Aiden has really done well with his learning to listen. I brought in a video of me working with Aiden at home to therapy with Miss Helen and she picked up on some things that I didn't even realize Aiden was doing. Here are some updates on his hearing journey.
One of the first steps to learning to listen is sound awareness (detection) and responding to the presence or absence of sound. Aiden definitely detects sound, we see this at home. We can tell a huge difference when he has his hearing aids in vs. when they are out. He is VERY quiet when they are out, doesn't babble or play with his voice too much at all. When they are in, he is always making noises. He doesn't get very loud like I've read about other babies who are deaf/hoh, but is definitely a lot more vocal.
Part of the detection stage also includes localizing sound. Aiden is just now starting to "look" for where a noise is coming from ... SOMETIMES. Miss Helen noticed in therapy last week that when I talk, Aiden's face lights up and he turns right to me and smiles. I think he's starting to "know" his mommy's voice vs. other voices! This melts my heart.
He is playing with his voice making short noises (eh, eh, eh, eh, eh) and long noises (ahhhhhhh). Helen noticed this in the video too. I knew he was playing with different sounds, but didn't realize the long vs. short. So my constant aaahhhhh's and mooooooo's, and mmmmmm's versus the ee-ee-ee's and bop-bop-bop's and bu-bu-bu-bu's, are paying off! My nonstop narrating in long vs. short sounds (up-up-up the stairs vs. doooowwwwn the stairs) is working! It is all working.
Aiden has been making many different letter sounds - g (as in goat), d, b, ah, long a - I know these come and go and he may lose them, but to just hear him make them means so much! It tells me he's playing with his tongue/voice, it tells me he's getting something, it tells me my baby wants to vocalize, it tells me WE ARE DOING SOMETHING RIGHT.
I guess as a mom to two older hearing kids, I've become accustomed to these things just happening. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about hearing loss. Yet, I have to take a step back and remember Aiden's deaf and all these "milestones" I didn't think twice about with my two older hearing children, are HUGE milestones for Aiden. GINORMOUS milestones!
We also started basic signs. In the beginning, we were not going to. In the last couple of months, we decided to start incorporating them into our everyday lives. Signs such as mom, dad, milk, I love you, good night, good morning, bath, cat ... simple things that are a part of our days. We have a sign for Ryan, Kailyn, and Aiden too. When we do sign, we create a "listening sandwich" (which I learned about in the recent Play it by Ear! seminar I attended). We always provide auditory input before signing the word and then auditory input again after we sign. So the first and last thing Aiden gets is auditory input. We, 100%, want our son to be auditory-verbal. Yet, we know there will be times he may be without his CIs and may need sign to communicate; plus we see it as a good bridge to verbal communication. We have an awesome parent-infant advisor that is helping us with all of this. She is an advocate of sign, but NEVER pushed it on us; she waited for us to tell her if and when we were ready. This is a whole other topic which I'll save for another post. BUT, I have to proudly say, Aiden is signing MILK! Once I figure out my new video camera, I'll post it.
WOW ... all this progress/happenings in six months. Plus, we're still set to head to Maryland in a few weeks, still on track with getting cochlear implants, still just living day by day and step by step. That's about all I can handle.