Thursday, September 23, 2010

Audiograms and puretone

   Yesterday we were with a big ENT surgeon who specializes in CI and we were there for testing her hearing. I am very sure that I do not want to do surgery but would like to wait for maybe stem cell in future.We got her aided audiogram done and we were very depressed with the results.Prisha's gain is not too good on the hearing aid and that means she is not hearing too well.But our hard work and her willingness to work has given us the results so far. But she does strain for listening and does talk loudly. The audiologist in India did make a mess for reasons of her own and she refused to do anything further when we went to her. She had been after me to get her implanted and has fingered with her levels of hearing aids. I was scared to go back as I did not want to mess it up further.She is known to be a crook and she is the only one who has the latest technology and we were dependent on her. We had asked her in the past to give us the printouts of Prisha's HA levels for our reference and she has always denied to give.I have always felt she has been cheating us but cannot fight it out for the simple reason that I depend on her for HA services. The helplessness was always killing.But through hard work, Prisha has been auditorily trained. She had told me that her aids have been given maximum gain and nothing can be done further and out of sheer helplessness we have just survived so far. Once here, we were looking for answers.But after yesterday, I was so depressed as the doc told us that nothing further was possible and only best hearing was possible through CI.But I am very keen to continue with HAs. So we took our quest further and decided to look for audiologist instead of seeing a surgeon. We contacted the Siemens HA cetre and through them we came across a company which has centres across the country.At there center , I was so amazed at the facilities. She told us that the kids centre was elsewhere and she is fixing our appointment with them as soon as possible.She checked her aids, looked for the settings and we asked her if it was possible to increase the volume in the right ear which has good hearing. She increased it by 1db and was surprised to see Prisha's instant reaction. She suddenly softened down, was hearing better and answered the 5 ling test too very well! The lady gave us printouts of all her levels of her HA original as well as after the 1db change too.I was so happy and sighed with relief as I knew we were in the right place after looking around for 1 month now.In the car too Prisha was not straining to listen while I talked from the front seat and she was happy too.I was so upset about my audiologist in Pune  telling lies to me that nothing more could be done.Here with just 1 db change, she was so happy. We need to check her entire frequency range and see how best we can work on her to get better hearing so she is comfortable and is able to function better.In India, I was so helpless but here I got a few answers. We hope to get our problem solved soon. According to the audiologist in Pune and the surgeon here, the change in HA    cannot be adjusted in the speech banana.But the audiologist here is sure that we could better it and get good help.Things look suddenly nice after a long time.I ate a big breakfast and slept well after this.Soon we should have some good reasons to smile when Prisha is doing very well in school.Yesterday, she broke a word herself to read it by herself using phonics (jump).I was so happy and had tears streaming down.Hopefully her issues in school would get resolved soon.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Phonics for reading

    Have been doing my part of the job for Prisha for increasing her vocabulary - reading. But I needed to understand the way she is being taught in school too, specially English and Maths. So had a word with her teacher as I wanted a feedback on how she is doing in school.Here there is no homework, unlike in India and so since nothing comes home, I have no clue on what to teach her and reinforce what is being taught in school. She told me Prisha is doing great in music, drama,art, German,P.E.( physical exercise) but somewhere she is having problem in English.She is not able to write down what is being talked about.I got it. Till now she had not started to write in India on her own. The whole style is different. Here they break down the words and write with the help of phonics. In India, it was more of the teacher giving and we coping and then slowly learning to read by writing simple things. Not so much focus on phonics.So the issue is not so much of HEARING, more to do with different style of learning. Part of me was relieved and a part of me said " how to go about it, its an uphill climb".Time is going by and i want her to catch up with her class mates.So more focus on phonics and we need to encourage her to listen to the words , break them and then be able to write them on her own.Phew, tough task it seems for my little girl.But then all this needs to be covered. Target is 2 months, we give to ourselves to get her to start reading by herself and make her own sentences and write.So the whole family has decided to pitch in. Hubby dear is going to give a little time, I read to her and my son would do some word construction on whatever we see around us on the way to school, after school and at home and outside.My girl is very supportive and never says no. I love the way she is holding up strong and is cooperating with us and giving her total time and attention. Reward.......30 mins playtime on the school playground after school (she loves it and I decided to stay back for her), PSP time 10 mins each day and loads of love n hugs from mum. Sounds like a whole package.
Tomorrow we also have our appointment at the new clinic where we have been earlier to her aided audiogram and to get her puretone audiogram too. We would know, hopefully how much her aids are helping her.She has been conditioned very well and I just hope we get the best of results.I am hoping so as she has been able to identify Hindi diphthongs very well which are very difficult.She has been able to do the 6 ling tests well too.Hopefully her aids are tuned to the best settings.I would know how good my audiologist in India was.( She does not have a good reputation and is known to do anything to get money).So a BIG day for all of us tomorrow.need all th luck.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Listen, understand , speak

    Prisha has been finding it difficult to understand this new system of education here. In India, the kids got lesson books and the teacher gave questions and answers which the kids learned. In Maths too the lessons had loads of practice and there were typical style of teaching. Here the style is very different. the kids have to apply logic, think and understand the topic or unit for the week or month.She was finding it difficult to express herself.She was unable to put words to her thoughts on how she came to a solution or came to a conclusion.The HOWs and WHYs are abstract and as she has no practice of for eg, how she knows there are 20 circles.She got the answer correct but the language to explain the method has to be worked upon.Her vocabulary needs to be expanded and we need to make her think more.So we have 3 strategies to make life a little simpler.
1)Listen carefully,understand, think and speak -in that order.She needs to pay attention to what is being said, think and understand and then speak up.
2)Ask, ask ,ask if she does not get what she is hearing.She would give explanation if she asked her doubts.The accent is different and so sometimes she does have a problem with a few people and so ask again.
3)Read ,read ,read.We are really reading and trying to use as many new words as we can in our lives.We have joined the library for story telling sessions once a week too to understand and get used to the accent. i would explain if she does not get some thing there.
      We hope to achieve something in a few months. Need to motivate ourselves constantly and keep working.The teacher has agreed to update me more on what is happening in the class.The speech therapist in school would work on her phonics 15 mins everyday till the October break.Lets see if she does more after that.A friend's son would help me to understand what is happening in the class too.So lots of positive thoughts and actions should make our journey in this new school more even.Keeping my fingers crossed.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

More and more

       Since Prisha has a new system to follow in school , very different from what she did  back in India, we decided to help her at home to focus on THINKING. The teachers are more focused about the HOWs and the WHYs and so she needs to think of those and then put her answers in language. Hmmmmm ......a lot for her since she did get ignored a lot by me this year with all my German exams and then the relocation and associated jobs that came with it.She does get stuck at places, 1) she is trying to understand what the teacher is saying along with the accent 2) she is trying to put into words into place as she does get overwhelmed.She knows why 5 is bigger than 2 but why and how she needs to think and she just stops doing that as no one in India asked this in school.I too was a bit overwhelmed the other day and thought about it a lot. Well , came to the conclusion, she needs more language input from me. The day to day language is there but that is never enough. Somewhere when we see the kid is getting her way around things and is able to communicate in day to day activities, we to get a bit chilled out , not realizing that with her the input has to be constant and continuous. As she has just started her 1st grade and she needs to increase her vocabulary and understand things and new words which only come to her with constant use. In daily life we do not come across too many situations and activities and so to do that , I need to bring those situations to her through the world of BOOKS.Beg, borrow steal!!
        So here we go! A book daily from her class teacher's library, where the stories are very simple and few sentences which by the end of one reading , she is able to read by herself. We focus on new words, concepts and I associate them with her daily life or give examples from our environment to make her really GET IT.Then 2 times in 9 days she gets to pick her 2 books from the library, the stories are more abstract according to me, as she sees the color of the book and gets them home , more than the content. And no points for guessing the color.....PINK!!! I am surprised at HOW do all girls like PINK!!! Then every week end we get to pick up at least 10 books and CDs from the school library , but I am realistic, we borrow 2.
          So we read to her as much as we can.I am trying to use various new words and bring them into our daily use. I am planning on putting up a big poster on the fridge and add our daily new words on it, so we can use it more often.....more a reminder to this lazy mum.I am actually getting a little tired with the hectic pick up and drop to school.But we need to do what we need to do! She is joining 2 after school activities, ballet and story telling. The teacher there was very helpful as he said he knows it would help Prisha and so would give her preference!! Thank you Mr. Owen for that.Though she loves the way I tell stories, I am keen she joins that so she would have more exposure to the accent and the way stories they tell them.I wish though, he was a bit louder.but I am sure we would find a way around it. She LOOOVVVES ballet!! She loves the dress and the feminine moves and the feeling of being as pretty as the princess.O, she loves it and so do I love seeing her trying to copy her teacher.I picked up a CD on ballet from school this week end and my God , has she ever seen a CD so many times!! She has just ben practicing the moves and since it is an inter active CD, I am happy when she responds to the teacher.So she is understanding what is being spoken on TV.She is also watching the school website where there is a site for kids to practice Math and English in a fun way. So we are all looking at things positively and hoping that this learning experience is going to do lots for her.Though at times I do get a bit low thinking how I would do it, but then this is a one way tunnel.I want to do it with full spirits and do it to the best of my ability and make my little girl a very happy and prosperous young woman.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Prisha goes to school in Germany

All set for the new school

First day at school
In class
      Last month has been so full of my settling in the new place new home and in 2 days it was also school time, that I had no time to write on my blog.I am so glad, today I am updating it , weather is just right to sit at home and write.The cold  and the rain  and coffee just put me in the mood.
     Prisha started school on 12th Aug and we had no idea what we could expect. We all were very excited at the newness of it.It is a long day and Prisha went happily and after 4 months of being home, home felt empty with both my kids away for a good 7 hrs.In the evening she looked fine and the teacher wanted to see me the next morning. I was a bit worried as I did not know what to expect.The next morning at school Prisha started to cry as she didn't want to go.A promise of a surprise waiting at home fixed that.But I got concerned and felt that Prisha was finding it hard to understand what others are talking as the accent is very different and there are people from so many countries.She was finding it difficult to make friends too as some don't speak             English at all.So I was prepared with my concerns too to meet Mrs.Hunt, her teacher.
     Mrs. Hunt wanted to understand a bit more about Prisha. She thought that she was not hearing well in the class and maybe Prisha needs to lip read.I told her that since all this was new to her, she would take time to adjust.Also she needed to sit closer to her and also NO LIP READING.She is auditorily trained and did not need signs and lip reading.She said Prisha was not responding to her name being called too a couple of times.I told her that since she is new , she was more interested in knowing what was really happeneing around her with her kids next to her. Assured her that I would have a word with Prisha.I also mentioned about her not being out when it rained and she not being cold and wet as the cold aquired leads to ear infection if not treated early.So she needed to be as dry and warm as possible.Explained to her about battery change as Prisha is equipped with that knowledge too.The meeting went well and I too happy to have quick rapport with the teacher.
    The school nurse too wanted me to update her with all her issues.I told her all the issues and she said she would inform other teachers too about her requirement about being closer to the teacher and if they had issues , we would solve together.I was happy to get positive input from them as in India , I needed to do things myself and not much support was there from school.
Next 2 weeks have gone by when I have observed what she did in school.She sang out her German rhymes where she was learning numbers and little poems.She has been singing them away , though a few words here and there need to be cleared and that is happeneing slowly.So a new language and I love it when she tells me what a few words means!`Like this morning, in the shower ,she sang a number rhyme and then she said...schlafen.....Mum, schlafen means go to sleep.Her German teacher mailed in to tell me she was bright and there were no issues.I was happy.She gets one story book from school every day which we have been reading and talking about it.Drama class feedback too was good.Music class is great too as she sang out with perfect intonation but words needed to be clear here and there.The rest is well.She loves school and i am happy about it.
      Yesterday Mrs. Hunt wanted to see me again this morning.She said the nurse wanted to meet me.I went a bit uneasy again and was a bit worked up.The nurse needed her aided audiogram to know her level of hearing with aids for records and there were no complaints from teachers about her hearing, she laughed looking at my concerned face.
      Today had a meeting with the class teacher and she said that Prisha would require a little support from school to bring her to the level at which they were teaching. I could understand it as in India the styles are different and it was more rote the emphasis was much on thinking and putting into words, where she sometimes is not able to or gets stuck somewhere.So she needed my permission to add her into a support class and maybe a little work with speech therapist to get her used to the accent and aid her speech.I thought that would be great as any extra work from school would not only help Prisha pick up more, it would give me a chance to work better with Prisha.she is a quick learner but she needs to leave her shyness away a bit and open up with the teacher.Also in Maths too she said she knew for eg, 5 is bigger than 2 but "how" she came to that ,she was not able to express. Maybe Prisha was not prepared for this kind of questioning as back in India , we were never asked in school about it and so did not know how to put across this.Since I too am new to this system, I asked her what she would expect, she said some kids say they counted, some showed them how. But Prisha was not able to.So I need to work on that.She could count the 20 circles and say they were 20 of them, but how did she know that they were 20, she fell short on that. The simple answer could be like said I counted, or I counted in pairs, or she could put dots on them and said they were 20 or even if she wrote on each circle the number would be fine. So need to work on it. the systems are different and has nothing to do with hearing loss.She listens to her name very well after I told her about it.The teacher has no complains and said she was bright and just needed support.I am happy about it and I hope they would add me on in those classes too as I could then work from home for her.She is now going to update me each week and also give extra work from school to give practice to her.I am looking forward to this work and hope to see Prisha at a much different level from where she is in a years time.She is already very confident, I see a vast change in her in 3 weeks of school.So more to come.