SOUND!" It just makes for easier soundbooth time AND provides the audiologist much better information for exactly what the child is or isn't hearing so they can adjust their map accordingly.
So, today I opted to solicit Kailyn to help me out with the Lings for the first time in quite awhile. Now, get this. When I do the lings with Aiden, he'll entertain me and play the "listen and drop" game, but RARELY repeat the Lings. Check this out (and listen closely to the /s/ and /sh/ ... he's been playing with both these sounds lately, but has never repeated them for me; and make sure you turn the music off on the left first).
Note: I was testing the right implant alone. I had to remove the left completely, because if I just detach the coil, he puts it right back on! Love it!
After the boring ling checks (which I have to do while he's in his chair or I get NOTHING in return), we always have some fun, so Kailyn turned up the tunes and they jammed to some music. I have NEVER seen Aiden dance like this. What I love most is that he's imitating Kailyn plus busting out his own moves. Plus, he notices when the music stops and asks for more! Absolutely love it!
(This is not captioned since it is just Hannah Montana's "Ice Cream Freeze" playing in the background, Kailyn singing here and there, and them dancing)
Guess I need to get his sister involved a lot more often! Thanks for being such a great big sis Kailyn! Just like you're dancing, you rock!