CI Activation

Monday, August 27, 2012

First Day of School

No tears, only smiles and words of excitement from the kids about the first day of school. I only teared up when I walked away from Sidney's locker this morning.

Sidney gave the day a 9.5 out of 10. She made a couple of new friends and was able to reconnect with a friend from church camp during recess. She jumped right into her new school environment and didn't miss a beat. Mama bear was worried all Sunday and today for nothing!

Thomas was quite anxious for the bus following an early lunch late this morning (as you can see from this photo). His auditory/oral inclusion class has 9 hearing peers and 1 bilateral CI kiddo. I received a call from his TOD after school to tell me that Thomas jumped right back into the classroom and was ready to make new friends. The best comment EVER that she told me today...If you didn't know Thomas and walked into the classroom today, you wouldn't know that he is hearing impaired.

Big smile from mama bear and a HUGE thank you to our Lord above...He has covered us with more blessings than I can count...we will stay on His path, not ours; and keep faith in His direction.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Simple Question...

Cook Children's Rehab is doing a promotion during Rehab Week. So, the cert-AVTs asked parents to answer one simple question and provide a photograph of their child.

The question was this:

What are some accomplishments your child has made/done by having a cochlear implant you thought he/she would never do?

I thought about this question long and hard for several days. While the question seemed quite straightforward, I struggled with defining Thomas' accomplishments without writing a diatribe. I couldn't pinpoint "some accomplishments" without those accomplishments leading to ten others.

So, here is what I wrote:

Following activation just over 3-years ago, we had one simple goal for Thomas. Sean and I wanted Thomas to be a typical child. Today, he is that typical child and so much more. He is a 4-year old that loves to argue with his sister, thrives on negotiating nearly everything, adores going to school and learning new things, holds many friendships dear to his heart, and wants to play every possible sport. So, his greatest accomplishment is being "normal." No, he is exceptional, just with bionic ears.

And, this was the accompanying photo:

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Happy Hearing Birthday, My Crazy Boy!

I can't believe that it has been three years since Thomas first heard with his CI. While it seems like just yesterday in many ways, it also feels like an eternity with countless AVT sessions, speech therapy, OT for his sensory processing challenges and three changes in schools to find the best fit for him.

Three years ago today, this is where we were:

Just seeing him turn to the sound of the initial beeps made my heart soar with hope, anticipation and pure joy. Prior to surgery and activation, he went from having roughly 17 words to 2, Mama and Dada. EVA/LVAS is a wicked diagnosis! Witnessing Thomas lose virtually all of his hearing in his right ear was devastating to say the least. On activation day, all that changed...the hard work to get him to truly listen and speak with new technology began to take hold, mold us, change us...forever!

Today, we are all in a completely different place. Thomas isn't just saying 17 words. He is saying 17 words in a single utterance. For example, just today he asked me about our playing with some friends tomorrow. He asked, "Mom, are Cydney and Allie coming over to our house tomorrow? Or are we going over to their house to play?" These are the words of a "typical hearing 4-year old" not one that just truly began hearing 3 years ago.

Thomas is testing at or above his hearing peers across the various testing areas. While he still has lots of work to do before going to kindergarden next year, he is making HUGE progress, learning new concepts, terms and self-advocacy He is also suppose to be discharged from AVT at the end of the summer, although I'll keep pushing to have Ms. Becky still see him every two weeks.

Sidney, his sister, is more accepting of Thomas and his challenges. She is no longer jealous of the time that I have to spend with him. She is a typical 10-year old that doesn't want to play therapy games. I have to remind myself that this type of behavior out of 10-year old is normal. Just to accept that fact and keep praying that God will keep her from turning into a teenager before I'm ready (if I ever will be ready).

Sean and I are in a very good place. We don't really see Thomas' technology, only seeing it to make sure that it is on his ears. He is our son. Our amazing son. Our son that is hearing impaired in one ear and deaf in the other...this won't define him in our eyes. We expect greatness from Thomas...we expect the world...I simply can't wait to see where we will all be three years from now...only God knows...for now I'll be thankful for what we have and eager for the future.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

No Hands, Broken Ears

Recently, we went to our local grocery store to pick up a few things. At check out, Thomas had a quick conversation with the person that sacked our groceries. Not out of the ordinary for Thomas to strike-up a conversation with a stranger, but this stranger didn't have any hands...and he was sacking our groceries...without any hands.

Thomas: "What happened to your hands?"

Sacker: "When I was young, I got sick and the doctors had to remove my hands."

Thomas: "Oh, that's not good."

Sacker: "What happened to your ears?"

Thomas: "This is my implant and my hearing aid (turning his head to show the sacker). They help me hear. My ears are broken."

Sacker: "Oh, they are pretty cool."

Thomas: "Yep, you are pretty cool, too."

Sacker: "Thanks. See you next time."

Thomas: "Okay, see you next time."

A pretty cool conversation between a young man with no hands and a "medium kid" (as Thomas calls himself)with broken ears.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

An Overdue Update

I can't believe that it has been months since I posted an update. While I was away from writing, we sold our house, bought a new house, moved, ended the school year and had our last tee-ball game of the season. Oh...and we had our IEP goals negotiated and agreed to, met as a team during two ARD meetings to finalize everything, and are now prepared for next year. Lastly, Sidney had her 10th birthday...yep, she has it her double digits!

The House The Lord blessed us abundantly by allowing us to sell our house in two and a half weeks. We bought the second house that we saw, just 8 miles away from our previous house. It was important for us to find a house that had a family-friendly layout, everything else we knew that could change over time. This house is definitely a fixer-upper with blue cabinets in the kitchen, wood laminate floors in the study and dining room, and a outdated fireplace, and an golden oak banister up the stairs. It will take us years, maybe decades, to update it. However, it is located on a court street, has a pool and hot tub, and a flat driveway for our new basketball goal.

A quick story...When I drove up to the house for the first time to view it, I noticed that a 'deaf child area' sign just a few houses down. No way that you can tell me that this wasn't a sign from God. Unfortunately, the family with the deaf child moved a couple of years ago. Super bummed that our little man wouldn't have another deaf child on the street. Alas, there are plenty of normal hearing peers on the street. Can't wait for some cooler weather so we can get out front and make some new friends. Some pics from our first few weeks in the house...

Thomas, the prince of the pool, on his new float

Sidney, our bathing beauty

Sean and the kids in our new tent...even though it is located in the playroom and not outside :-)

Thomas and is wonderful swim teacher, Ms. Kathryn

The School Year Sidney ended fourth grade and will be heading to intermediate school next year. I found myself wondering how this happened. How could she already be out of elementary school? She was just born yesterday, right? Thomas ended his mainstream preschool year two weeks earlier than Sidney. We were so blessed this year with two AMAZING teachers at First Baptist. Thomas learned so much from them and made some very dear friends. Unfortunately, he won't be going back next year because of what I learned during his IEP meeting...

IEP Meeting During our IEP meeting, I learned that Birdville ISD is providing an inclusion model for their auditory/oral class next year. This means that Thomas will have 17 other kids in his class with the majority of them being normal hearing peers. Can I get a woohoo! He will receive the same number of minutes of speech therapy AND 45 minutes a day of pull-out instruction from his amazing TOD. So, Sean and I decided to put him in this new program five days a week, rather than having him go between the auditory/oral school and his mainstream preschool. We think that this will be an excellent opportunity for him to make an easy transition to mainstream kindergarden year after next.

Another quick we began our IEP meeting, the Thomas' SLP, Ms. S, said how much she loves our little man and how much he LOVES to learn. His TOD, Ms. H, began her portion of the meeting saying that Thomas is the only 4-year old that she knows who knows all 50 states, their locations and several capitols. I can't take credit for teaching these to him. He learned them by playing the stack the states app on his iPad. He has also started to learn many countries and the continents. She also said that he was ready for kindergarden now. I'm still thankful that he has one more year of preK because I want him more advanced than his normal hearing classmates. Coming into next year, Thomas has 26, yes that's a 2 and a 6 together, IEP goals. They include academic, speech, language and theory of mind goals. The development of these goals was a collaboration between his SLP, TOD, our new communications consultant provided by Cook Children's and myself. It was an awesome process with everyone working together. Definitely another area of life where we saw the hand of God at work. It was so cool!

Coming Up This summer will give us lots of time for fun activities...a week at the beach in Florida with my mother and my sister's family, a long weekend in Arkansas to see my parents, grandmother and my brother's family. Two acting camps, Super Heroes and Cars 2, at Texas Creative Arts Academy for Thomas. A week of church camp and a make-up and costume camp for Sidney. A visit by the my sister and her family to Texas in August. And, loads more swimming. Finally, we will be preparing for discharge from Cook Children's AVT, Ms. Becky, because Thomas is testing at or above his hearing peers. I keep trying to tell Ms. Becky that I don't want to discuss discharge until September. However, she keeps preparing me to let go at every AVT session that we have. Speaking of which, we have a therapy session with her in an hour. So, I'm gonna scoot off the blog...I just promise that it won't be this long again between posts.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spring Break

Sean and I took the kids to Galveston Island for several days to get away from all the stress of school, selling the house, just life in general. We had an AMAZING time!

The kids were packed and ready to go to "Galveston California Texas Beach" according to Thomas.

Our little man pretty much knows all his beach/pool language. So we struggled with what language to add coming up with words like: hot tub, seaweed, condo, balcony, and get this one...crustacean! We found a spot with tiny little shells one morning when we went shell hunting. Come to find out that the shells still had little creatures inside of them because when you touch them, these tiny tentacles (or something of the like) slipped back into the shells. This was such a cool AVT opportunity for us while having fun on the beach.

Something that he even started to pick up while we were gone is asking the question, "What does that mean?" Love the fact that he is truly learning to advocate for himself when he doesn't know a word or concept...AWESOME!

Here are some pictures from our trip...we cannot wait to return for more family fun!

View from the balcony.

God smiling down on us during sunrise one morning.

Hot tub fun!

Relaxing on the lazy river.

Shell hunting, jumping in the waves and the crustacean find.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Proud Polygon Parents

Thomas was selected as a Proud Panther at WA Porter Elementary, his oral preschool, because he shows the virtue of honesty. Here is what his AWESOME teacher wrote about our little man...

"Thomas Golden demonstrates the virtue of honestly each and every day. He is very reliable; and when he commits to something he always follows through. You can count on him to be truthful in all situations and does this by using his big voice and listening to others. Thomas is kind and caring and is always fair to those around him."

Thomas had a great time this morning receiving his award during the Proud Panther ceremony. He received his award from the school counselor and got his picture taken with "Honest Owl" and the other award recipients.

On another "P" word note, Thomas got home from his oral preschool on Wednesday and was proud to show me what a polygon is and what attributes make it such a shape. Here is a quick picture of what his teacher sent home so I could understand the lesson and ask Thomas more questions about the day. Really at four years old he knows what a polygon is? I had to look it up quickly on the Internet to make sure that I asked him appropriate questions. :-)

Proud Panther + Polygon = Proud Polygon Parents

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Awesome Teacher!

I was in the throws of my long to-do list in an effort to get the house ready to go on the market when I got a call from Thomas' new mainstream preschool teacher. My heart sank a little because I thought that something was wrong, maybe that Thomas hasn't been performing well during class. I took a deep breath and we began our quick conversation.

I guess because she knew that I would probably expect to hear something negative, the first words out of her mouth were "Thomas is such a joy. I really love having him in my class. He's just wonderful. I'm not calling you to say that anything is wrong." My heart came back up to regular level. She went on to say that she was just thinking about the end of the year school performance when Thomas' class will sing four songs in English and one song in Spanish. She wanted to simply call me to discuss how to make sure that Thomas has a great performance and feels comfortable with the music.

Really? A teacher was calling me way-way in advance of a performance to make sure that she and the music teacher do everything they can so that Thomas is successful? Really? Why was I for a second considering keeping him in his former mainstream preschool? Is this teacher for real?

Yep, she is an awesome teacher. She is going to give me a CD with the music and copies of all the lyrics in the next couple of weeks so Thomas and I can begin to sing them here at the house. I reassured her that Thomas isn't shy when it comes to performances. In fact, he is quite the ham. She laughed and said that she had no doubt that he loved to perform. She was just thinking about him at school and wanted to call me to discuss the performance.

What an awesome, awesome teacher!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

It's Official: We're Moving

I've been putting off writing about this for several weeks now. I guess because I feel that if I write it here then it is OFFICIAL. And so it is...we're moving...just about 10 minutes away but, we still have to do all the "moving stuff" that drives my husband crazy. Cleaning out, staging, getting things around the house fixed that we have been living with because we could, until now. In fact as I type this post, I have a plumber in the house fixing a few bathroom issues (no poop jokes please:-).

You know, I always thought that we would make the decision to move based on Thomas' needs. I never thought that Sidney would actually be the driving force behind our decision. Well, Sidney will be entering 5th grade next year (sigh!) and is zoned to attend a "technology-driven/experimental" junior high. Just the word "experimental" when it comes to my children gives me the heebie-jeebies.

There are two reasons for Sidney that this school is wrong for her. Hence, our move. First, fourth grade has been somewhat of a struggle for her, math and writing specifically. She needs more help than the mythical typical child. We don't think that this new environment would help her, quite the opposite. She needs the structure of a traditional classroom. Second, I honestly think that there is a HUGE difference between a 5th grader and an 8th grader. Sidney is sweet, shy (at times) and tender-hearted. I think that 8th graders would eat her for lunch!

I know that I may sound like the over-protective mother. I accept that fact and embrace the knowledge that I only have 10 more years of her in our house and under my wing. I think that this is the best choice for mama gut tells me so.

We are also considering Thomas' educational future as we make this move. Our school district advocate sent me a list of Keller elementary schools that have experience and SUCCESS with oral hearing impaired/deaf kiddos. So, this list helps us narrow down the search for a house, too. Also, I'd like for Thomas to be further away from the bus barn and closer to his current oral preschool, simply to reduce the busing time for him.

So please, keep us in your prayers as we try to sell our house in a down market, buy a house in the right area for the kids (with a pool) and keep our marriage together because my husband strongly dislikes this whole process and change in general. If you know of anyone looking for a house in west Keller, please give me their name/number. We should officially be on the market in early- to mid-March. Hoping to be off the market in late-March (haha -- I know that I need to be more realistic!).

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Crazy Cool Teacher Conference

Earlier today, Sean and I met with Thomas' oral preschool teacher and SLP for a mid-year conference and review of the updated CASLLS assessment. Before I say anything else, I have to admit my skepticism of public school offerings for our little man. I was apprehensive at the beginning of the year because this is the first time that the public school system in our area has offered a completely oral preK option for hearing impaired kiddos.

Today my skepticism is GONE! WAY, WAY GONE...a big shadow in my rearview mirror. The teachers and SLP have done some truly amazing work with Thomas and our conversation today was so comforting, reassuring and quite joyful. In fact, we were scheduled to talk for only 30 minutes but, these women allowed Sean and me to talk with them for almost an hour. Their fondness of our little man was apparent and it truly made my heart sing with delight.

So, here is the skinny:

CASLLS Assessment
Thomas has made some great strides to catch up with his hearing peers, children that have been able to hear from birth and that learn new things at a very early age. With Thomas' EVA, we don't truly have a hearing age for him other than his CI implantation, which was roughly two and a half years ago. While he still has some significant gaps in his expressive language and complexity of language, he has made HUGE (or as Thomas would say 'gigantic/enormous/immense/massive') strides in his language since August of last year. In fact, he has mastered or has generalized quite a bit since he started the public school program.

He still has lots and lots of work to do. However, I need to remind myself to focus on the positives such as:

He is asking 'why' questions and is answering these type of questions with 'because' responses.

His use of questions is continuing to grow, almost daily.

He is much more engaged in conversations and continues to negotiate things all.the.time.

He loves, loves, loves to learn almost to the point of it being a problem (for me). He wants to do things correctly and wants to take as much time as needed to figure things out. He wants to understand everything...that's his dad in him (smile).

He talks all.the.time...sometimes over people who are talking at the same time, sometimes missing things that I'm telling him because he already wants to move on to something else to talk about or to negotiate because he doesn't like my answer.

His speech is pretty great...we have a dedicated audiologist that reads him so well during audiological testing and can negotiate with him better than I can. Yea for a good map and an awesome audiologist! Also, a big high five for an SLP that helps him develop his auditory memory and and AVT that has trained me on how to correct him when something is not correct...yea team!

Some things that were suggested by his SLP for homework.

Hedbanz -- a game that makes children ask questions about a card that is on their foreheads. Then they guess what the item is. Here is a link to the game available at Target for only $10. Yahoo, a cheap game for us to play.

Barrier games -- using auditory memory skills to accurately place pieces in a correct sequence or situation. I'm researching some options to purchase for new therapy (I mean home) toys.

Continuous noise hide-and-seek -- use your iphone or something else that you can play a song or have a consistent noise going on. Hide the item and ask the child to locate the sound. We have a monkey that I can use a remote to go on and off to help him use his listening skills to locate. Lord knows that if I put my iphone someplace, he will want to find it and then sit down to play games on the phone for the remainder of the home therapy session.

I have to applaud these wonderful women and Thomas' school. I had TONS of questions regarding the CASLLS assessment. They are using true rigor when scoring Thomas on the assessment, not giving him any benefit unless they have written documentation of him using vocabulary. They asked me to continue to collect home samples of language so they can validate it through school work (as a former healthcare communications person, I love this idea! Using the home facilitator as a way to expand and validate in another environment...kudos to them!). Now to get my handy spiral notebook out so I can chronicle things...note to self here: put a notebook in the car so you can write down when Thomas says the Pledge of he did this afternoon while driving to his grandmother's house (smile).

Academic Information

He is ready for kindergarden...what did I just say?...yep, his teacher said that he is academically ready for kindergarden even though he still has next year of PreK. His SLP agreed. Did I tell you that this kid loves to learn? He works so hard to grasp an idea or concept and they are so patient with him, allowing him time to figure things out. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!

The most uplifting thing that I heard during the meeting...and I'm paraphrasing because I didn't write it down word-for-word..."Thomas is ready for kindergarden. I have to sometimes remind myself that he is just four years old. He will be in a mainstream class in a year and a half. I won't see him in my classroom at kindergarden," Thomas' preschool teacher said (or at least what my husband and I heard).

How crazy cool is that? Thomas is in the "right" place...he is learning tons...he is happy...which means that Sean and I are happy. It was a crazy cool parent-teacher-SLP conference.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Crayons in a Crayon Box

With every new year, it seems like our family makes changes. This January is no exception...two big ones were made. One I'll share about in this post.

I've written previously about how I haven't been head-over-heels in love with Thomas' mainstream preschool. One thing that I've come to trust is my "mama gut" and it was telling me that Thomas wasn't in the right place anymore. So back in October, I got Thomas on the waiting list for a preschool that was recommended to me by a dear friend. You know "that" type of friend that you truly trust to give advice and opinions -- she is an awesome woman! Anyway, the preschool FINALLY had an opening.

I went down to meet the teacher and to talk with the director again earlier this week. I loved the new teacher. She is gregarious, loving, patient and more than anything she really wants Thomas in her class (and yes, she knows that he is hearing impaired). So, Sean and I decided to make the move. I spent about 45 minutes yesterday with the teacher, director and another staff member walking them through Thomas' technology document that I put together, how everything works and what to do in case of a problem. I also took them through the backgrounder that I created for Thomas' IEP meeting. When the teacher saw the photo of Thomas post CI surgery, she started to cry and looked at me with the sweetest wasn't sympathy it was empathy in her eyes. It was so cool.

When Thomas got home from his auditory/oral preschool, this was our conversation:

Me: Hey, Thomas. Please come sit down. I want to talk to you about something important.

Thomas: Oh no, do I have to go to timeout.

Me: No sweetie. It is something different that we need to discuss.

Thomas: Oh, okay I'll come sit down next to you.

Me: Do you remember the school that we visited a few months ago? The school where you went into the classroom and made a special new friend very quickly?

Thomas: Yes, I remember it.

Me: Well, how would you like to go to school there instead of Light of the World? Now, you would still go to WA Porter and have Ms. H as a teacher. Does that sound good to you?

Thomas: Oh yes, Mommy. That sounds like a great idea.

Me: Cool, you get to start going to the new school tomorrow. Is that okay?

Thomas: Yes (with grin and excited look on his face)! Thanks Mommy...I love you (then he reached out and gave me a big hug).

I took him to school this morning. He was a little shy at first but, quickly got into the swing of things once he put his backpack, lunch box and folder into the correct places. The teacher introduced him to all the kids in the class. Thomas would say hello, shake their hands and declare that it was nice to meet them. Once circle time began, I was asked to sit at the front of the group and talk with them about Thomas' technology. I have to admit that I stole the idea of talking about differences as with crayons in a crayon box from my friend, Tammy.

I began by saying that everyone is different. Everyone sitting on the rug looks different, just like all the different colors of crayons in a crayon box. No crayon in the same box is the same color. I then asked Thomas to come sit on my lap.

I asked the group this question, "What do you think is different about Thomas?" They all threw out things like his hair is brown, not like mine. His shirt is blue, no one else has a blue shirt on, his shoes are different than mine, etc. Finally after about 5 answers, a little girl in the front row said, "Well, his ears are different." I said, "You are a really observant young lady. His ears are different. Thomas can you show them your aid and implant?" Thomas turns his head and says, "This is my hearing aid." Turns his head to the other side and says, "This is my cochlear implant."

Even though I know that it isn't technically correct to compare the two, I told the class that just like people wear glasses to see, like me (I wore my glasses to the preschool), that Thomas wears his implant and hearing aid because they help him to hear. I got a big, "OH!" from the group. I then asked if anyone had questions. All the hands that were raised were to tell stories about how they had someone in their family that wears glasses or what their favorite color was, etc. They REALLY DIDN'T CARE that he was different. They just accepted him into the class.

As I walked to my car, I thanked the Lord for giving me the "mama gut" feeling to change schools. I thanked Him for such a great start at a new school...and as I drove away...tears of joy streamed down my face.

We are all like crayons in a crayon box...unique...and just like us all...Thomas IS DIFFERENT!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Hangin' with Carnies and Cowboys

It's that time of year again...the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo is here. Sean and I took the kids yesterday to enjoy the festivities. What a wonderful opportunity it was for our little man to explore vocabulary and actually work on his balance (via the rides and wacky shacks), too. Here are just a few of the pictures of our family fun.

Thomas and the Moo-Brothers

The kids faces when we reached the top of the ferris wheel.

The view from the top of the ferris wheel...hence, the kiddos' reactions.

Sid coming down the long slide. Thomas was too short to ride this one.

Thomas driving his "monster truck."

Sid ready to go around on the swings (this would be enough to make me toss my cookies).

Sean is such a good daddy...squeezing into the airplane with the kids.

From planes to helicopters.

Enough of the carnies, bring on the cowboys!

What a joyful day it was...yep, we will be going again this coming Saturday for more fun!

Monday, January 9, 2012


Birdville ISD is updating Thomas' CASLLS assessment for the mid-year. I was asked to give a list of Thomas' most recent utterances, not full conversations.

Some things I noticed while typing up the list. Thomas continues to leave out helping words in his sentences. He will ask questions with inflection rather than a question word at the beginning of the sentence. He has started to again leave off the "s" at the end of some of his words (making note for mapping discussion with his audi) and he is using "tired" words...sounds like Mom needs to be a walking thesaurus yet again.

Here is the list that I provided to his AWESOME teacher:

1. We need to go to the car wash, Kiki. Your car is very, very dirty. You need to make it clean.

2. Look Mom. These crackers are square. You can help me eat them.

3. Not sing it, Daddy. You read it.

4. I got to eat three crunchies and one sandwich. Okay?

5. Mom, I want to ride that scooter not this one.

6. Cydney, let play baseball.

7. I'm first. You can be second.

8. Hey, Mom. Watch me do a scooter race. Ready, set, go!

9. See? I go fast then I put my leg down like this. It my brakes.

10. I can promise you.

11. You can help me with this one, please.

12. Please bring the computer laptop right here by me.

13. I'm collecting carrots to feed the bunnies.

14. My room is green and Sidney's room is blue.

15. No thank you. I just making my own train track.

16. No. First I need to clean both cars real quick. Then we can go to the restaurant.

17. Hey, Mom. You twist this water open for me, please.

18. Okay, I' gonna beat you again this time.

19. I need a bat and a shoe and a clock and a dog.

20. Sidney, you need to play Kinect right now. I already told you to do it.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Guess Who!

So, our new favorite "therapy" toy (other than the iPad 2) is the game, Guess Who, which Thomas got for Christmas from his awesome Aunt Kellye. My sister used this game with her youngest son years and years ago. Soon I'll write a blog post about the cool iPad apps that can be used for therapy.

Anyway, this game is really wonderful in helping a hearing impaired child, or any child really with:

Pronouns -- Thomas is about 75% accurate in his use of he/she and him/her. This game allows for self-correction or correction by Sidney, Sean or me.

Inclusion/exclusion -- closing the doors of the objects that don't match the description and leaving the doors open for those that do.

Asking questions (we break the rules and allow open-ended questions) -- our little man has a bad habit of leaving off the question word at the beginning of the sentence, many times simply using voice inflection to get across his question. This game forces him to use "does" "is" "what."

Reasoning -- identifying which questions are appropriate to ask, including the most recent question from Thomas, "Does your appliance use electricity?"

Attributes -- not only does this game use people it has boards showing appliances, monsters, types of faces (young/old), expressions, etc. It is wonderful to see Thomas' vocabulary expand by changing out the different game boards.

Speech -- we can correct his "l" "r" "w" and his blends as we play the game.

Following directions/taking turns -- as with any game, there are rules to follow and turns must be taken to stay on track.

The game says that it is appropriate for ages 6 and up but, we started using this the day after Christmas. It has been so fun...our next game to open up is Zingo.