With Drew's surgery now scheduled and a much easier than anticipated insurance approval process behind us, I have now begun to seek out therapists that will help our hearing Drew learn to identify and listen to sound and eventually speak!
Right after his surgery was scheduled I began to get really nervous about the surgery itself. I think that focusing on the therapy has really helped me to keep the butterflies about the surgery itself buried, at least for now. In my efforts to get to the point of implantation I knew surgery was inevitable, but that doesn't make it any easier. I want my son to hear; to do so requires surgery. Do I wish we didn't have to go through this? Certainly, but I know on the other side of June 6th there is a world full of opportunity that will open for Drew with his cochlear implants.
We are taking a strictly oral approach for Drew's therapy and intervention. This leaves us with two choices of therapy: Auditory Oral and Auditory Verbal Therapy. We have decided to utilize the principles of the Auditory Verbal Therapy (AVT). The main reasons we have decided on this therapy are:
AVT focuses on having children grow up in typical listening and learning environments, enabling them to become independent, participating, and contributing members of the mainstream.
AVT is a family entered approach where parents are active participants in the therapy.
AVT relies on building auditory skills without the ability to lipread, stressing the normal patterns of language development. These children gain spoken language skills equal to their hearing peers, have normal voice inflection and tone and learn the rules that guide spoken language.
While we will certainly incorporate pieces of the Auditory Oral approach, primarily the natural gesturing and lipreading all hearing people do in everyday setting. However, during Drew's therapy session there will be a focus on gaining information auditorally, instead of through auditory access and visual cues.
In addition to two hours of therapy a week, there is a toddler program at a new Oral Deaf Education School in Dublin. We will enroll Drew in the Parent-Toddler program one half day a week in January at the Auditory Oral Children's Center. This school utilizes the principles of AVT in their therapy sessions, but allows natural gestures in the classroom setting. This is a new program, showing the commitment within the cochlear implant team in Columbus to develop better resources for children with hearing loss.