Sonya Sings All the Time

In the mornings, as I push Sonya down West End Avenue in her stroller, Sonya sings. Loudly.  Sometimes she takes requests. Most of the time she sings to her own soundtrack, on repeat. It’s pretty cute. Strangers often smile as we pass. I love to sing too, so I sometimes try to accompany, to which she immediately protests. “Stop Mom! It’s my turn! Okay?”

During our walks, Sonya sings the ABCs, Mary Had a Little Lamb, Frère Jacque (en Français – pas mal!), Songs of her own invention and her favorite new song “The Orange Room class song.” The Orange Room is Sonya’s room at nursery school. She attends a mainstream two’s program at the Nursery School at Habonim.

 

The Orange Room is the place to be
We learn to count. One, two, three
Music, yoga, science too
Our school colors are orange and blue!
The Orange Room is the place to be
We’re as happy as happy can be!

I can’t help but feel this is pretty amazing progress considering Sonya was born deaf and has worn bilateral cochlear implants since she was eight months old.

According to AudiologyOnline, singing has positive effects in cognitive, linguistic, memory and music perception for kids with hearing loss. At the Center for Hearing and Communication, where Sonya receives her speech therapy services, we were encouraged to incorporate music into Sonya’s life from her earliest days with hearing aids. They even secured free classes with Music Together, which Sonya loved.

While Sonya often sings to express joy, she also turns to music when she is angry.  Her current ‘go-to’ angry song is one she wrote herself. It goes:

I don’t like
I don’t like
I don’t like
Mommy Missy!

As I often discuss on this blog, when we learned Sonya would need cochlear implants we were initially very concerned about what this would mean in terms of her appreciation of music. Now, Sonya hasn’t yet demonstrated tone or pitch accuracy. She often starts a song in one key and ends up in a different key. According to AudiologyOnline, most kids develop this skill by kindergarten, though these are skills that might be more difficult for someone using cochlear implants. Cochlear implants were developed to access speech. Music is more complex. But, clearly, there is much we don’t understand about electronic hearing. Despite the obstacles, Sonya loves to sing. She loves to dance. And for the time being, she seems to enjoy it as well as her friends who hear acoustically.

Sing it Sonya!

Author: Missy Kvitko

Born in Fargo, North Dakota, I grew up in Minnesota. After graduating from Macalester College in 2004, I moved to New York City. For 10 years I worked in the field of public relations, representing professional services firms and financial services (in particular alternative asset managers) In 2014, my life changed dramatically with the birth of my first child, Sonya Rose. Born with severe to profound hearing loss. Sonya's care has become my full time job. It is also the best job I have ever had. My husband, Sonya and I live in Manhattan. Please feel free to email me anytime at missy.kvitko@gmail.com, or find me on instagram (@mmkvitko) and twitter (@HearSonyaRose). Thank you so much for reading.

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