Are You Happy?

Back in June, while undergoing IVF, I became depressed. It happened suddenly (and most likely due to the hormone treatments I was injecting twice daily into my belly). My mind would obsess and worry about inconsequential things. I didn’t sleep much. I had bad dreams that would cause me to wake up with a pit of anxiety in my stomach. Then sadness. A deep sadness that didn’t go away immediately after the egg retrieval, but one that lingered for weeks. It wasn’t good.  Continue reading “Are You Happy?”

Sonya Plays Piano

I love telling people about how Yan and I met. It took place in New York City circa late 2007 at a loud bar in the East Village. Upon being introduced by a mutual friend, I soon learned that Yan was a pianist and I was immediately entranced. On our second date, Yan invited me over to his apartment where he made me a mushroom omelette sandwich and then serenaded me by playing Chopin’s Etude no. 3 on his upright piano. I knew at that moment I would marry him! Here is a video of Yan playing:

Fast forward ten years. We are married. We have a grand piano that literally takes up 34 percent of our living room, and we have a three-year-old daughter who  is ready for piano lessons (well, according to Yan – but perhaps this is debatable). The only issue is our daughter is was born deaf and wears bilateral cochlear implants. That said, she has always loved music. And we have decided to move forward with piano lessons!

However, Yan’s very Russian mantra “chain her to the piano!” may not yet apply. At least for now. Instead, we devote just five minutes a day to the piano and only if she is up for it. We don’t put her in front of the piano when she is tired or not feeling great. The key is for her to associate the piano with something fun. Not for it to be a drag or chore.

The next few weeks, we are working on accomplishing a few small goals:

  • For Sonya to be excited to play piano
  • For Sonya to identify the C key throughout the keyboard
  • For Sonya to have a general understanding of the keyboard

For now, Sonya is to identify two black keys on the keyboard, press them with her two fingers, then skip to the next three black keys and say “skip”. She then must find the next two black keys. We do this up and down the piano using her left and right hands.

Once she has mastered this, we will work on finding the two black keys, and then finding C.

Since the keys of our grand piano are still a bit heavy for Sonya’s tiny fingers, we purchased the MunkikiM Roll Up Rainbow Piano, which Sonya received on her birthday. The piano rolls up so is easy to store in our small apartment, and the colorful keys are perfect for visual learners like Sonya. She also received My First Keyboard Book, which has a small keyboard and simple songs with visual cues that Sonya can learn to play.

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We have a wonderful piano teacher (who is incredibly talented – we aren’t kidding around here:). He visits us periodically to gage Sonya’s progress. Piano isn’t for everyone. It may not be for Sonya, ultimately. She is, after all, genetically predisposed both to love it (given who her parents are) and at the same time for it to be a great challenge for her.

P.s. Check out some of my earlier posts on music:

Sonya Sings All the Time

The Sweetest Dance

Suffering from Music Loss

On Music

 

Tackling Hearing Loss-Related Literacy Challenges Early

We are tackling hearing loss-related literacy issues head on by having Sonya learn to read early! Check out what we are doing and tips from hearing loss professionals on how to foster strong literacy skills at home and at school.

This past week, Sonya started to learn to read! Well, actually, she started learning her letters, but once a week moving forward she will work with Dana Selznick, education specialist at the Center for Hearing and Communication, to work on literacy skills.

Like other children with hearing loss, Sonya is susceptible to having difficulties in all areas of academic achievement, especially reading and mathematical concepts. According to Reading Rockets, a national literacy initiative, the effect of hearing loss on academic achievement is distressing:

  • Children with mild to moderate hearing losses, on average, achieve one to four grade levels lower than their peers with normal hearing, unless appropriate management occurs.
  • Children with severe to profound hearing loss usually achieve skills no higher than the third- or fourth-grade level, unless appropriate educational intervention occurs early.
  • The gap in academic achievement between children with normal hearing and those with hearing loss usually widens as they progress through school.

Thankfully, extra support for children with hearing loss can significantly improve these effects. Under Dana’s guidance, we will work to help Sonya learn to read hopefully before entering kindergarten.

Our first reading lesson involved identifying the letters of the alphabet, placing those letters on an “alphabet train,” and coordinating images and sounds with letters.

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Here is Dana teaching Sonya about the letter “B”. When asked what was pictured, Sonya responded confidently, “wine!” haha
In addition to learning letters and the alphabet, we spent a portion of the hour reading Elephant and Piggie books together. To Sonya’s delight, Dana has the plush Gerald the Elephant and Piggie set. Sonya held Piggie and I held Gerald as we acted out the story. It was a great way to integrate play, listening, speech and language along with reading. (I just bought the plush set for Sonya’s upcoming birthday, so we can reenact this at home too!)

We have been instructed to work on our letters and sounds every day at home. After our lesson, Dana gave us print outs of the letters we worked on. On Thursday, Sonya spent time coloring each letter. The next day, we played a game using the letters from the Melissa & Doug Magnetic Chalkboard. I presented Sonya with five letters and asked her which one makes the “b” sound, “a” sound, etc. Doing something different every day to keep it interesting is critical. I am perusing Pinterest for other ideas and will share them if helpful.

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Dana recently wrote a blog post for CHC’s “Back to School Buzz” on this topic, and suggested parents follow the below tips to foster strong literacy skills at home and at school:

Literacy learning tips for children with hearing loss according to Dana:

  • Nightly Reading – Encourage nightly reading at all age levels by establishing a reading routine and sticking to it. You’ll promote language skills while creating a special nightly experience. Be sure to discuss the book you’re reading to aid comprehension and point out words and images as you go along. Reading charts can keep track of your progress and help instill a love of reading.
  • New Vocabulary – Be sure to regularly introduce new stories so that your child encounters new sounds and vocabulary. Exposure to story lines encourages the use of new vocabulary that children may not encounter in their everyday language.
  • Book Recommendations – Dana recommends visiting the Scholastic website and searching titles by age group. For preschool and elementary students, She really likes the “If You Give” series by Laura Numeroff and the “Little Old Lady” series by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg. You can chose titles that focus on a letter sound that your child’s therapist is working on, such as “If You Give a Pig a Pancake” for the letter sound “p”. Having your child repeat back sentences and dialogue from the story fosters sequential memory.
  • Technology Considerations – It’s vitally important to make sure your child has maximum access to sound at home and in school. CHC’s Back-to-School Audiology Tips by pediatric audiologist Anita Stein-Meyers will help you and your child’s teacher identify and fix common problems that can occur with hearing technology.
  • Advocate at School – Reach out to teachers at the start of the school year to make sure they understand your child’s listening challenges in the classroom and take appropriate action.

We are so excited to begin this journey! We even bought Russian letters so that Sonya can do Russian reading work with her Russian-speaking nanny Nina!

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La La La Look!

This past Labor Day weekend, Sonya had a big leap in her speech. She can now make the “L” sound! I saw it emerge during speech therapy last week, but this weekend it became more and more consistent. This is a sound we have been working on for…I don’t know, years? Even before she was speaking, we would say to her “la la la look!” and would show her how we place our tongue at the top of our mouths to make the “L” sound.

On rainy weekends like this past one, we love to take Sonya to the Met and “la la look” at the paintings.

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Lately, Sonya asks TONS of questions constantly, and we try to get her to talk about what she is seeing in the artwork and how the figures in the painting or sculptures might be feeling and why. Her favorite sculpture of late is Adam by Tullio Lombardo, which is hidden in a room on the first floor away from the crowds. We showed Sonya how Adam had once broken into many thousands of pieces but the people at the museum put him back together like a puzzle! She also loves the story of Adam and Eve and the snake – though she might decide to just start pretending to be a puppy at any given moment. That’s three! 🙂


Sonya’s favorite activity at the Met, however, is sitting in the American Wing Cafe and enjoying some popcorn, while admiring the sculptures that surround us. We love living in New York City!

P.S. When I see painting “The Penitent Magdalene” by George de la Tour, I can’t help but want to reach out and grab the items that lay on the ground near her feet. They look just like Sonya’s CIs! Obviously, I need help at this point…

Met painting and CIs

 

 

Sonya Curses (But Clearly!)

After a long day of speech therapy, the playground, and an annual checkup at Sonya’s pediatrician, Sonya threw off her CIs. They landed in the middle of a very busy West End Avenue. “Dammit!” I shouted as I strapped Sonya into her stroller, locked the brakes and proceeded to run into the street before a car nearly ran over her thirty thousand dollar equipment.

As I returned to the sidewalk, a nanny watching nearby with her own stroller, shook her head at me. At first I thought it was a sympathetic shake as in, “I can’t believe that just happened to you! Toddlers!” shake. But when we crossed paths as we walked back uptown, she shook her head again at me. Yep. It was a judgment shake. I had “exposed” my daughter and her own to blasphemous language.

Little does she know…

At home, it is often the case that…well… my speech is not exactly angelic. I find myself on swearing rampages when Sonya takes her CIs off. The frustration of dealing with a toddler, coupled with the frustration of ensuring that she wear her cochlear implants at all waking hours gets to me. I used to feel relieved that she couldn’t hear when the headband was off. That was, until I took the below video. Sonya is in her bed. She doesn’t want to nap and is crying. And then 15 seconds in…she says….

Apparently, her lip reading skills are not terrible.

A part of me feels very ashamed by this. Obviously, I have failed Sonya for her to use that word. I am sure many people will agree.

And yet, a part of me feels incredibly proud. The “f” and “k” sounds are not easy to produce. She is obviously hearing them well with her cochlear implants, and is producing them, which is actually incredible given that she was born deaf. Her speech has come a long way.

I wonder how many other parents out there can relate to this? When the CIs come off, do you find yourself blowing off steam by way of swearing? Is this really truly horrible? Or, is it actually good for you? A recent study points out that swearing is a “creative, emotional release that can make you feel stronger.” As a mom to a toddler who also is deaf, we have a lot on our plate and i.m.h.o swearing isn’t the worse way to release it.

That said, I do hope that I can teach Sonya alternate ways of expressing herself…this is not that flattering, really.

 

 

 

 

Sonya’s Third Year Evaluation

In a month, we will celebrate Sonya’s third birthday! While I can’t believe three years have passed already, I also can’t believe we have only had Sonya for three years in our lives. She has had such a profound impact on who I am.

As Sonya approaches her big day, we are also working on transferring our speech therapy services from Early Intervention (which is state-sponsored) to our local school district. To do so involves a somewhat lengthy process, including:

  1. A referral from Sonya’s EI service coordinator, informing the school district that Sonya was born deaf, has been receiving speech therapy through EI and that she should be considered by the school district for special education services (i.e. speech therapy and in-classroom support);
  2. A psych/ed evaluation, which assesses the child’s physical, mental, behavioral and emotional factors;
  3. A speech and comprehension evaluation, which assesses the child’s current abilities; and
  4. Letters from Sonya’s audiologist and surgeon detailing her hearing loss and the tools she will need to succeed in school (i.e. FM system and receivers).

In the below clip, you can watch excerpts from Sonya’s speech and comprehension evaluation. The entire evaluation was nearly two hours, but this gives you an idea. Also, I was observing behind a one sided mirror – so the quality is a bit grainy.

Once the evaluation is complete, we met with a school administrator who discussed Sonya’s progress and whether she would be granting us the accommodations we requested. Since Sonya will be in preschool five mornings a week this year, we requested a hearing education specialist to be in the classroom with her three times a week; for the school to order an FM system (and receivers that fit on Sonya’s processors) that we can use; reading help once a week; group therapy and individual therapy.

The school board meeting was one I dreaded for a long time. I had heard horror stories from other parents, who said they would resort to tears and refuse to leave the room until the administrator granted an accommodation. I heard of another parent who brings a big black binder with her child’s adorable photo on the cover. Looking extremely organized, she runs the meeting! (It’s actually a phenomenal idea). Thankfully our meeting went very smoothly. That said, we will continue to have them annually until Sonya is out of high school. Chances are, we will face such challenges in our future.

In other news, Sonya has grown so much this summer. I have noticed that when Sonya has a developmental leap, she tends to remove her CIs more frequently. Yesterday, she refused to wear them at speech therapy. It took 30 minutes of prodding before she finally agreed to wear them (the game of hot potato finally coaxed her); and this morning, she threw them off just as we entered NYU’s Cochlear Implant Center for her three month mapping. It’s frustrating to say the least. Sonya speaks loudly without her CIs and tends to hurt herself too. Yesterday she was being crazy and hit her head on the corner of a bench and now sports a small red dot right below her hairline 😦

Something tells me that we are only starting to appreciate the true challenges that await us as parents of a ‘threenager’ 🙂

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Yep. She’s a threenager.

 

Our Italy Trip

For the past couple weeks we have been in Venice and Lake Como, Italy. Thought I would share our memories and some wisdom after traveling with a “threenager” who has cochlear implants 🙂

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For the past couple of weeks we have been in Italy. This was the third summer we have spent time there (see our Amalfi Coast trip here and our Tuscany trip here), and the country continues to impress us. I thought you might be interested in seeing some photos and a bit of wisdom gained from experience while traveling with a now almost “threenager” who has cochlear implants.

FLYING

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It’s funny, I used to be a nervous flyer. I tried wine, Benadryl, meditation, you name it. Funny enough, traveling with a toddler cured me. When you travel with a toddler, you must be so present it is nearly impossible for anxious thoughts to take over. You are surviving the current moment, be it pulling Sonya down from the arm rest where she is yelling at the people behind us to “wake up guys — it’s morning!” to playing pretend animals with her, to finding her milk that hasn’t expired after sitting for eight hours in your thermos, so that she can go to sleep. On the flight over, Sonya actually did sleep! And then I had wine. And it was a great flight 🙂

Once we arrived to Venice, Sonya rode her JetKids bed box (which serves as a bed for the plane, an airport ride and a toy box) to the boat that took us to our apartment in San Marco.

 VENICE

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We spent the first part of our trip in Venice. If you are afraid to visit this city with kids, please don’t be. It is wonderful. As in previous summers, we traveled with Yan’s parents, and alternated between days with Sonya and days where we traveled alone. Sonya loved San Marco square. We had talked about visiting it often before our trip. We read Olivia Goes to Venice at leastolivia goes to venice fifty times before our trip.

The square didn’t disappoint. Sonya LOVED watching the people, the thousands of pigeons, listening and dancing to the music played by live bands at some of the restaurants, and most of all, eating the gelato every night after dinner. So much so that she had a full on tantrum one night and threw off her cochlear implants. The hook on one of the processors broke off. We spent the next morning trying to find it.

Of course we didn’t find it. We could have contacted Cochlear and ordered new hooks to be overnighted to Italy (they cost about $15 for a set of two not including shipping), but ultimately decided it wasn’t worth the hassle. Sonya wore her Ruby Band headbands for the duration of the trip and it wasn’t a big deal.

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Since we had Yan’s parents Lillian and Eugene with us, we took turns watching Sonya and touring areas of the city. Highlights included seeing the Giotto frescos in Padua; the Scuola San Giorgio Degli Schiavoni (for Carpaccio) and the Scuola Rocco (for Tintoretto), Prosecco tasting in the Venetian countryside and of course, the food 🙂 Above all, Yan and I felt very lucky we had some time alone together. Thank you Baba and Deda so much for everything!!! ❤

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My favorite memories, however, are of buying fresh foods in the Rialto market and making dinners at home for the entire family. It was so special to be together in such a beautiful place.

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LAKE COMO – BELLAGIO

From Venice, we rented a car and drove to Bellagio. The drive begins on a boring highway but after two hours, the road narrows and winds through small hills that eventually merge into the Italian Alps. Lake Como is extraordinary. People say it is impossible to take pictures there – the photos do not do the place justice – and they are right. At least my photos 🙂

We stayed at the Belvedere Hotel in Bellagio, which overlooks the lake. We didn’t swim in the lake, but the views are incredibly serene and the weather is cooler than Venice this time of year. Our hotel pool was a wonderful respite for the entire family, above all Sonya, who loved to wade in the shallow water and play with her boat. She wore her Ruby Band swim headband and we had no issues with the processors being impacted from water.

During the day, we took the ferry to see different villages in Lake Como. Varenna was an amazing town with a beautiful villa – Villa Monastero – which had gorgeous gardens and views. Sonya – was a bit tired by this point and luckily we had brought her iPad and Mini Mic. She watched “Mickey the Mouse” while we enjoyed a glass of wine. I felt a bit guilty but only a little bit. We all deserve a break sometimes 🙂

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On days when we stayed in Bellagio, we enjoyed taking long walks down the boardwalk where we would drink espresso, do some shopping, eat gelato (fig was our favorite – but Sonya is partial to “chocolick” (we are still working on word endings in speech therapy).

One day, Yan and I took a drive north to Lugano Switzerland. A beautiful place with amazing pizza! We had the best Napoli pizza since Amalfi at Ristorante l’Argentino.

My favorite meal, however, was in the hilltops next to the farm, Trattoria Baita Belvedere. With breathtaking views of Lake Como, this quaint and casual restaurant offered traditional rustic fare sourced from neighboring farms. We ordered way too much and somehow finished everything. I even bought a couple jars of lavender and linden-infused honey that complemented our cheese plate. My mouth is watering as I write this. : )

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View from our table at Trattoria Baita Belvedere in Lake Como

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Sonya got to spend some time with her Aunt Jess who was in Bellagio for a wedding!
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Sometimes your child has a tantrum because they want a giraffe and I say it’s okay to give in 5 percent of the time – especially when on vacation 🙂

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We had such an incredible trip. Yesterday Sonya told me “I rewy miss Itawy mama! Can we go again soon?”

I hope so!

P.s. Because I was in denial about coming back to the states (especially with everything going on here..) I created a 14 minute movie about our trip. Yes, it’s super cheesy. I think it’s a fun escape though 🙂

Ideas for Storing Cochlear Implant Equipment

When we came back from Sonya’s cochlear implant activation, we received two large suitcases (one for each processor) filled with equipment. Learning how to use the equipment has been one challenge. Figuring out how best to store it has been another. I thought it would be helpful to walk you through how we have stored her devices and equipment!

As I discussed in the video, storing the various chargers, cords, etc., is challenging. The Grid It is an amazing tool. It is compact and fits tons. We LOVE IT.

Hope this is helpful! Look forward to learning any tips parents might have for storing their equipment. And I should probably start dealing with my “broken equipment” container 😉

 

 

Five Takeaways After a Failed IVF Cycle

“Missy, I am calling to discuss the genetic results from your Counsyl test,” my OB said over the phone one February afternoon in 2014. At the time, I was just ten weeks pregnant. Like many Jewish couples, Yan and I underwent genetic screening early in our pregnancy. Prior to this call, my main concern as a newly pregnant working woman in America was how to attend the numerous doctor appointments when my job wasn’t showing much flexibility. This concern soon changed.

The doctor’s voice slowed as she delivered the news. We are both carriers of a hearing loss gene called Connexin 26, she told us. This means a one-in-four chance that the child I was carrying would have profound hearing loss. I remember how the doctor paused after she gave us this information, as if to prepare us for another blow. “You will also need undergo IVF for any future pregnancies, if you want to screen for the hearing loss gene.”

For those who are new to the world of fertility problems, IVF is the process of fertilization by extracting eggs, retrieving a sperm sample and then combining an egg and sperm in a laboratory dish. Since we have a known genetic issue, the embryos are then sent to a lab for preimplantation genetic diagnosis (“PGD”), where a cell is removed for genetic testing. The goal at the end of the process is to have at least one embryo that is tested for chromosomal normalcy and for known genetic mutations, which is then implanted back into the uterus where it will hopefully establish a pregnancy.

Three years later, I found myself at NYU Fertility Center, where I underwent a full physical, a saline infused sonogram (to ensure the fallopian tubes are functional and that the uterus is normal) and what seemed like 20 vials of blood before I was determined a candidate for IVF and PGD testing. Four months after that, I had completed a cycle. We had spent thousands of dollars. My body hurt. My emotions were all over the place.  And unfortunately, we will do it all over again in the coming months.

For parents in our shoes who are confronting the reality of screening future pregnancies for genetic hearing loss, I thought I would share my main takeaways:

  1. The timeline is SLOW especially when you include PGD testing. Once I was cleared for IVF, we started the PGD testing. Yan and I both gave blood. Sonya gave a cheek swab as did our parents (they were able to mail them into the lab). From there, the lab went to work creating a “probe” which is a test they perform on the future embryos. We could not start the IVF process until the probe was complete, which took about eight weeks. We used Natera to create the probe, and they were great to work with.Once the probe was complete, I had to wait until my next period. The IVF cycle started on day two of my period and was complete around 12 days later. Then I had the retrieval, where the eggs are removed from the ovaries. Four weeks later, the results. All-in-all, it took five months from beginning to end. My future cycle will not take as long, however, since the probe has now been created and can be reused in the future.

     

  2. The injections were the least bad part of IVF. My prior knowledge of IVF was limited to the fact that there were injections. Lots of them. And I would have to do them myself at home. The idea of the injection is much worse than the reality, however. In fact, they weren’t hard to administer at all (especially after childbirth, I mean, come on 🙂 Every morning and/or evening I administered at least two different medications subcutaneously – meaning just under the skin. The needles are short. Having my eyebrows threaded every couple weeks is WAY worse 🙂 My favorite part of this process was forcing Yan to watch. It completely freaked him out and I definitely dramatized the pain. I considered this my revenge for the fact that for women IVF is a bitch of a process. Men have no idea.How the medications affected me, however, was another story. Manic is the best word to describe it. The first week, I felt great. Bloated sure, but great. I was happy. I went shopping and bought way too many clothes. I explained to Yan later that this was due to the increase in estrogen levels (although it also could have been due to the fact that the Summer ’17 collection at Joie was pretty cute this year 🙂

    The next week things quickly went south. My mood tanked. The smallest annoyance or frustration would cause me to break down and cry. While I was completely in love with Yan the week before, this week I wanted to murder him. Poor Yan. Even Sonya noticed the drastic mood shift. To this day, she continuously asks me “Mama are you happy?” I wish I could have hid my emotions better.

  3. The retrieval especially was tough. This was the first time I had gone under full anesthesia, so I didn’t know what to expect. I cried as soon as I woke up from the pain. The nurses administered some kind of narcotic that helped. I was up and walking a few hours later but still incredibly sad. It took about two weeks for the hormone levels to stabilize. Worse still was the fact that I was bloated for a month after retrieval. I looked six months pregnant and felt I had nothing to show for it.
  4. The odds are not in your favor. At my retrieval, I was thrilled to learn I had produced 23 eggs. An excellent number. Of those, 19 were successfully fertilized, nine embryos survived the five day mark, and a month later learned none – not a one – were normal. As you can imagine, we were heartbroken. I blamed myself. I thank God that I had such amazing support from Yan, my family (especially my mom and Yan’s mom who both flew to New York to take care of us during the cycle and after the retrieval), and above all, a beautiful and smart Sonya already in my world. I don’t know how I would have coped without them.
  5. A healthy pregnancy truly is a miracle. The most important takeaway for me was the realization that while healthy babies are born every day, each one is truly a miracle. I don’t think I truly understood that until enduring a failed IVF cycle. I’ll never forget it.

 

In much happier news – Sonya is now riding her scooter like a pro! Even better, the Bern helmet is awesome. She hears everything with it!

 

Hearing Loss and Cerebral Palsy: What Parents Need to Know

Sonya’s hearing loss is non-syndromic, meaning it has no other symptoms aside from hearing loss, but for many children this is not the case. Alex Diaz-Granados, an editor at Cerebralpalsyguidance.com (an amazing resource for parents of children with cerebral palsy – by the way) lives with cerebral palsy. He penned the below guest column, which resonated deeply with me, and I hope for you too. Despite a different diagnosis, parent education and connecting with other families has been critical for us – and it’s why I started this blog!

Hearing Loss and Cerebral Palsy: What Parents Need to Know
By Alex Diaz-Granados

Studies have found that the rate of hearing loss in children born with cerebral palsy can be as high as 13 percent. For parents, to find that your child not only has this neurological condition, but also has complications like loss of hearing, is a pretty big blow. Hearing loss is just one of the possible complications of cerebral palsy, but it is a common one. Here are some important steps to take after your child gets this diagnosis:

Learn everything you can about your child’s hearing loss
Knowledge is power and the more you know, the more you can help your child. Children with cerebral palsy who also have hearing loss have one of two types:

  • Conductive hearing loss means that sounds cannot get through the ear canal from the outer to inner ear. There is some kind of blockage or a problem with the ear bones. This is sometimes also called glue ear or otitis media with effusion because it often occurs with fluid buildup.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is a problem with the auditory nerve or the hairs in the inner ear.

Either type of hearing loss may range from mild to severe. Mild cases of conductive hearing loss may clear up, but may also be corrected with surgery. The damage that causes sensorineural hearing loss is permanent, but hearing can be improved with hearing aids and cochlear implants in many cases.

Talk to your pediatrician about treatment options and specialists
Reading up on everything you can about hearing loss is a great first step. Armed with that knowledge, you can then discuss with your pediatrician what your options are. You will likely need to take your child to one or more specialists, so find out what your pediatrician recommends and get started on appointments with audiologists, otolaryngologists, and others. The sooner you find out the kind of treatment your child will benefit from, the sooner you can implement it and help him hear better or learn to live with a hearing deficit.

Reach out and talk to other parents
Talking to other parents of children with hearing loss is so important in coming to terms with your child’s hearing loss and cerebral palsy. Reaching out for information and support from the people who have already been through what you are experiencing is so powerful. A quick search online will turn up support groups for parents and families of children with disabilities, including hearing loss. Join a group and start asking questions. You’ll get plenty of good advice, and more importantly, the sense that you can do this and that your family is not alone in this struggle.

Remember that your child is a child first
When you keep in mind that your kid is just a kid, like any other, you can better teach him not to let his disability define him. He may have hearing loss, but first and foremost he is a kid who will learn, grow, and explore. It’s up to you how you guide him as he grows, and how much emphasis you place on his disability. If you teach him not to be limited by it, he won’t be.

About the author:  Alex was born premature in a Miami hospital in 1963. He suffered irreversible brain damage when a nurse in the hospital’s maternity ward forgot to turn on the oxygen supply. He has overcome many physical and emotional obstacles. He currently serves as editor at cerebralpalsyguidance.com and as a freelance writer for Examiner.com.

Thank you, Alex, for sharing this valuable information!!