Cochlear Implant for Jonathan

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/ZDD7Ohs5tAk?rel=0" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

See this wonderful clip of 8 month old Jonthan having the cochlear implant in his right ear turned on. When you look at it the 2nd time watch how he mimics his mother’s mouth movements.

Reminds me of the fascinating work carried out by Colwyn Trevarthen on the communication betwen very small children and their carers.

He studied the rhythms and expressions of children’s play and fantasy, and how musical games and songs, stories and acts of discovery, with real or imaginary companions, support the development of skills during infancy and the pre-school years.

His influence on music therapy – especially in areas of conflict – is very significant in enabling youngsters undergoing the intense trauma of living in a war zone, as can be seen in the work of Nigel Osbourne.

Trevarthen also pioneered the incredibly powerful Video Interactive Guidance programme which helps professionals ‘give individuals a chance to reflect on their interactions, drawing attention to elements that are successful and supporting clients to make changes where desired’.

I did part one of this training a few years ago and found it invaluable.

But back to Jonathan – I know some members of the hearing impaired community dislike the emphasis on the spoken as opposed to the signed, word but no one could deny the joy that baby experiences as he communicates with his mum. I recently trod on one of my incredibly expensive hearing aids and am awaiting a replacement. It feels as if I’m underwater when trying to discern conversations. The temptation is to turn off from ordinary human contact. I pick up important news but miss all the general chat in staff rooms. No wonder I’m anti-social! I’m with those who ensure that children are given such implants as soon as is possible.

And here’s an opportunity to say farewell to a good friend and great colleague, Eleanor Carnell. She is an amazing fount of wisdom and knowledge about lots of stuff – but especially about teaching children with hearing impairments. She retires at the end of session after many years of sterling service to the Lothians and we in the Outreach Team will miss her sorely.

(PS If some clever person could change this URL to the real Youtube video I ‘d be pleased. Why does it work on my blog but not here?)

Cochlear Implantation

Cochlear ImplantI have been supporting a family whose deaf 3year old has just had a Cochlear Implant ( a hearing device that is implanted into the cochlea to deliver a sound sensation that the brain can interpret for speech). This has been a very exciting time for us all, but a very nerve wracking and emotional time for the family. I also was able to meet the implant team in Kilmarnock (our national implant centre) to discuss the procedure and likely outcomes.  Research has shown that the earlier a deaf child is implanted the more likely the success, although sucess is not guaranteed. They are now implanting at a year old! Our 3 year old will have 3 years to make up once her implant is ‘tuned’ in (one month from implantation to enable the operated site to heal)as well as trying to keep up with her peers.

Having supported the family so far I now feel that I will have to deliver strategies to ‘catch up’ the missed years, both for her nursery placement and her family. Our aim is to limit the gaps in language so that she can access the curriculum especially in the later primary years, and then into high school where I hope her choices and attainments will be limitless. A tall order? Our expectations must be high for her and support at these early stages will lay the foundations for good speech and access to language.

This child will still be deaf and need extra support throughout her education but she will also access the hearing world and have choices. Cochlear implants have proved to be successful for many users and as I learn and ecperience more of them I am amazed at the outcomes that I never dreamed would occur.