Yesterday at speech, Miss Kat had her 3 month post activation "testing". She did very well.
Now, as a rule, they say up to the first year, we should be focusing on just listening. Hearing babies spend the whole first year of their lives listening before they ever produce a word. Miss Kat is different, first because she is so much older. She is labeled a "late implanted" child....very late in fact, because I think that they start saying "late implanted" at about age 3! But in her favor is the fact that she heard normally for the first year of her life, and then had good amplification with her hearing aids for at least 3 more years after that. Her ears (and therefore brain) have never been without sound. She has never been profoundly deaf either. Even when we implanted her she was hearing into the speech range, at least the lowest frequencies. Overall, I think her last audiogram had her at about 40-45 db across the "speech banana". Which, actually, isn't terrible. It just wasn't working for her. It wasn't enough for her to be able to learn spoken language. Another child could function with Miss Kat's hearing loss, and learn spoken language very easily, but something in her ears was different. She couldn't do it. Also, in Miss Kat's favor is that she already has language. She isn't living without the ability to communicate. Her brain is right where it needs to be, just her ears and mouth are behind!
Ok, so back to the testing. First they did the ESP (Early Speech Perception) test. This test uses very different sounding two syllable words to choose from. The words were "toothbrush", "airplane", "hot dog" and "french fries". When we first started this journey Miss Kat was given this test and she scored 4 out of 24, and those were lucky guesses. Today she got 100% correct.
We moved up to the next test. This test was called the Spondee test. It uses 4 words that begin with the same sound, and have only one syllable. This test is so much more difficult that Miss Kat was never able to even complete the test with anything other than random guesses before her CI. Yesterday they used the words, "book", "ball", "bed" and "bird". Miss Kat missed one because she wasn't paying attention but then corrected it! She had no trouble with this test at all.
The third and final listening test that she had our therapist called the "Mr. Potato Head Challenge". This is a modified open set test that uses sentences. It tests not for discrimination, but for actual comprehension. She had never been close to this level of functioning pre-CI. The therapist would say things like "Hand me Mr. Potato Head's yellow hat" or "Make Mr. Potato Head wave good-bye" and Miss Kat would need to do those things. She did very well. She got 8 out 15 responses. I am amazed at her progress. It has only been 3 months and she is already this far. Miss Kat's therapist said that it can take years for some kids to get to comprehension levels!
They also did a little speech test for Miss Kat too. They flipped over a card and Miss Kat would just say the spoken word for the picture on the card. She had a word approximation for all 20 of the cards. (So there school SLP! You thought a goal of 25 word approximations was appropriate for one year from now? HA!) It was another easy test for her!
Miss Kat is doing so well. I'm so proud of her. I had no idea she would ever be able to do the things she is already doing. She is an amazing girl.