We have been noticing more responses to Ellie's hearing. We're pretty sure she can hear us "cluck" our tongues, and possibly some VERY loud talking. Tomorrow, we will go to Shawnee Park for a hearing evaluation. The audiologist there can do a hearing test for her and also adjust her hearing aids if they need it.
Last week I was really questioning whether or not we made the right decision to go with Shawnee Park (auditory/oral) program. I talked to a woman who has a little girl in the Total Communication program at West Oakview. She had such great things to say about the program there, and stressed that it is helpful to use sign language with her daughter. I did have some concerns about how we will be able to communicate with Ellie when she is in a pool or bath or in bed (because she will not be able to wear her processor for the cochlear implant in the water or to bed). Without signing, it seems like it would be frustrating in those situations. Anyways, I was on the verge of switching schools for Ellie, but then I talked to another mother of 2 girls that have been through the auditory/oral program. She assured me that Shawnee Park is a great place to be. Of course, every child is different, but it was just reassuring to hear that her girls just thrived there. They were able to me mainstreamed into their school of choice by kindergarten. As for communicating when the processor has to be off, she said that both of her girls have learned to read lips. Her oldest can have an entire conversation just by reading lips. Amazing!
She also talked to me about insurance. They have the same insurance as we have, and she said that it will cover a bilateral cochlear implant (both ears implanted at the same time). This is huge because it will help Ellie to know where a sound is coming from! We are totally excited about that!! I called our insurance carrier this past summer when we needed hearing aids, and they said they don't cover anything related to hearing, so I assumed they wouldn't cover a cochlear implant. However, I guess they consider hearing aids a "lifestyle choice," but will still cover cochlear implants....don't ask me???? Anyways, since we can go through our insurance for the cochlear implant, we don't have to wait for 6 months for Ellie to wear hearing aids. (that was a requirement set by Children's Special Health Care Services.) So I was able to move up her cochlear implant evaluation to November and her meeting with Dr. Daniels to December 22. So now (hopefully) Ellie will be able to get her cochlear implants sometime in jan/feb. Yay!