So now that N.S. has had his new devices for over two months, I thought I would check in with family, friends and teachers to see how they thought he was hearing and how his speech production was coming along. I sent an email to family (they all live out of town) and his teachers. I was most interested in what the Speech-Language pathologist thought as she has worked with N. S. at the school for the previous two school years. Here are a few excerpts of what people thought:
“I would agree that he is hearing well. When I use the lapel microphone he hears me and responds even when he is walking down the hall in front of me (his back to me). During therapy, I used to always be sure to sit right next to him and now he seems to hear me whether I am next to him or if there is another student between us! His production of the final “st” blends during therapy is much better now too, so I am not sure if that is because he can hear those voiceless sounds better or just because of drill and practice – or maybe a combination of both”.
“Overall, based on informal observation, I would say these devices are really making a difference”!
(Keep in mind their experiences with N.S. are over the telephone or with Skype/Facetime).
“He seems to be hearing us so much better and we don’t have to repeat ourselves as often”.
“He is speech is so much clearer and easier to understand. He sounds more like A.S. (big brother)”.
“N.S. really seems to be hearing a lot better these days”.
“N.S’s behavior really seems to be improving”.
I agree with all of the above. N.S. has become easier to understand and at this point I would say most anyone who listens to him can understand most of what is being said. Yes, there are still delays in his speech production and communication, but we continue to work on those at home and school. The hope is to longer need these services.
The next biggest improvement we are seeing as a family is N.S’s behavior. N.S. has been prone to temper tantrums and a lot of the time it revolved around his inability to hear and/or understand what has been said to him. At one point this past year, his Speech-Language Pathologist, through evaluations, estimated his language development/production to be similar to that of a 3 year old. N.S. was four and a half at the time. Since the new devices, the tantrums occur much less often and he will stop to listen (not every time, but more often). And as noted above with anecdotal observations, his production has improved.
N.S. has his next IEP (Individualized Education Plan) meeting for school in February. I am looking forward to seeing the progress he has made in the past year and to hear from his Speech-Language Pathologist how much the new hearing devices have been instrumental in that progress.