We started our day off with an appointment with audiology. We got some great results last time, and this time, she wanted to test Lucas's left ear with the hearing aid. Much to our surprise (and delight), Lucas got some measurable results while aided. He still doesn't hit the speech banana, which means that he can't hear any speech at all, but he's definitely getting some environmental sounds with it. He's still an excellent candidate for a 2nd cochlear implant, but it's very exciting to us that his hearing aid may be able to help a bit! When we get home, I'm going to make an appointment with our local audiologist to have a new earmold made. He's also been tolerating the aid pretty well. We will continue to encourage him to wear it at home.
We had a very academic schedule today, with four lectures. The first was about social interactions and the child with hearing loss, then phonetic speech level, then advanced auditory skills and then mainstream & inclusion.
Social interactions and the deaf child was interesting. Many of the social skills that hearing peers develop are not as natural for hearing impaired kiddos. We were given a checklist to reference and use to see how our children are doing socially. At this time, we feel Lucas has some pretty great social skills, but we have some things to work towards as he gets older.
During the second lecture on phonetic speech level, we learned that speech is an acoustic event, that we speak BECAUSE we hear, and that we speak WHAT we hear. So... it's important that our hearing impaired kiddos are properly amplified and that we acoustically highlight what we want them to hear. Practice sometimes makes permanent! We learned that all speech sounds can be taught and acquired through vocal play, and that we may not ever need to do speech drills with our kids. Lucas's SLT also conducted some speech assessments on Lucas, so we know exactly which sounds he can produce, which ones are still emerging, and which ones he cannot yet make.
The first afternoon session was on advanced auditory skills. We learned the four parts of auditory training are detection, discrimination, identification and comprehension. We learned 11 principles to auditory training, and were given a checklist of auditory skills to track our child's achievement, that we can continually reference.
The last lecture was on mainstream and inclusion, which we are very interested in. Although we are not even close to ready to think about Lucas entering Kindergarten, we are able to apply much of what we learned to transitioning him to preschool right now. We also got a helpful list of skills that hearing-impaired students need to succeed in the mainstream, and ways parents can help them. Mainstreaming is what we're working towards for Kindergarten.
After school we met with Ms. B., Lucas's classroom teacher. She is so wonderful, and we enjoy talking with her and hearing little anecdotal stories about Lucas. She really encouraged us to keep doing what we are doing (and more!). She seems very pleased with Lucas's PLOP (see yesterday's post) and feels that he will benefit from a preschool placement this fall. I'm so glad I have one lined up, you have no idea!
Lucas, of course, fell asleep after school today as soon as we got home, because he didn't nap at school. We let him sleep for just a little, then we headed to our favorite playground. We had dinner with some other families and then played on the lawn. Thursday will be our last full day.