Wednesday, 10 October 2012

New Cochlear Implant Website

I have been working on a new website about Cochlear Implants in New Zealand.

Its focus is on advocacy around the issues of bilateral implantation and Auditory Verbal Therapy (AVT) in New Zealand.

Check it out.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Comparative Language Chart

Here is a chart that compares the different approaches to language learning for deaf children. It is very simple and American-centric but a good start.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Starting School

Katya started school at the beginning of the year. It was a bit of a nervous time.
Since Katya's diagnosis of being deaf (at 18 months), a lot has happened. But our aim has always been to get Katya's listening and speaking age as close to 5yo when she started school at 5yo. I termed it 5 at 5.
I can remember a number of the team who have worked with Katya trying to temper that goal. I wouldn't hear a bar of it. That was the goal and that was it. If you aim high, then even if you miss by a little bit, you are still going to be ok.
As we started school we knew we had succeeded in getting Katya's listening age up to the 5yo level. But her speaking age when we did some benchmarking tests was not quite there in January.
However after 4 weeks of school, it seems as though she is well and truly able to hold her own in her class. She is doing everything all the other kids are. She is certainly needing some support, which we get from our most excellent special teacher, Erin. But she is doing really well.
This is pretty special for me. When I think back to the day we were told she was deaf, it seemed like so many hopes and dreams that I had for Katya as a baby would be limited. Now, thanks to her Cochlear implants and all the work that has gone in, those limits are vanishing. In fact there are a number of things she can do that she will be able to do better than normal hearing people.
Its also special for me because part of me becoming a stay at home dad was to get Katya ready for school and see her settled there. As many of you know, being a stay at home dad was never on my radar. But God had different plans for me. Claire got very bad post-natal depression after the birth of Larissa and it was no longer an option for her to look after the kids. So up to the plate I had to step (whether I liked it or not). The goal has been simple. Raise my kids and get them ready for school and kindergarten. With Katya doing so well at school and Larissa settled in kindy, I feel a real sense of accomplishment.
I know the journey and work is not over. Over the next year or so we will still need to have specialist support for Katya. Her pronunciation needs tuning. And there will be the ongoing issues around hardware. But to get to this point successfully is very cool.
Getting here has not been something that I have achieved on my own. It is amazing the number of people who have contributed over the years. And I also thank God that He has given Katya some horse power upstairs to absorb what we throw at her.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Belated Update

I haven't posted here for a while as it is much easier to use Facebook. But I do like to use my blog as a more permanent and referable record of what's been happening.

We are now 2 years since we had the re-op for the infection in her right CI. So it looks like we are clear of that horrible part of our lives.
Katya's language has developed very very well. We are about to enter her last term at Kindy. She is stringing 7-8 word sentences together. Her world is verbal. She asks questions. She is constantly bossing Larissa around and telling her precisely what to do and what not to do.
She starts school at the beginning of the year and we have chosen Khandallah School because it is a bit smaller than Ngaio (half the size). We are currently working through the transition arrangements. It is amazing the amount of information you need to pass on to new people who will be teaching her. Fortunately we are likely to have Erin (our special teacher) move with her.

Larissa is now two and a half. She seems to be gifted in her language which is great for pushing Katya along. She can hear a word once and then use it in the right context straight away. A bit of a human tape recorder. She starts Kindy at the beginning of next year. She's a bit feisty which can be a bit trying at the moment. She loves her big sister and just wants to do everything that Katya does.

Medic Alert Bracelet

Some time ago I read this article ( which suggested that it was a good idea for anyone with a CI to get a Medic Alert identifier. The article talks about a case where a user had an accident and their processors were knocked off. They were also knocked unconscious and the hospital performed an MRI on them which ripped their implants out and destroyed their cochleas (meaning that they could not be re-implanted).
Low power MRIs are ok on CI users BUT the hospital needs to know there is an implant so they can bandage the users head. This secures the implant, preventing nasty stuff like this article talks about.
Anyway... the upshot of this is that I sorted a Medic Alert bracelet (as shown) for my daughter. It has the following etched into it:
Monopolar Cautery is an electrical device used in surgery to cauterize and uses the patients body as an earth, which again would be bad news for an implant.
Anyway, for a one off of $70 plus $30 every year after to keep an up-to-date electronic record linked to an ID number on the bracelet, it seems a good idea. Especially as my daughter starts school. There is a bit of form filling in required.