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DefBird's Kid CI Stories!



There are about 10,000 to 12,000 children under 18 years of age using cochlear implants and the number grows daily. Over 90% of children who are deaf have parents that can hear. It is only natural that these parents will want to give the gift of sound to their children if at all possible. DefBird can see no basis for the controversy that swirls around this device which is just one of the many miracles of modern medicine and technology. God moves in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform. The cochlear implant is just one of them. Take advantage of it!

Table of Contents

Kennedy's Story JD's Story and Links


Kennedy's Story:

Three and a half years ago we were blessed with the birth of our first child, a healthy 7 lb 7 oz baby girl.  We both remember the day as if it were yesterday, counting all of her fingers and toes, making sure she looked perfectly normal on the outside.  Never in our wildest dreams did we think we had just delivered a hearing impaired child nor were we given any reason to believe so since we were not offered a hearing test at the hospital. So, 24 hours later we were on our way home as a family.

When our daughter was about 8 or 9 months old I began to suspect something was not quite right.  Being an elementary school teacher, I have had much experience working with children of all ages, even infants and toddlers, since I worked in a day care center while attending college.  I noticed
that my daughter was not babbling, made absolutely no attempt to say "mama" or "daddy" and seemed to do a lot of grunting or throat like noises.  I remember asking my husband and even my parents if they thought our daughter could hear.  Everyone always said "yes" and so I never really
pushed the issue.  At her nine month check-up I asked her doctor if I should be concerned about my daughter not vocalizing.  He said no, most children talk later on in life and even his own twin boys did not begin talking until the age of two.

At the time, we had a Spanish speaking baby-sitter so we often thought maybe our daughter was confused between the two languages. Even though I felt somewhat relieved by everyone's reassurance, my instincts told me not to let up on this.  We often performed many "tests" on her
at home: banging pots and pans behind her, clapping loudly to see if she would turn around or even just sneaking up behind her and calling her name. She was very good at fooling us and many times she would turn around.  Thus giving us more reason to believe that she could hear.

At her one year check-up, I decided I had had enough of the wondering game.  I asked my doctor if we could have her hearing checked and he said, "Yes, when would you like an appointment with the ENT?".  I will forever be grateful to this doctor for acting so fast.  We have heard many horror stories about doctors who say children are just ignoring their parents or don't have any desire to talk
at the time.  Our advice to any parent is always make yourself  heard and always trust your instincts.

We went in for our initial round of testing with some audiologists in that dreadful sound proof booth.  I remember being there for a long time and getting the feeling that something was wrong. I asked them when they were finished if that had any information for me. They said "no" but that they really needed to do some more testing on my daughter because she didn't respond the way they wanted her to.  I asked them exactly what that meant and they said "Maybe she just had a bad day testing."
We'd like to do another test on her so we can get accurate results for you."

I left the hospital that day an absolute wreck.  I remember calling my husband and telling him what they told me and I was in tears.  He tried to calm me down and kept asking me, "But what does that mean?" .    Not having an answer for him only made it worse.  We were then scheduled for an ABR
two weeks later, which seemed like an eternity for me.  My husband and I both went to the appointment and were extremely nervous as they hooked our daughter up to the machine and she drifted off to sleep.  I know I cried during the whole procedure.  The next 30 minutes, or however long it took, seemed like days.

All I remember is hearing the extremely loud clicks and beeps.  My husband remembers the audiologist's non-verbal leakage ("her face said it all" he always says) and knew that the results were not going to be good.  When the test was over she turned to us and said, "Your daughter has a severe to profound hearing loss." and we both cried as the audiologist left the room to give us some time to ourselves.

When she came back my only question was, "Can she hear us as we talk or not?" and her response was, "Probably not." My suspicions were now confirmed and although I cried along with my husband, I was ready to deal with this issue.  My husband, on the other hand, had a hard time at
first.  He was ready to start sign language right away but I convinced him that I wanted our daughter to speak.

She was fitted for hearing aids and wore them for about 8 months, all the while attending Auditory-Verbal therapy.  She was making some progress during this time frame, vocalizing more but not easily understood by anyone except us and all of her words seemed to sound the same.  Our therapist suggested looking into the Cochlear Implant and we immediately called on other
professionals for their advice.

We began attending our local Cochlear Implant support group and were welcomed with open arms.  All of the adults and children with implants  we met were doing absolutely great and they all loved their device. It was wonderful meeting people who could talk and be understood.  So, we
decided very early on that this was what we wanted. On September 15, 1997, at the age of 22 months, our daughter was implanted with the Nucleus 24.  And, on October 9, 1997, just 5 days after her 2nd birthday, she joined the "hearing world."  About a month later we really noticed
her vocabulary forming and she has been non stop ever since!  It is absolutely amazing
to see her progress and to think that without the implant she would be so far behind her peers.

She recently had some tests done to compare her  language development to that of normally hearing children her age.  To our amazement she is only one month behind other children her age in her expressive language skills!! That means that after being implanted only 19 months, she has just about
caught up to everyone else!  She still has a way to go with her speech development, a few of her consonant sounds are still missing and she still is not 100% understood by others but we know that in a few years she will be talking just like all the  hearing children.

She had surpassed all of our expectations and she truly amazes us everyday.  She loves her implant and wears it all day long.  She is a very active, happy child and is involved in dance, soccer and tee-ball. We try to give her every chance to build up her self esteem and to let her know that she is no different than anyone else. We want her to know that she can do whatever she wants to in life
and that this implant is just another part of her, a little something that helps her to hear like everyone else!

My husband and I remember every day how blessed we are to have our children (her younger sister has perfect hearing), each other, the Cochlear Implant and our wonderful support group.  Everything has now fallen into place for our family and we have two beautiful hearing children, one just has to work a little bit harder with her speech.

In the end, we hope our daughter thanks us for giving her the opportunity to be a part of the hearing world and we hope that other parents receive some guidance through our story.  We are always willing and eager to speak with others in our situation.  We, as parents,  may encounter some tough
paths in the future but we know that we were all given these children for a special reason.  Please remember to have faith and to know that things will get better. We wish everyone who reads this luck and continued success with their Cochlear Implants.

Angela and David Patlan
Parents of Kennedy
Nucleus 24 with Esprite (BTE type) and Esprint (body worn) processors
 utexs@nuicomp.net

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JD's Story

My buddy JD just got his CI. He is 12 years old and one of the world's sweeties. His mom, Kay,
has a humongous web site. She has his story and some other CI stories and much information about CIs in general located on some pages there. It would be well worth your time to visit her site and
read these stories and browse the other information available.

For JD's story, go to:

http://members.tripod.com/listenup/our-son.htm

For other stories and CI information, go to:

 http://members.tripod.com/listenup/implant.htm#stories

Please feel free to post to either Kay or JD if you have questions.

Kay and JD
listenup@texas.net

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