And I thought the cochlear implants were for her …

We have been enjoying Lei’s return to what for her is normal hearing. I wrote this reflection on the impact of her first cochlear implant on our family life shortly after her second implant surgery.

Parenting a Deaf and Gifted Child

Pic of Lei from behind, her aquamarine processor is visible. Lei heads back to school with her new CI activated for the first time. October, 2014

Last summer Lei and I were talking one night before she went to bed. She had been reading a book that I thought  put too much emphasis on the romantic interests of a girl barely older than Lei. I said I want her to stay focused on developing her inner self, not her appearance.

She replied, “I’m worried I’m going to lose all my confidence and only care how I look to boys. That’s why I want a cochlear implant.”

What now?

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The Other Child

When you have a child with special needs that take up a lot of your time and attention, what about the other children?

I only have two children: Lei, my older child, the one with lots of appointments, therapies, quirks and challenges, and my younger child. My more or less neurotypical child, the one whose challenges are more minor. The other child. Continue reading

Breakthrough on the left

At Lei’s audiology appointment on Tuesday, the audiologist gently asked how we were doing. She listened to Lei about how she has been feeling, and thoughtfully absorbed the suggestions for programming we had come up with in our meeting with the d/hh team at school.

Finally it was time to take the plunge. I handed over the left processor and the audiologist connected it to her computer on one end and to Lei’s head on the other.  Continue reading

Bring it on, audiologist

I’m sitting here wondering why I’m so emotional right now. I got mad and stayed mad at D’s five-year-old antics earlier. I’m not usually like that. And now – I wish I was kidding here – I am depressed because the sandwich I ordered tastes bad and I don’t want to return it. Yeah.

Then it hits me, of course I’m emotional: I’m about to take Lei back to the audiologist.  Continue reading

Hearing again and saving herself

During Lei’s days off last week, I tried having her wear her right processor again, and surprisingly she was able to hear decently through it. Over the last week the cutting-in-and-out problem seems to have resolved completely. Lei can hear again!

She still talked about being homeschooled, however, and I asked her how she planned to stay in touch with her new friends at school. “I’ll chat with them online,” she breezed.

She had it all worked out. But on Tuesday when Lei, her dad and I met at midday with the school case manager, audiologist and hearing itinerant, Lei did a 180.

“I talked with my two good friends here and they said they wouldn’t be friends with me if I quit going to Madero.” She grinned. “So I’m staying!”

Let’s hear it for positive peer pressure!  Continue reading

Is this a breakdown?

I keep wondering if this is what we’ll someday call a breakdown.

Someday maybe we will tell this story by saying that Lei kept having really hard years at school, that we kept trying new things, new interventions, new schools, but we couldn’t seem to find the right fit. And then we’ll talk about how we were so hopeful that attending her dad’s school would give her the security, academic challenges and sense of belonging she lacked. And how, just after she started there, she suffered a breakdown.  Continue reading

Bilateral failure

Back of Lei's head showing two CI headpieces.

Today Lei and I went to the implant center for integrity testing, and although there was a lot to it – some crying, some coffee, a large cookie, a whole bunch of equipment and numerous attempts to reprogram – I’ll just say that it did not go well. Lei will need surgery to replace her implants.  Continue reading