Filed Under (Cochlear Implants) by Kel on 16-02-2010

365 days ago, at this moment, I was a bundle of nerves as we got ready to head to the hospital and get our first hands on experience with a cochlear implant. I had no idea what to expect for the day, for the week, or even for the first year. I had high hopes, and I’d be lying if I said all of them have been met in this first year. Like in all things, Danny’s story is not a miraculous change as you see in some others. To be perfectly honest, I’ve had some emotional struggles as this date approached, because of all the other hearing birthdays I’ve heard about and how much further along they are at this point.

But, Danny is Danny, he takes his time and has been focused on other things instead – walking, eating, two handed play, so much in just the past 6 months.

His hearing today is such a miracle.

In this year, my deaf son has rediscovered sound. He’s been reunited with the sound of our voices, mine and dad’s and brother’s. He truly loves to hear, even if sometimes he isn’t all that interested in listening.

He babbles a lot today, m’s and g’s and b’s and y’s and so many different vowel sounds. He’s beginning to experiment with shorter phrases – mama, mama instead of mamamamama. He will occasionally screech or yell just to delight in his own voice, and will whisper “puh puh” at me sometimes if I pop my lips together.

He has no true words yet, but he’s starting to use his voice to request and communicate. He uses “mm mm!” pretty much universally to get what he wants, though has repeated “uh” and “owm” for up and down after prompting. (Well OK – he did “mowm” once and never repeated it, but I’ll count it anyway.) He knows that a monkey goes “ee ee aa aa” and will gladly say it back and forth with you over his monkey whenever you want. As for lings, he’ll repeat four: mm, oo, ee, and ah. Plus silence, of course; he’s great as modeling silence! He also echos “hi” and “uh oh” sometimes, though again, we don’t think with meaning yet.

Receptively, he knows his name, he knows to go to the gate when “it’s time to go” and to go to the garage when we “go to the car.” He understands no, even if he sucks at paying attention to it, and will “come here” or “give it to me” when we ask him to. (Usually. He is a toddler, after all.) He knows what to do for patty cake and peek a boo and waves for “hi” and “bye” without anyone else waving, if he’s in the mood, and will even “clap” for us too.

He loves the sound of his brother’s voice, and if they’re upstairs and I encourage them to “chase” he will take off running the path that they chase each other all the time. If Eric is making noises for toys (moo for cow, rrrrrrr for trucks, roar for dinosaurs), he will mirror it back in play much more reliably than he ever does with me.

If anyone is laughing and he hears it, back turned, around the corner, totally out of sight…he cracks up laughing.

He will look at me if I say his name in the running car with the radio on.

Ours is not a story of speed, but it is very much a story of success. His hearing is one year old. According to most resources, at 12 months on average, children:

-Use one or more words or fragments with meaning (fragments, yes)
-Practice inflection (yup)
-Try to copy new sounds (yup)
-Makes sounds to get attention, make needs known, and protest (yup)
-Follow simple one step directions, eg “sit down” (yup)

He may not be gaining ground just yet, but he’s keeping pace, and once he decides to focus on language he will flourish. I am so excited to see what the next year brings!

(And yes, lame amount of pictures, I didn’t realize the date and haven’t uploaded any of the photos I have of Danny lately!)




Heather on 16 February, 2010 at 5:07 pm #

That’s awesome! He’s amazing!

karen on 16 February, 2010 at 5:31 pm #

Danny is the poster boy for courage, happiness,strength, determination,love of life,proof that miracles do happen, and the world is a better place because of his smile.Gramma loves him so much it hurts. When you are giving out hugs and kisses tonight can you please include some from me? Thanks Kel, take care. Love mom

Tammy on 17 February, 2010 at 6:18 am #

What a wonderful post Kel. Happy Hearing Birthday Danny! You are rocking the world buddy and doing so well with your new “ears”. I get all teary eyed thinking how you and Aiden have walked this path together and one day may possibly meet and play as you chat it up and yell and scream and run around and HEAR your mommies tell you “my goodness, quiet down!” … or maybe not, because I’m sure it will all be music to our ears! Hugs!

Kel on 17 February, 2010 at 10:07 am #

Aww, Tammy – I am right there with you. I have been so lucky to have you and Aiden to follow along this path with! I do hope one day our boys (and we!) can meet.

Claire on 17 February, 2010 at 11:21 am #

Wow, I can’t believe it has been a year! Danny you are doing just fabulous, and we all love you! He really is a little miracle, and has come so far.

Kim on 17 February, 2010 at 4:09 pm #

Who has time to talk when there’s food to be eaten?!

constance on 22 June, 2011 at 11:24 am #

hi there,
My 7 month old baby has just received bilateral implants and I’m looking for a clever way for him to carry the sound processors. Your son’s harness looks pretty good. May I ask where you found it?

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