One year on….

We have just passed the first anniversary of Ollie receiving his bilateral CIs…

We are, therefore, now at the stage where we can start to make comparisons between Alice and Ollie. Some things are clear, she is calmer and more settled, Ollie is certainly more headstrong (he must get that from his dad) and needs running time as part of his day. Ollie likes nothing more than being chased round the sitting room, the challenge is turning that into a listening opportunity.

Having a toddler with bilateral CIs has presented some interesting challenges. Ollie still sleeps a lot so our windows are small, he also spends quite a long time in the car doing the school run every day. It’s no surprise that some of his first words are car park and school. He also spends the car journey pointing out the buses and lorries at every opportunity – bless him.

But, he’s also discovered the terrible twos. I cannot explain the frustration of dealing with a toddler, who has thrown £12,000 worth of processors across the pavement in different directions, whilst having a shout and won’t even put them back on so you can tell him off. The defiance is huge. He also dead weights himself whilst somehow managing to ensure that at least one processor is not where you thought it was. My fear of traveling anywhere increases tenfold when Ollie is involved. The car has also provided significant opportunities for tucking a processor into a little hole, causing another grey hair before 9am.

But most of the time Ollie is too cute for words, his new favourite words are cuddle and story. Dear Ollie, don’t listen to AV UK when they teach you naughty words like “no”, you don’t need to know that and I’m waiting for “I don’t like that” which is imminent. Language development is all about what’s useful and giving him the words for what he’s thinking, so clearly we need “I love you mummy” and no more of this naughtiness.


One of the things us CI families have to come to terms with is, no matter how fantastically your child performs with their CI, the technology has limitations; after all, it is just technology. Remarkable as CIs are, the microphones, batteries and wires all have their own little bugs.

What we all have in common is that these limitations bring about predictable problems. One of these is vocabulary. CI children tend to be poorer at overhearing than other children. They don’t hear new words in context as well and hence their vocabulary can develop more slowly. Whilst a typical, hearing, child picks up new words from conversations they’re not even involved in, this can be more difficult for CI children. This isn’t a major problem. Alice’s language is above age appropriate; her use of language is fantastic (see how far we have come in four short years!) but she may not have a full Eskimo vocabulary of words for snow or understand colloquialisms as well as her friends. It’s a small problem, but one we are acutely aware of and we spend hours shoving new words her way. Reading has made a huge difference in this respect.

Alice swore for the first time today. I couldn’t be more thrilled.

She had overheard me shouting at a particularly noisy toy of Ollie’s (which was driving me particularly mad yesterday morning) and decided to demonstrate her new-found knowledge of expletives to the world. Hallelujah.

Every step is hard-fought, but every win feels oh so very special.

In the meantime, I thought you might enjoy a little video of Alice reading; we couldn’t be more proud of how far she has come and how well she is doing at school. For any families just starting on this journey, your dreams for your children are still possible and, just to warn you, they will swear too…


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