Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Congratulations Corrina!

We live in Canada. Currently our Government considers hearing with two ears as 'experimental' and will not provide the funds necessary for our daughter to receive bilateral cochlear implantation. Due to the fact that this bilateral implants are available in Canada, in other provinces, we wrote to out minister of health demanding that they stop discriminating against our children based on their disability (if Corrina had risidual hearing she would be fitted with an aid in her 'better' ear but because she does not she is told that hearing with one ear is enough) and based on their location. We request to have a bilateral surgery preformed in Newfoundland, which is the very East Coast of Canada, because if we lived in Newfoundland the Provincial Health Care system there would pay for the operation. We sent a letter stating our demands, along with a recommendation from our ENT, about 2 months ago. Just this past week, late October, we received a letter stating that the Government would in fact pay for all the costs of surgery! CORRINA WILL HEAR WITH TWO EARS BY CHRISTMAS! We are excited for her current learning, and thrilled about the impact this will have on her future opportunities!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Receptive Language

Simply put, it's time for a new post! But only a teeny tiny one!
Attention, new link under resources section: The listening Room! This page features wonderful printable murals, charts, songs, pictures, stories, games, etc for AV therapy!

Corrina's receptive language has increased five fold! She now, at 3 1/2 months of hearing, can understand the meaning of her name, bye bye, hello, mmmmm (yummy), shhh go to sleep, no (yahoo!), stop, aaaa for airplane, hot and shoes. She is also continuing to mimic many sounds or intonations we make, like a, a, a for up, up, up, or longer aaaa's when we stretch a word out. She also repeats mmmmm while eating, but in the most cute way I have ever heard. It is so purposeful and quite; she looks very serious while letting us know that something tastes good! Right now I am also enjoying that she knows the word hot. We started teaching it to her with an action: put your pointer finger on object for just a second and quickly pull it away! It is so cute to tell her that things she loves are hot, like pooh bear, and watch her check for heat! Anyway, she knows so many concepts and words very well now. I am finding she knows more than I think she does daily. We are so proud of her and all the hard work she does!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Corrina Name game

I haven't written in a while because I have been focusing on our family blog for the most part! Perhaps it is silly to have divided this Corrina blog from the family blog, but in part I decided to do this to keep lengthy descriptions of activities and development separate from such things as trips to the zoo, evenings out with friends, and funny toddler things Corrina does. But, having done this I don't always get around to posting 2 separate notes. The other reason this blog as been stagnant is because we hadn't been to therapy in awhile, as well, we have had a number of adventures regarding Corrina's hardware (processor, coil).

A few weeks ago Corrina began to violently rip her coil off her head during meal times, play times, and car trips. We first saw this as looking for our attention, either to say "I'm bored in the high chair" or "talk to me now!", and sometimes even "If you don't give me what I want I will rip it off and you will have to come over to me!" Yes, I assume she is that smart!
So, after two broken coils (one was sent back with many new decorative engravings called teeth marks, the other was sent back in two pieces), and many conversations about behavior modification/discipline with our audiologist and therapist, our audiologist mentioned that we should check the programs in Corrina's processor. Once we had the processor hooked up to the computer it became evident why the coil was coming off all the time: 7 of the 22 electrodes were 'red flagged', in other words, not working. I thought perhaps this meant that there was a problem with the internal equipment, but luckily it was just the pink processor that sits behind her ear that seems to be broken. We sent this back, on warranty and in the meantime Corrina is using a loner processor.
Here is the amazing part: as soon as the new processor was hooked up Corrina was suddenly happy and responsive. Looking back I don't know why it took us so long to notice that she wasn't hearing properly and was living in a state of frustration and discomfort. It was easy to see that the new processor was allowing her to hear very well, but I suppose the seven electrodes failed over time creating a subtle difference that we did not pick up on. Poor kid! But all is well now.
Actualy, it was quite cute what Corrina did that day in sound booth after reviving her hearing: she decided that she would be the audiologist and started directing (with gestures and noises) the therapist to listen to toys and such. She was also very eager to play listening games and we successfully made it through the Linge sounds (ooo, aaa, eee, mmmm, shhh, sssss) at a quiet volume. We noticed such a drastic difference in her therapy session swhen her processor was broken and fixed!

To finish off this post I will leave everyone with a neat therapy idea that has helped us teach Corrina her name. We have noticed that Corrina of course cares most about noises that have some fun game attached, like "shhhh, put your baby to sleep." Actually, Corrina is doing so well with this sound and action that I can say, without any action, "shhh, go to sleep Corrina" and she will gather her bedtime teddy and go to her crib! But, we were not seeing any results or awareness of her name so asked our therapist for ideas. She taught us a simple "Name Game", it goes like this:
Materials: Two adults or coaches
A bag of treasures (something the child does not play with all the time: jewelry, stickers, candies maybe! etc...)
Corrina and Daddy stand on one side of the room. Mommy stands a few meters away. Corrina and Daddy face away from Mommy. Mommy calls "Corrina", waits for a response, calls "Corrina" waits for a response, and only call one more time "Corrina." If child does not respond Daddy, after second or third call, turns Corrina around and sends her over to Mommy. Mommy gives her a treasure and send her back to Daddy. Corrina and Daddy face away again, and Mommy calls our for "Corrina". This time, if child did not respond to call Daddy turn child around right after second call to make sure she knows 'turn around when called'. Again, Corrina collects a treasure and returns to Daddy. Sometimes Corrina stays and plays with Mommy for a second. Lots of praise is given and Corrina is celebrated when she comes on her own.
After a few rounds Corrina began to turn around on her own after hearing her name once! She enjoyed having jewelry all over her fingers and wrists! Soon we began to decorate Mommy to, and then we ran out. Good time to stop!
To be sure, after sending the child back across the room stand a wait a bit to make sure child is waiting for the call and not just turning around. Play with the waiting time a little, increasing or decreasing to make it more fun. Switch adults around, or use new treasures on different days. Our therapist instructed us NOT TO call more than 3 times because we don't want her name to become white, meaningless noise. As well, this works best if it is only played once a day, if that. Of course this game is to teach the child that their name has meaning and is a good thing to listen for. In everyday life when the child shows that they are listening and turning to their name be sure to offer lots of praise so they enjoy looking for their name when not playing the game! Keep naming hearing positive!

Monday, July 9, 2007


Although I do not have anything new to report I thought I would write a little post anyway for all those hoping for some words from us. We are working hard on composing our bilateral implant request letters and would ask, if you are a person who prays, for you to say a small prayer for us and those who will be deciding about the procedure. We desperately hope that Corrina will receive an implant because she is a very bright little person and having the ability to hear better, localize sound, and pay attention in noisy places seems like such an important thing. But, we also cannot foresee the future so while we feel this is best we are trusting that whatever the outcome is God has Corrina and her life in his hands.
Corrina had alot of fun playing with a toy slide today; climbing up the stairs with her fingers she would reach the top and slide her fingers all the way down, we would all say Weeeeeeeee, and she would laugh! We saw her waiting her turn very patiently and responding to sounds said very quietly.
Corrina loves to make noises by sticking out her tongue and blowing (spit everywhere)! She does this alot in the car. We are teaching her other 'mouth' noises to help make all of this fun. It also teaches her to engage her vocal muscles, something she has little experience with.
I tried to take a picture of Dave and I doing some therapy time at home:

They didn't work out as I had hoped, but here you can see that we are playing with fruit saying "cut, cut cut!" and "yummmy food!"

Monday, June 18, 2007

Hearing is believing

Small steps: You can SEE when Corrina is HEARING (or better said listening intently)!

This post is going to be detailed 1. So i remember the things we did 2. as a resource 3. just to bring you along on the journey
Today in AV therapy we started with a game to help Corrina concentrate and listen. Our AV therapist (I'll call her D) had a container of water, a tall narrow container, on the middle of the table. She has two colors of food dye for Corrina to choose from (we all love choices!). Corrina wanted to add yellow. We talked about yellow for a bit! Next Corrina got to choose between a choo choo or a roar roar. Once item was chosen Daddy had a turn putting item to his ear, and listening for a noise (ahhhh, shhhhhh, mmmmm, etc...) and when he heard the sound he dropped it in the jug of water. Corrina had so much fun listening, waiting and watching the toy plunk down in the water. I had fun making little comments like when the dinosaur went in the water "oh, not, don't drown me, i'm already extinct!" The short of the long, Corrina worked very hard to wait and listen. It is wonderful to See her hearing!
The next game we played was with a baby doll to teach Corrina about sleepy time words. We would all pass baby around the circle-- while Corrina watched wondering why the heck we took the baby from her-- and tell it "shhhhhh (finger at lip), time to go to sleep". When Corrina's turn came up she lay the baby down, put her finger to her lip and stared intently into the baby's eyes. It was sooooo cute and funny. Then we all took turns going to sleep, and when D would say "Wake Up" we would quickly lift our heads up from the table! IT was a hoot.
Next we worked through the parts of our faces with Potatoes heads. Corrina and Dave had a nice bonding moment because we all know that Dave LOOOVVVEES potatoes heads! We sang head and shoulders knees and toes....

Each session is packed full of activities and songs, play and talking! We also do an audiology session each week and Corrina responded very well to the noises presented. When she heard the noise we showed her to put a toy into a bucket. She responded about 6 times before she got bored. The audiologist is trying to work down to the lower decibels of sound just to make sure that Corrina is hearing them. I think they made it down to 40 decibels this week, which is great keeping in mind that Corrina heard nothing at 90 dec before her implant.

I told dave to start little posts if something happens that he wants to record. I found this in the list:
Today June 11?
Corrina heard herself burp, and laughed a lot

Very nice!

Actually Corrina has been making a number of different noises. She has always made an 'aaaaa' noise, but now it has some 'oooooo's' and g's sorta... very interesting. She is alot more vocal as well, often making lots of sounds when she is excited! Dave has the camera at work right now, but i will do my best to catch some of the sounds on video soon because they are better heard than written!

Monday, June 11, 2007

I hear that!

Today at AV therapy we saw Corrina focus, look and listen to a cow mooing! She watched as we passed the cow (which mooed on it's own) from person to person, everyone taking a turn to hold cow to ear and say "Oh, I hear that, the cow says moo". Corrina was so eager for her turn that she stilled, waited for the cow to be at her ear, widened her eyes and let out a big sigh! She was so excited to listen! She was very tired during this appointment but kept her patience as she learned to wait her turn, concentrate on the toy before her, and of course listen to sounds!
We have many goals for the week that include certain words and phrases to teach while she plays. The most interesting of the goals in my opinion is the 'cause and effect' we are teaching her. She needs to learn that words are powerful. Many children her age understand, for instance, that saying please makes a difference (whether they sign it, or say it!) and has when asking for something they would like. Corrina needs to learn that words have power! So before we stack a block to build a tower we say "Up, uuupppp, uuuuppp," then we bring out the block and put it up, up up! My favorite is the airplane which goes something like this "Aaaaaaahhhhhhhhh, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, aaahhhhh...." then the airplane come out of nowhere, flying overhead, all over the room, then lands in front of Corrina! She loves to follow and listen, looking from the airplane to the speaker, connecting the sound and sight! (we still need to buy an airplane toy for at home... this was all at AV therapy).

I would like to figure out how to link this blog to a simple page that has the (boring) specifics, like every word that we will be working on just as a resource to those who either would like to teach their children who are hearing to help with language development, or just for the curious at heart. (claire, how might i do that??? without starting yet another blog??)

Dave is coloring pictures of dogs, airplanes, cows, etc.. so that we can hang around the house so Corrina can learn to associate words with objects/pictures even further.

We are having tuna casserole for dinner! Mmmmmmm (thought i would add something homey in there!)

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Cereal Box

This morning I had Corrina at the table and I pulled out a box of Raisin Bran and shoke it beside my ear and said "Oh! I hear that" Corrina's eyes got wide and she smiled, so I shock it beside her head and then mine and kept saying "I hear that. Do you hear that?" She seemed interested and responsive, but maybe she just thought it was funny. -Dave

Janie here: Corrina attended day care for the first time with her hearing ear! There was alot of noise and when children were screaming she did react to the loud sound by pulling her coil off. I imagine this will be a stimulating environment for her both in good ways and in ways that will tire her out! Her one on one worker is attentive to her needs and really cares for Corrina which means Corrina will receive lots of speaking and listening attention. Our auditory-verbal therapists (AVT) visited our one-on-one worker today to teach her all about talking with Corrina in the daycare environment. That time went really well so we are encouraged to know that while Corrina is at daycare she will be benefiting from the great play environment that she is in! Right now she is still at daycare so I will have a better report of her day later tonight!

Just the other day i sewed pockets onto a few tank tops that Corrina will wear as undershirts. The pockets are for her processor to sit in so she doesn't need to wear a harness or have the processor clipped onto her shirt. There is a company that makes these but I decided it would be more cost effective to make my own. I just found some other tank tops that will be perfect for more pockets... I'd better get sewing!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

In the beginning

*There are a number of links throughout this post to provide you, the reader, with an enriched experience of knowledge without interrupting the flow of the story. Please do educate yourself by following the links if you would like information and definitions for further understanding!*

If you are interested a number of links are listed at the end of this post that journal our adventures on our family blog. Posts from the initial hearing tests to her activation, just this week, are listed! Enjoy!

Our story:

We were first introduced to the idea that Corrina may be deaf when I was having lunch with a friend and her mother. They have a niece in their family that is also profoundly deaf and was implanted with a cochlear implant 10 years ago. The mother just mentioned that while Corrina was playing very nicely on her own she hadn't made a peep, which for a 6 month old is really odd. No one had ever suggested that she wasn't hearing, but as this family had experience with a deaf child we took the thought seriously and eventually investigated into a potential hearing loss. Our first visit with our doctor, who is a GP and not a pediatrician, resulted in a referral for an infant hearing test, although the doctor really did not think she wasn't hearing. Luckily he is a smart guy and said "I have learned after many years of practice to listen to the mom!"
After 3 appointments with the same audiologist in a sound booth and very inconsistent results we were referred to Winnipeg Children's Hospital for an ABR which verified that indeed Corrina was profoundly deaf (they indicated amount of hearing loss using the words mild, moderate, severe, severe to profound, and profound). That was in January. We were then given loads of information regarding the different options for families of deaf children. We decided, after visiting each clinic/center, to have a cochlear implant for Corrina and to pursue therapy at Central Speech and Hearing Clinic, which is now were we go sometimes twice a week for audiology and therapy. Corrina visited Sick Kids hospital in Toronto, Canada, on May 1st, 2007 for her implantation surgery which went was successful with a speedy recovery. It is important to understand that in regards to deciding to integrate Corrina into the hearing world through a cochlear implant that this was the right choice for our family, but certainly not the right choice for every family. We hope to have Corrina learn sign language as a second language (perhaps once she has started school) so that she is able to make a choice for herself one day, as well so that she can be involved in the deaf community, a rich opportunity we would not want her to miss out on.
This blog will detail the exciting and mundane speech and listening milestones that Corrina accomplishes. We cannot say was we expect to see in the next month even as each child moves at their own pace through the stages of speech. Many links are listed in the sidebar for anyone interested in understanding more about hearing loss. If you suspect that your child is having difficulty hearing, either a small or large amount, please do investigate as clear hearing and speech are a very integral part of all children's development. Link

We welcome comments and questions about the process. We would love to hear your story or visit your blog if you too have a child with a hearing loss; please let us know you have come by and read our stories!

Here are the links to our original posts as we went through the process of discovering Corrina's hearing loss (from our family blog):

From the beginning:

Does she hear what I hear?
What we Know (A post about her ABR hearing test)
Choices to make (to implant or not to implant, that is the question!)
Hearing Aid Time
Bilateral Implant? (still working on getting funding for this actually)
Surgery is a Go!
Post Surgery
The moment we've all been waiting for: Corrina's Activation (video's up soon)!