Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Ears and Eyes

Well, we have officially been home one month (and two days)!!  Monday Rooster had his first audiology appointment, which was the first appointment I was actually looking forward to!  It went exactly how I was told it would go, so that was good.  The audiologist is super nice, she is definitely my favorite so far (except for our family doctor of course!!).  First she took pictures of the inside of his ears to make sure there was no fluid to affect the tests.  Then she hooked him up to a computer and did some other test.  After that we went into the booth where they do an actual hearing test.  Jason went with me for this appointment, and he was not a fan of the booth at all!  First of all, it's a sound proof room, with a door that is like a vaccuum.  So there is pressure in there, like in an airplane.  I didn't notice it, but he did.  Then they do the testing.  She started off by conditioning him to respond to sound using a vibrator he held in his hand.  When the machine made a sound he could feel it, then he was to put a block in the box.  He thought this was really fun and understood what to do.  Once she was sure he understood, she tried it with the vibrator on his head.  Basically, the sound should register on his skull as a vibration if he were able to hear it.  But he didn't respond to that at all, even at the strongest setting.  And he didn't like it.  So she took that off and put these ear plug like things into his ears that emitted lovely sounds.  The lower frequencies we couldn't really hear, but the higher ones were not very easy on the ears.  Poor Jason with his sensitive ears did not enjoy the experience at all!!  But again, even at the loudest setting, James had no reaction.  Once at the beginning of that part of the test, it seemed like he heard something because he put a block in the box.  But after that there was nothing.  So the decision was, he is definitely very deaf!  Now the next step is an ABR test, which is a hearing test done under sedation.  We were fortunate that there had been a cancellation, because they only do these on Fridays, and only 3 per day.  We go this Friday!  After that test, they will determine what kind of hearing aids to give him and we will do a trial period with those and see if he gets any benefit from them.  (On a side note, we really need to get him enrolled in Medical Assistance, because that is who pays for the hearing aids.  But no one seems to know if we actually can, since the adoption is not yet finalized.)  If he does, great!  If not, we can pursue cochlear implants, which would include more testing to see if he is a candidate.  This is something we would definitely want to do, if hearing aids don't work.  Don't get me wrong.  I chose my son because he is deaf.  I'm not trying to "fix" him.  And if nothing will help him, so be it.  But if we can get him some hearing, that's good too.
Next thing: today we saw the opthamologist.  James came to us with glasses that he never wore/wears, and some prescriptions from an eye doctor he saw last July that Diane never did anything with.  After we waited FOREVER for the actual doctor, he checked him out and said that all in all his eyes are healthy.  He has a very slight astigmatism in both eyes, but not enough to need glasses.  He also has a little bit of a lazy eye in his left eye.  But again, it's not severe, so he said to just watch it and bring him back in a year.  It might be more of a problem when he's a little older and learning to read, as close up is when it starts to drift.  But until then, it shouldn't really affect him.  So that was all good news.  Also, when the assistant was doing some initial testing with him, I was pleasantly surprised to find that he really can match things!  She gave him a card with 4 letters on it, all boxed in with lines.  On a tv screen across the room she would show a letter and he was supposed to point to the letter on the card.  And he did it right every time!  At least until it got really small.  I was shocked and very happy!
Earlier today I was working on sorting with him (thanks Emily!) with colored pompoms from our craft box.  He wasn't getting it, so I had Liana do it and him watch.  Then we tried again and he still wouldn't/couldn't do it.  So I put one in my hand and told him to pick up all the ones of that color and put them in my hands.  THAT he could do.  But I did have to keep refocusing him on the task, and he did not want to finish all the colors.  But he did finish, so that was good.  We'll try again tomorrow having him sort them himself.  And we will try matching again too, now that I know he can do it.
Tomorrow we go back to the dentist, which is good because I think his one molar and one other tooth are bothering him.  I think the molar is affecting his eating a little bit, so I'm going to make sure that one gets fixed tomorrow.
And speaking of eating, I decided to try Liana on a gluten free diet, just to see if it makes a difference in her stomach aches.  We have one more whole week before we get some answers from her scope, and I feel like I should at least try something.  It was an interesting day, finding things for her to eat, and she had Rainbows tonight where they have snack.  I had her bring fruit snacks for everyone so she would have something she could have.  But they also had cookies and her teachers were very good about not letting her have them until I got there.  And I didn't let her, obviously, which resulted in some tears.  But they ended quickly, even though she did voice her displeasure and tell me that it's not fun or fair that she couldn't have them.  I'm really really really hoping gluten is not the cause.  It will not be a fun transition for her or me if we do have to go gluten free forever.  But we will survive if it is :)

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