Location: Des Moines, Washington, United States

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Rachel's Progress

Rachel had a major remapping of her newer right processor in January, and the doctor wanted her to spend some time with the new map before her hearing is tested, so we go back in another week for the follow up visit. But for me it is just a way to quantify what we already know. Having bilateral implants has made a world of difference in Rachel's real world hearing. In booth testing, her original left implant has shown amazing ability. She is now being given adult sentences, because the age appropriate ones are too easy for her. But in noise (read real world situations) her hearing tests out at about 12% below normal hearing. What that really means is that she had a great deal of difficulty following conversations when more than one other person was talking to her, or if they were in a noisy environment. She spends most of her time in that exact environment. Lots of kids, hallways, cafeterias, class rooms. Her usual reaction was to simply disengage. She tuned out. All the other kids would be talking to each other, and she was off in her own little world, oblivious to what was going on. She simply could not follow along.

Now, a year post implant with her second implant, it is all different. She is engaged in the group discussions. She can follow along and keep up. She injects her own comments and they are relevant. The kids no longer roll their eyes when she says some off the wall comment, because she is no longer off the wall. It has made a huge difference in her social life at school, and in her enjoyment of school. She has always been a happy kid, but she has had difficulty making friends her own age. When possible, she always hung out with the younger kids because they were easier to interact with. And they were more forgiving if you said something out of context. But since she is now in middle school, there are no younger kids to hang out with. I think we got her implant just in time. I'm very relieved she is doing so well. It takes a load off my mind.

She still loves signing, and has joined the after school ASL club, and she eats lunch with the other DHH kids, but she also spends time with hearing kids, and at church she is getting involved with the youth group activities. Our goal in giving her implants was to give her access to the hearing world, with the idea that as long as she also had access to sign language, she could go where she wanted, and be with whoever she wanted to be with. She could also get a job without having to jump over the barriers that many Deaf people encounter. I think we have given her that.


Blogger McB said...

Yay, for Rachel!!!

12:04 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...

How wonderful! I think this is a definite example of yay for technology! And well done, Rachel!

11:16 AM  

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