I would like to start this post by first saying that Ethan's cochlear implant is currently working well and we feel that he is very successful at hearing with it.
I am a little preoccupied with the most recent speech evaluation conducted by the experts at our center in Cincinnati. This is in no way an indictment of their abilities, they're all so skilled and experienced. I'm just coming to terms with the language used in parts of that report.
The report said "severe language delay".
You guessed it, I'm all whacked out because of the term 'severe'.
I don't write about Ethan's progress in the area of speech because there is really very little to report. I suppose that his current therapist (who has a highly trained ear for the subtleties of language development) might beg to differ, so let me break it down for you.
Ethan has not been making consonant sounds, other than the occasional h or m sound. He has never made the b or d sounds, or any other consonants for that matter. He squeals and screeches and grunts. He is quite good at mimicking patterns of sound, including music. But he's not making much progress with actual speech.
Others his age implanted at the same time not only have the ability to form consonant sounds, they are saying actual words, lots of them. This is what has led his doctors to be concerned about the potential for verbal apraxia. This is further backed up by the fact that his brain shows some damage from the virus in the motor cortex, which is why they believe he has had some gross and fine motor control issues. I used to think his balance, or lack of, was an attribute of the inner ear/vestibular mechanism, but that is unlikely the case given the results of his CT scans.
Ethan's hearing age is 11 months, meaning that is how long he has had the ability to hear. I've never spent much time with a hearing child that is 11 months old, but something tells me that Ethan is not that different vocally. So what's the big deal?
Whatever the case, we can and will jump that hurdle. Maybe we're even jumping it right now with all this therapy.
It's a good thing Rich and I have long legs.
I forgot to mention something about the report that those familiar with Ci rehab will find interesting. The report actually encourages us to continue using/teaching sign with Ethan. I found that vindicating on the one hand since it's very important to me that Ethan learn how to sign. On another level, how many Ci therapists are out there urging the use of sign?? Yeah, sort of rare.