Two Minutes Of Your Time

August 2008 is a month I will never forget. It was the month that we found out that our beautiful daughter was deaf and the month in which it seemed our lives would never be the same again.

In March of 2009, Alice was fitted with a cochlear implant and since then her progress has been breathtaking. This has only been possible for two reasons: Alice’s determination,patience and desire to learn and the unique help and support we have received along the way from Auditory Verbal UK.

Auditory Verbal UK is a national charity which teaches deaf children with hearing aids or cochlear implants to listen and speak. After three years of family-based Auditory verbal therapy, over 80% close the language gap and enter mainstream schools alongside their hearing friends. The charity works directly with 60 families and reaches out to many more through training programmes for professionals across the UK.

Three years ago, Chris (Alice’s Daddy), Andy (Alice’s Godfather) and James sat down and decided that, as rowers of historical prowess, that to spend a week or so rowing the Upper Thames would be an experience we would always cherish and look back on with fond memories in our old age. We are now doing it for a real purpose.

91 Miles, 30 locks, in three days not seven. That’s 10-12 hours rowing a day. We must be mad.

Not every family currently has the ability to access the wonderful work and support that AV UK provide. We are aiming to raise £3,000 (or well North of) to help other families to see and experience the benefits Alice has been lucky enough to enjoy.

This is not a row for Alice, it is a row to help the countless children for whom AV UK might provide their best hope of integrating fully with their hearing peers in the hearing world.

Please help us by visiting: www.justgiving.com/three-men-in-a-boat

What Would You Do?

Making the decision for Alice to have her first CI was, for us, an easy one.

Alice could hear nothing useful. She had no language.

Whilst there were obviously risks involved, not least whether it would actually work or not, the miracle of hearing was something that far outweighed the risk in our minds.

As we have written numerous times on this blog, Alice has been doing very well with her CI. Her language continues to improve and, in short windows at least, she appears normal. The gap is narrowing and, for the first time since we found out she was deaf, there is a small chink of light at the end of the tunnel.

Now let’s throw a spanner in the works. Do we have her other ear done?

We always had the option of having Bilaterals implanted simultaneously last year. The advice of the surgeon (based on Alice’s ANSD) and our comfort threshold meant that we went for one at the time, with the option of a second later on. Last March when the CI journey began, the second wasn’t even on our minds. Now the time has come to decide, only this time, the starting point is very different.

Alice hears well and is progressing well with her one CI. Many children only ever have one and continue to do well. The evidence for the benefits of a second is patchy and largely annecdotal, but on this we must base our decision.

It may well give Alice benefit, particularly in noisy situations, but she will be able to cope without it. Equally, there are the odd (albeit very rare) stories of the second implant causing a child to reject the first. Do we really want for Alice to take a step back? More to the point. do we want to put our beautiful daughter back through the anguish, pain and confusion of another 4-5 hour surgery?

Whatever we decide Alice will have to live with it for the rest of her life – hopefully she will thank us for it one day, whatever the decision is.

But tell me honestly, what would you do?

%d bloggers like this: