Monday, December 22, 2008

Amanda is hearing lots of new things!

SMOOCH!  "I heard that!"

Dad & Joseph: "Amanda!"
Amanda:  "What?"

Since Amanda's last mapping a month ago she has been hearing more and more each day!  In fact she just posted a new blog entry with photos of some of the new things she is hearing.  

It's pretty amazing since she has only been activated since August (4 months ago) and had NEVER EVER heard anything before. 

One of Amanda's goals for herself was to be able to have people call her name and have her be able to answer and say, "What?"  

After she posted her blog entry tonight, she was surprised to hear herself kissing her chihuahua, Goldy. 

Last week Amanda and I were playing cards and Amanda could hear the difference between 8 and ace!   They looked the same on the lips but she could hear the "t" at the end of eight and the "s" at the end of ace.

Check out her blog entry:  Deaf Girl Amanda

And below, if you didn't have a chance to view them, are two videos of us doing two elf dances; a Disco Elf dance and a Country Elf dance.  Amanda can more easily follow the music and dance moves since her cochlear implant.

The videos will be available until mid January.  Let me know what you think of our fabulous moves!

Country Elf Dance

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Monday, December 8, 2008

Amanda and School

Busy couple of days!  Amanda received an honor roll 
award last Thursday.  She often gets positive behavior 
recognition, but seldom realizes the same academic 
triumph.  So we were quite pleased, and of course 
attended the award ceremony.

The next day, parent teacher-teacher conferences 
were held.  Amanda is in 8th grade and rotates for 
8 periods among 7 teachers plus a speech therapist 
(4 times weekly) and an audiologist (once a week.)

Mr. Zarembka-Math         Ms. Maxwell-English                                   

Ms. Chute-Family Life         Mr. Branton-History

Mr. Tarpay-Science               Ms. Caustin-Speech & Language

Mrs. Gleicher-Reading

Her Adapted Physical Education teacher,  Ms. Hoffee was unavailable as was the
Audiologist, Ms. Rogan, so unfortunately, we didn't get pictures of them.  However, we maintain regular contact with them so we know how she's doing, but I would've liked pictures.

All of Amanda's core academic teachers (English, Reading, Science, History and Math) are deaf.  Since the focus of the school is on instruction through ASL, the SLP and the Audiologist support what instruction she is getting in the classroom.  

Amanda has only been activated less than four months and had NEVER EVER heard anything prior to implantation.  Hearing aids did not benefit her although she wore them diligently, especially in her early years hoping to hear something.  She began asking for an implant at age 10 and after major insurance battles, was finally approved for surgery just before she turned 14.

Both the SLP and the Audiologist have noticed improvement in speech production this school year.  And since her last mapping, we have all noticed a very positive effect on what she is able to hear.  She is increasing her accuracy and consistency in being able to distinguish between individual phonemes, words, phrases and sentences.

And she's immensely able to hear the ruckus that goes on in deaf classrooms.  In fact she sometimes acts as an interpreter for students trying to get deaf teachers attention. The student will yell out and Amanda will let the teacher know the student wants them. THAT would never have happened before.  So it's an interesting way to measure progress, but progress it is.

Monday, December 1, 2008

March for Equality-Signs of Change

This is not my typical posting regarding Amanda and her cochlear implant journey, but it is something that does affect her and the rest of our family.  Amanda has two stepbrothers: my sons.  One of them is straight.  The other one is gay.  We love them both and believe they deserve equal rights in all areas, including the right to marry whomever they fall in love with.  

We participated in the nationwide protest November 15th against the passage of Proposition 8 here in California November 4th.  Above are some photos of us at the Redlands City Hall.  

It was a heartwarming day and we met many diverse people from all walks of life, gay and straight, who were standing on the corner for one sole purpose; to support equal rights for all and to repeal Prop 8.  

I found this video on and decided to post it here because I think it really speaks to love and acceptance of all families and justice for all, not just for some.  

On a connecting note to the theme of this blog.....Amanda did hear the supportive honks of cars that passed by!

Signs of Change from Woven Essence on Vimeo.

It is not captioned, which, if you've been following my blog, you know that I caption all of my video clips.  

However, I listened to it several times and can tell you that at the beginning and at the end, the marchers are chanting, "What do we want?!"  "Equal rights!"  "When do we want it?"  "Now!"

In another part of the video the marchers are chanting, "Gay, Straight, Black, White!  Marriage is a Civil Right!" 

The music playing throughout the video is called, "Nothing In Between" by Stuart Davis.   The lyrics and his website are printed below.

Nothing In Between

from the album Something Simple

Stuart Davis 2008    

There is nothing in between us when we sleep

Every night the bliss begins to leak

Nothing in between us when we laugh

it’s something that our head will never grasp

It’s seen in between

There’s nothing in between your joy and mine

It’s all a lot of nectar on the vine

Joy is how my parents were entwined

and there’s nothing in between their lives and mine

We’ve seen

There’s nowhere to hide in the open Reality

Love is so wide, there isn’t a boundary

There is only one eye without any enemy

when you’ve seen in between

There’s nothing in between our skin and light

Nothing in between the wind and kite

Nothing in between our lips and grace

Nothing in between the tongue and taste

It’s seen


There is nothing in between you and I

Nothing in between blue and sky

Nothing in between us and love

Nothing in between wings and doves


There is nothing

in between