Even with all the love and support that we had for our journey, I really don't think that I would've been able to get through this year without our arsenal of resources that we put together. From our surgical team to Christian's SLPs, we've been able to get many different perspectives, and answers on our journey.
If you're reading this and you think your child may have a hearing loss, please open up a new window and search google for your county's Early Intervention phone number. Call and request an evaluation for your child. Your Early Intervention team will be one of your greatest tools with helping your child. In addition to providing services for Christian, our EI team always was available to answer any and all questions for us. Our TOD, the Divine Miss M, has become part of our family. She's cheered us on every step of the way from hearing aid fittings, the CI candidacy, the surgery, activation, and even his first day of his school. As our EI teacher, she helped me with all of his equipment, gave me many tools and ideas of therapy activities to do at home, and spent every minute while she was here maximizing Christian's language.
The Implant Center
When we decided to pursue Christian's CI, I kept hearing from other parents how lucky we were to live where we do. There's no question about it-Johns Hopkins is one of the leading centers not just in this country, but in the world. Hopkins gave us access to the best surgical team out there. Our CI audiologist actually co-authored the chapter on Cochlear Implants in the Choices in Deafness book (for all you hearies out there, that became my bible, as it usually does with most newly diagnosed families). It's THE place to go. Having an Implant Center that your can count on not just for your child's mapping, but to also help you through the whole process is beyond important. It's an essential key to success.
The Cochlear Implant Community
Not only was Christian the first person I really ever met who was deaf, he also was the first person in my life to have a Cochlear Implant. Luckily, through several amazing sites, including CiCircle, I was able to connect with other parents of children with CIs, and even adults who wore had them as well. The group of parents and adult users that I have met online have not only been a wonderful support for my family, but also an AMAZING resource for us. Through their blogs and the list-serv, I've had virtually any and every question regarding life with a CI answered. Need to know how to get sand out of a microphone? They can tell you? What about the plastic slide debate? They sure have their opinions? What about keeping it dry in the summer? They'll give you lots of options? How about keeping it attached to clothing? They have tried everything, and will give you what worked for their family. While I've connected with so many families and adults, I'd like to thank Erin's Mom, Drew's Mom, Amazing Val, Mom to Gage and Brook, and the Amazing Jodi, Mom to Jordan. Val and Jodi, you and your kids give me so much inspiration. Abbie and Rachel, your perspective as adult users is so valuable, and I love following you and cheering you both on as you soar with your CIs.
We knew that we needed Christian to maximize his language post-implantation. When we found his school, we knew we hit the jackpot when it came to programs for CI kids. I could write a 350 page book just on how fabulous this place has been. The attention, the detail, and the support that they provide to Christian is absolutely fabulous. Not only did we find a place where he "fit", we also found a place that could support us as a family on our journey with Christian.