While Drew's Dad and I were in the Parent Sessions learning about Modeling & Imitation, Language Development or Cochlear Implant Mapping, to name a few topics, Drew was in a classroom and in therapy sessions. While we were at the conference, Drew received four hours of individual therapy. This is more than he has received all summer! With the state of Ohio in a budget crisis, the funds to our Regional Infant Hearing Program were reduced by over 50%, thus changing our services from weekly to monthly.
Drew's therapist at Moog, Michelle, was wonderful! Drew responded really well to her, and did well during his sessions. Michelle was really investigating Drew's language progress, both expressively and receptively, to see if there were in gaps in his language or things we have been missing.
One of the struggles with Drew continues to be his stubbornness. During therapy, Michelle would work on a task with Drew to see how many critical elements he can understand at one time. She would say something like, "Drew, Mommy drives the truck." Drew's Response? "No, Mommy rides in the car!" He has a mind of his own, and won't follow the task. So, while we are happy with his expressive, spontaneous utterances, we have no indication as to whether or not he auditorally can process the request of his therapist. It's very frustrating. We would assume that he understands, and simply has a mind of his own, but that can set us up for failure in the future.
Michelle was also looking to see if there were any gaps in his language, and she found that he didn't know any of the words in the kitchen! She showed him pictures of pots, pans, spatulas, toaster, etc. and he didn't know any of them receptively, let alone expressively. As Michelle was explaining this to me, it makes sense: Usually I am trying so hard after work just to get dinner on the table, that I often give the kids an activity to complete to keep them out of my kitchen! Now, I guess I will need to find something for them to do in the kitchen that will allow Drew to experience a lot of new vocabulary.
Overall, Drew's therapist thought that he was doing well and that with continued early intervention he will continue to develop his language and speech skills on par with his hearing peers.
How can you record your child's milestones? Moog provided us with a copy of My Baby & Me, which is an excellent book to track your child's speech and language development from the very beginning. Drew's Dad and I commented that we had wished we were given this book three years ago. I would recommend it for any family who has a child with hearing loss. It will show the first 100 words, next 100 words, has tabs for therapy records and notes, and in many ways is like a baby book to record important milestones.