Hearing Review – MAP

This morning we had Asa’s audiology Multi-Agency Planning (MAP) meeting at UHW. After a stressful time stuck in traffic and trying to park (one of the car parks was closed and it was absolute chaos – I was in tears!), I took Asa in to the hospital while Jon tried to park. I didn’t think he would be able to join me, but two minutes before we were called in, he arrived – phew!

I was a little nervous, as you might expect from me(!). This was our first MAP and it was all so new to us. Having Jon there with Asa and I was such a blessing. He is such a strength to me, a calming influence – my pebble. (I once called him my rock, and he replied that he didn’t think that was the case, and that he was more like a pebble than a rock, so it has become our little joke!).

We met with the hearing doctor, speech therapist, teacher for the hearing impaired and two audiologists. Most of the people we had already met and they were so friendly and welcoming. We discussed Asa’s hearing, whether he is wearing the softband regularly, what sounds he was making, the use of Makaton and any concerns or questions. Also Cath, the teacher, gave her report. At the moment, Asa’s favourite (read: only!) sounds (other than crying, giggling and wind!) are the ‘raspberry’ and a long vowel, ‘ahhh’. Everyone seemed pleased that Asa was making small progress with his sounds and Lowri, the speech therapist, even thought she heard a ‘b’ sound from Asa that we’d never picked up before. Subtle sounds aren’t easy for us amateurs to pick up on!

We asked Dr Roberts, the hearing doctor, whether Asa might now be suitable for conventional behind the ear hearing aids. Upon examination we were informed that Asa’s ears are still too small and so it’s not feasible. I must admit I was rather disappointed. The softband does help Asa’s hearing, but it’s hard work – it gives quite a lot of feedback when knocked or rubbed, especially if Asa is on the floor or in his highchair. I have to adjust it regularly as sometimes Asa pulls it, or it slips out of position. He also, somehow, manages to turn it off on occasions! But for now, it is the softband or nothing, and as we want to help Asa as much as we can, we’ll continue with it until a time when Asa’s ears are big enough for the alternatives.

The doctor suggested we do an impromptu hearing test because Asa was sat up with minimal support. Off we trotted to the testing room. I’m glad I didn’t know that this test was on the cards as I would probably have been very nervous and I’d have worried about it the night before! Asa sat on my knee and the audiologists looked for a response from Asa to show that he had heard a variety of sounds. When he heard a sound, he was quite consistent in his response – he stilled, eyes widened and if he liked the sound he would smile and move his feet. He seems to prefer high pitch noises such as ‘sh’ and ‘s’ and he smiled consistently upon hearing these type of noises.

The second test the audiologists did was a tympanometry – a test to see how freely the ear drum vibrates to conduct sound to the inner ear. Asa had one in September which showed ‘glue ear’ in both ears, resulting in a moderate hearing loss. Today’s test showed one ear ‘glue ear’ as expected, whilst the other ear showed some ear drum movement which implies there is less ‘glue ear’ than a few months ago. We know that ‘glue ear’ fluctuates (i.e. can get worse and improve throughout the year), but we also know we have a healing God! We’re praying the ‘glue ear’ gets less and less over the coming months and will remain that way!

We went back to the meeting room to discuss the results. Today Asa heard sounds at 45 decibels, wearing the softband. We were thrilled with this! ‘Normal’ speech level is around 50 to 55 decibels, so this test shows that Asa is probably hearing a very good range of different sounds needed for speech. It is interesting that Asa responded so well to the higher pitched ‘soft’ sounds such as ‘sh’ because previously the audiologists thought that this was the pitch of hearing he most struggled with. We are praising God for such a good hearing test today.

PRAYER POINTS:
If you are a Christian reading this blog and pray to God, then please join us in praying for Asa’s hearing, that the ‘glue ear’ would decrease and that his hearing would improve in order to develop good speech.

Some photos of Asa enjoying his tea later on that day…

P1090823 P1090824I think Asa is quite proud of the mess… He certainly looks very contented!!!

 

Let It Snow!!!!!

Snow! Lots of it! What a joy to wake up this morning to the gentle, silent, white stuff. The view out of our living room window was breathtaking – what a view!

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The last time it snowed a decent amount, Emelia was only a few months old, around eight months old. I was excited to see her little face. I wondered how she would react! She was thrilled and couldn’t wait to go outside. I was also looking forward to Asa’s first snow experience, although we know he wouldn’t remember it. His ‘speak and learn’ group was cancelled due to hazardous conditions on the road. Jon worked from home for the morning.

Last night, Jon and I had a ‘date night’. We spent it roaming around Dunelm to have a look at curtains, followed by collecting Asa’s ‘new’ highchair bought off eBay. I specifically wanted this type of one because it reclined, which will suit Asa – he can’t sit up so one that doesn’t recline would make meal times too hard for him. We then had a meal at TGI Fridays, and it was wonderful to talk, away from the children and distractions. It felt like a break, and we had several hours just to ourselves! I love my husband! Thanks Mum for babysitting so regularly for us – we couldn’t do it without your very practical help!

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This afternoon, we were all able to eat lunch together. It was lovely! Asa looks so grown up now, sitting in his high chair. We will now do Asa’s speech sound cards while he’s in the high chair as the only place he can sit up and doesn’t tire him out.

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Asa loves doing his sound cards – he smiles consistently at each one. I think his favourites are the ‘ssss’ and ‘sshh’ sounds!

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After lunch, the four of us took a slow, slippery walk to Jon’s parents. Emelia enjoyed throwing little snowballs and stopping every few steps to collect little handfuls of the white stuff. Asa was in the pram, wrapped up in several layers including his 6-9 month pram / snow suit which was WAY too big for him! He’s still so small for his age. Both children had beautifully rosy cheeks when we arrived.

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Some very creative snow sculptures in Chapel Close!

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This weather always gets me thinking creatively. It makes me appreciate creation – the snow is just so beautiful. Its something that covers our world in a beautiful, soft layer. I’ve been thinking about the actual snowflakes – each are created to be unique. Some snowflakes are the size of small feathers, others are tiny and get lost in the flurry. Some fall fast, spinning wildly, while others take a more gentler pace. Each have their own design and unique way of falling. And so it is with all children. God creates all babies unique. All children are different, whether they have additional needs or not. A repeated theme throughout this blog is that fact that we believe, and know, that God does not make mistakes. (You can read these previous posts here, here and here!)

The following photos are snowflakes captured by my dear friend Lucy. She is a creative genius! How beautiful are these up close photos? How much more so then are our children!!! :-)

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