Sunday, June 14, 2009

We have had a busy few weeks...but then again, busy is relative! I always say that any day I am not taking one of my kids to a hospital for therapy or a surgery is a good day! That being said, in the last two weeks we had two medial appointments at DuPont and three therapy appointments. So, add to that a part/time (turning into full time job), five kids, too dogs (that is not a typo...when people ask me how many dogs we have I say ''too''....many!!!)
Sophie has now had two AV therapy appointments. We need to go to therapy twice a week so that she can learn to use her hearing. The CI is complicated, and just because it is on, it doesn't mean she hears everything, nor does she understand everything. No one is sure that she ever heard, but there are suspicions that she perhaps had hearing but lost it. Since we have no medical records, we will never know. Even her surgeon said that if she did hear before, many years ago, perhaps in her first year, she would have only heard Chinese speech, and not English. So, there is no reason they can figure out why she can imitate some English words. Another mystery with Sophie's name on it!
Her first therapy appointment started off with fidgeting, giggling, and general over-all not cooperating! It was a three o'clock appointment, and we had an hour drive to get there. The therapist showed Sophie which chair to sit in and she hopped up on the stool, strapped herself in, and promptly began rocking herself back and forth, alternately banging the table and the wall she was leaning against. Once we got her to stop rocking, therapy began.
The therapist, Amy, showed Sophie a game where she would make a sound ("EEE", "OOOO""", SHHH", etc) then Sophie would repeat that sound, and drop a marble into a bucket. Amy and I played a round so that Sophie would understand completely, and then it was her turn.
"EEE" Amy said, her hand covering her mouth so that Sophie could not read her lips.
"EEE", Sophie repeated, then dropped a marble into the bucket.
Amy's eyebrows raised slightly, and she glanced quickly at me. I could just read her thoughts. Must be a fluke. Lucky guess.
"OOO" Said Amy.
"OOO", repeated Sophie, promptly dropping another marble in with a firm kerplunk.
"MMM", another marble in.
"Shhh", difficult sound.
"Shh', a perfect imitation, another marble.
"SSS". Tough to get this one
"SSS, and Sophie drops another one, waiting for the next sound.
At this point, Amy stops and looks at me, her face incredulous.
"We were supposed to do this for a half hour," she says. "You don't understand, she shouldn't be able to do this so soon after her activation."
I laughed and told her "Welcome to working with Sophie. Buckle your seat belt and take notes...she is something!"
Amy then regrouped and found an activity that was challenging for Sophie and we were off and running. We are learning that while Sophie can approximate sounds to repeat, she needs to learn to develop an auditory memory. She has not learned things through her auditory parts of her brain. All of her learning (or most) has happened through her other senses. Now she needs to learn through her hearing only. This being said, she will rely on her signs for a long time, and sign will always be her first language. We are very committed to her continuing her ASL, since she will rely on this for difficult situations (large crowds, classes, etc). And there is truly no guarantee what will happen with the CI.
Therapy will continue two times a week...stay tuned.

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