Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Audiometry

This month has been SOOOO crazy with Jordan's appointments in addition to a slew of additional appts for her school district assessments AND I now work two days a week AND Shannon is doing his mortgage work along with taking classes toward his master's degree. Yikes.
Today was the day Jordan went in for her vision and hearing screening with the district nurse. Many of you may not know that I am a teacher of the deaf (really I'm just a mom but my credential and master's says I'm a teacher of the deaf so two days a week now I'm both a mom and a teacher). Most of my schooling was in the area of specialized instruction for deaf/hard of hearing children with some speech pathology courses and some audiology courses. Because of this, I was particularly interested in Jordan's vision and hearing screening today. When I talked to Shan and asked him what they did, what type of equipment they used he chuckled and said something like, "You're gonna love this. Are you sitting down?" He proceeded to tell me that they told her to turn around and then the nurse rang bells and made different sounds with various toys. If Jordan could hear them then she passed. I nearly fell out of my chair. I was at work so I asked our nurse why on earth that would be their protocol. She said it is a very antiquated way that schools used to check hearing. No one uses that method anymore according to her. She told me they now use an audiometer, which is what I was expecting from our local district. She let me take hers home to test Jordan myself for peace of mind.

Here's a sideways picture of the audiometer. It kept rotating sideways when I posted it - sorry.
It presents tones through headphones at various frequencies and decibels so an actual audiogram can be made. It also isolates each ear so you can tell the hearing in each ear independently.



Being an audiology student and teacher of the deaf, I can't tell you how many textbooks I've seen with cute kids holding blocks up with their headphones on, waiting to hear the tones.
I love learning about the intricacies of the middle and inner ear and how perfectly things must work together for information to reach the brain. It is truly fascinating stuff. To be able to give my own children hearing tests was SO fun and to see them with their own little blocks in hand was really so cool.
When Jordan was born I requested a Newborn Hearing Screening. They said no (not in so many words but basically they resisted). I persisted and basically said that I didn't want to leave until they checked her hearing. With everything else I needed to know she could hear. She failed. We took her to an ENT then an audiologist who did an ABR - Auditory Brainstem Response test which measures the brain's response to sound. She got no response. I was devastated to say the least. I went home several times after various audiological appts and stood in front of my textbook shelf and cried. I couldn't make myself pull those books down to look at them as a parent. I couldn't face the thought that of all disabilities she could be deaf. I knew the challenges from my schooling and my job. I knew what deafness would mean for her and for our family. After more tests were done it was suggested that it was simply fluid and that once she got tubes put in her ears that she would hear fine. Thankfully at four months she got tubes and we found that her hearing was fine. I was beyond relieved. Since then I've worked very hard to make sure her tubes are in place and that her hearing, despite fluid, infections and tubes is managed. She failed her last brief hearing test in one ear at the ENT's office so I was relieved to be able to test her myself.
One more quick note is that I offered to also test my neighbor and her daughter. Her daughter came back within normal limits but my friend showed a significant high frequency loss. She has suspected it for a while but hadn't had time to go get it checked. She's relieved to know now and to be encouraged to get a full work up. I also gave her handouts describing the type of loss that showed up on her chart tonight. What a fun toy this is. Anyone else wanna try it? :)


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Quick Update on JJ's Progress

video

I had a few minutes here on a Saturday while Shannon is at the men's retreat and I'm a total vegetable on the couch with the kids watching a movie - after a morning of cartoons (yes, I'm a bad mom) so I thought I'd post a quick update.

September is a VERY busy month for us as I start working two days a week (boo hoo!), ministry starts up at church for us and the kids, Shannon starts school again (and works full time with our Real Estate Mortgage business), Noah starts his one morning a week preschool again, Jordan continues with therapy as usual and we go through the crazy process of Special Education testing through the local school district. Uggg. Today is a much deserved morning on the couch with the kids. I'm loving it!

As for Jordan's update - she is doing very, very well and it's great to see. This month she is being assessed in the areas of gross motor, fine motor, speech/language, pre-academic and cognitive skills with our local school district. We aren't expecting her qualify for services in any area, thankfully, but we want to be sure and we want to know for sure that she is closing the gap developmentally and that her medical issues haven't caused delays that need to be worked on. Next month we are expecting her to only have therapy one morning a week and no surgeries scheduled on the horizon for another 2 or 3 years. I can't imagine! She will be three this month which a whole blog post in itself.

A big milestone recently is her ability to go up and down a few stairs without assistance. It's so exciting. She is physically becoming more and more independent all the time. She's beginning to be able to hang on monkey bars for a couple seconds (showing increased hand strength and flexibility), she is beginning to learn to use special scissors to cut paper, she can draw circles and lines on paper, she is only wearing her brace part-time now and is graduating to a smaller brace in a week or so. She's just doing so great and it's fun to see. I put a video on here of her climbing the stairs in front of our house. We've been working toward this since she began walking after her surgery earlier this year.

I will be posting more pictures soon and then of course her birthday post - she turns three on September 30th and we're heading to Disneyland with our "princess" for a day of celebration. Yes she will be in costume - princess of course.