Filed Under (Cochlear Implants, Learning Language/AVT) by Kel on 24-02-2010

Danny’s receptive language seems to come and go in waves, and I’m learning a lot of baby steps away that I never would have realized – never did realize with Eric – were steps in language development. It’s amazing the things you just take for granted until you have a deaf child, truly it is.

Things like telling your child to “sit down” in a restaurant when they’re trying to stand up in their high chair for the fifth time. (Which he listens to, by the way – or at least, he sits down, then pops right back up when he thinks I’m not looking.)

Or like baby patting the picture of himself in a book when Mommy says “there’s Danny!”

A lot lately, Danny has been paying a lot of attention to facial expressions and mouth movements. He’s mimicking a lot of them, and even if sound isn’t coming out, it’s easy to tell that he’s really starting to think about the way speech works. I was hanging out with the boys the other night and yawned, and Danny came up to me – right in my face – and opened his mouth as wide as it would go. Then, he just stared. After a moment of confusion, I opened my mouth like his, and he snapped his shut and giggled at me. It’s become one of our new games, and we’re adding an “ahhhhhh” with it too.

We do a lot of playing on the floor and the futon, and one of the best games, in Danny’s opinion, is “Crash!” When I played this game with Eric, it was basically me grabbing him around the waist and throwing us down into a pillow, yelling, “crash!!!” With Danny, I’ve expanded it a bit: “One…two…three…CRASH!” I pause between each, and really take care to exaggerate each number as I speak it. (Thank you, years in choir, for helping me pay close attention to pronunciation and vowel shaping!) The crash is usually fast and full of laughs, but the counting is full of anticipation as Danny stares at me, a little grin creeping onto his face.

A couple times, he’s popped back up and gotten this look of deep thought on his face. “Ah? Ih? Ee!!” The vowels aren’t exactly right, and the consonants are entirely missing, but you can tell…oh, you can tell exactly what he is trying to do.

The language Danny picks up is never the ones we try to get him to pick up. He’ll be completely mum when we try to prompt him to ask for food or drink or toys a lot of the time, and no matter how many times I tell him it’s a nose and poke it – mine or his – if I ask him where his nose is he just stares. It’s the things in play, the totally unexpected, not thought about, and easily taken for granted moments that stop me in my tracks now.

Danny and his deafness may not be teaching me patience – because I am plenty impatient still! – but he is definitely teaching me to appreciate all the little things.




Heather on 25 February, 2010 at 10:19 am #

He’s so cute :) Isn’t it amazing how much such a little one can teach you?

Tammy on 26 February, 2010 at 5:05 pm #

It’s the unpredictable moments that are the best. Just like Danny, Aiden will not mimic me … as much as I hold out, like therapists tell me to do …the boy just won’t say “Juice” or “cracker” etc. But last night as we sat on the couch with his sister, we passed the remote around like a microphone and Aiden ATTEMPTED to imitate every sound Kailyn and I made. Little stinkers! BTW … I have a phone call into Moog to get details!

Kel on 26 February, 2010 at 5:23 pm #

Awesome, Tammy, on both counts!! If she doesn’t call you back in the next couple days, give her another call…and if you’re interested, let me know and I can send you the info she sent me.

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