I don't mean to sound like a broken record or, to be more current, a song stuck on repeat, but learning to talk with a cochlear implant is a lot of hard work! SJ rivals A-List celebrities with the size of the entourage she has working with her. I even have to go special meetings, classes, and conferences to learn right along with her.
She goes to school 5 days a week and has private therapy daily. She has made some significant strides since she was remapped a month ago. She turns to her name consistently. I used to call for her as a listening test just to see if "it worked", now I call for her in a normal and practical way expecting that she will respond to my voice. She has even heard me from another room. Some sounds that are frequently heard around our house are the baby crying, Z's video games, a timer beeping, and the cell phone ringing. I shared the video I have of her hearing the first two and since then she has also responded to the timer and the phone. This is a breakthrough that I had previously only dreamed about!
There are so many steps to hearing that we take for granted because for most of us it is just like breathing or drinking. I bet you are a pro in the area of auditory processing. If you go outside and hear birds chirping up in the trees, you are able to accomplish sound detection, discrimination, and localization without even trying. This process is one that we are in the middle of working on with SJ along with starting some vocalization. So far SJ has said "Uh-Oh", "up", "more", and some animal noises. She has made several attempts at other words when prompted too (prompting is when you say the word for her so that she can repeat it). One thing I've learned about since she started school that is worth mentioning is called"approximation". It's when the word sounds approximately like whatever she is trying to say. When SJ tries to mimic a word, or produce a sound, or a melody, it is usually completely unrecognizable, but for where she is at (5 months old hearing age) she is doing great. We are not working on articulation. We are not working on sentences or manners yet. What we are working on right now is getting her to be able to recognize and produce basic sounds and every effort on her part is worthy of celebration.
In this video you will see SJ putting together a Mr. Potato Head. Her therapist is prompting her to say the name of each part before giving it to her. She doesn't always cooperate (just to be perfectly honest), but this was a good day for this particular activity.
Now that is what a I call a pretty little girl with a bright future!