Chemo is going okay so far - no nasty side effects have appeared yet. She is very irritable today, but is taking a long nap, so hopefully it was temporary and she will wake up refreshed. We have a busy week ahead - it's birthday week!!!! I am headed to the fabric store with my new coupons for another project, and we hit the party store yesterday. I have a cake to bake, dress to sew, and a ton of other things to do...but more on the festivities later!
I met with the home teacher for the first time this week. She works at the Center for Early Intervention on Deafness (CEID) in Berkeley, CA. She is a credentialed teacher of the deaf, with a focus on early childhood development. Her goal is to help us and help Scarlett learn how to communicate and listen with her hearing loss. She will visit us every week at home, and will work with Scarlett, as well as Chris and me, to work through whatever challenges we encounter surrounding her hearing. This includes going on "field trips" with us to environments we visit frequently, like the grocery store, library, restaurants or parks to help us understand what challenges Scarlett will have hearing and communicating, and problem solving. She will be teaching all three of us to sign. The program also includes a weekly play-group at the school (and later toddler classes and preschool), and offers sign language and support classes for parents.
This is a free (to us) program for kids in our area with hearing loss provided by Early Start and the regional center for early intervention. It is one of three different options we found near us for children with hearing loss. CEID uses a Total Communication method, which encourages speaking and signing simultaneously, as well as using Signed Exact English (SEE) rather than traditional American Sign Language (ASL). Other options we had were focused on either signing exclusively or speaking exclusively, neither of which seemed most beneficial to Scarlett's type of hearing loss. Her audiologist suggested this program and we were lucky to get a great home teacher very quickly (once we slogged through the registration process with the regional center, and were flat-out denied for services by the local school district program, which basically told me that Scarlett is too complicated and has too many issues for them to deal with.)
We are excited to start this program. We have yet to see Scarlett make much of a connection to our use of basic signs (mommy, daddy, milk). She does not seem to respond to hearing her name at all, and does not turn to look at sounds she hears (she does make other subtle signs that she has heard something - like sitting very still or looking up). We want to capitalize on her recent flurry of developments as much as we can and hope that we have not missed too much of a window for her language development.
From now on, Scarlett has a steady schedule of five appointments per week: physical therapy, occupational therapy, labs/clinic, home-based hearing intervention, and sign language play group. I am working on the schedule to try to give us at least one unscheduled day, but it is not very smooth...PT and OT are exhausting, so they can't be the same day (even though they are at the same location). Labs can take hours, so we can't have anything after that. We want to make sure Chris is home for hearing and communication lessons, and play group is a set time and about an hour away (through awful traffic, too). They are all vitally important, so until alternative options come up, we are going to make it work. Chauffeuring is my new full time job.