As mentioned two days ago, Elfie and his new friend Chippie didn’t return to our home after a day of extraordinary bad behaviour from both boys.
Our Elf on the Shelf is back and he has brought a friend, we will bring you more on the new elf as and when we have it, name etc!
The boys were ecstatic to see him and literally squealed with delight at seeing his house (a post on how to make your own coming soon).
Its been almost a year since we last published a post on 2 Bottles of Milk, so where have we been?
Last Christmas I was so ill that I spent most of Christmas Day in bed asleep and it got me thinking about how hectic our lives were and how we needed to relax and let something rest for a while and that was unfortunately the blog! With everything that Leo had gone through and a new baby, as well as life in general it was the easiest thing to let go and allow more time for all the other stuff that was going on at that point.
Over the last few months we have written regularly about Leo’s Hearing Loss and his Assessment Process for Cochlear Implants at London’s St Thomas Hospital.
To say that this journey has been emotional is an understatement and it has also been stressful for Leo. It is a journey that has taken longer then we expected, however since we last wrote we have had some huge developments and his journey has moved forward significantly which has been a good yet stressful and emotional time.
In conjunction with Action on Hearing Loss.
In life we all take our hearing for granted assuming that the hearing we have won’t deteriorate as we get older and to be honest we tend to have a habit of abusing our ears to an extent that it can and has caused hearing loss in people of all ages.
Last night I started on a thirty week course to learn British Sign Language or BSL for short.
As regular followers of this blog will know both Keighley and Leo have a hearing loss and although Keighley lip reads Leo is still young enough to need the extra assistance to communicate with other people. Following a point around last Christmas where Leo wanted something and couldn’t communicate what it was which led to him having a melt down and our realisation that he needed another form of communication beyond speech.
After the melt down we decided that we were going to teach Leo some basic sign language signs that he would need and be able to use, things like Please, Thank You, Eat, Drink, Milk, More and a few more. Over the last few months we have added some signs to his vocabulary and his speech has come on a little as a result of us using the same signs on a daily basis.
While we have been learning basic signs with Leo it led Keighley and I to develop a bigger interest in learning more of this language form. This led to us attending a taster session back in May and then myself enrolling on the course that I started last night.
Last night we did all the introductions and stuff that people do on a first lesson and then we went on to learn the Alphabet through finger spelling and I can now spell a whole host of words via finger spelling, including my name, kids and wifes name and place where I live. I had a really enjoyable time and learnt a lot and I am looking forward to next weeks lesson.
The day before we jetted off to Athens to visit family we had another appointment at St Thomas’s as part of Leo’s Cochlear Implant assessment.
Following on from the last appointment where we had been asked to practice a new testing technique with Leo and develop that.
During the appointment the audiologist tried a the testing technique with Leo that we had been practicing and to start with he was doing exactly what he was meant to do, which was place a figure in a boat every time he heard a noise. However due to his age after a while he lost interest and just wanted to play what he wanted to play.
Around this time however the audiologist needed to go and get some extra equipment and left us in the room with Leos hospital speech therapist who watched Leo as he played and also spoke with myself and Keighley on how we thought his speech was developing, after a while she stated that although Leo knew exactly what was happening however apart from the occasional word we as adults weren’t really aware of what was happening to the toys and what their adventure was.
Following all the hearing tests we spoke with both the Audiologist and Speech Therapist and they said that they had a joint meeting coming up where they were going to discuss Leo and decide on the next steps to be taken however they both stated that there had been very little speech development since the last meeting back in April and they were hinting that they would be pushing for Leo to proceed with Cochlear Implant Implantation.
Since the visit the team at the hospital have had their meeting and via a phone call have confirmed that Leo has been offered Cochlear Implants and will under go surgery before Christmas of this year, most likely early to mid November.
Today Leo had a follow up appointment at St Thomas’ after his three month referral back to our local hospital for further hearing tests. During the last three months it looks like, from the hearing tests that Leo might well have had a further loss in his right ear, however this wasn’t confirmed today as he wasn’t testing well. Unfortunately Leo has reached the age where the sound and turn method doesn’t work anymore.
What’s the sound and turn method? I hear you ask… well it is basically what it sounds like. The audiologist plays a sound into Leo’s ear and if he turns towards the sound he is rewarded with either, in our local hospitals case, a dancing (and honestly quite freaky) puppet, or in St Thomas’ case, an image of a cartoon character on a screen. This works fantastically with younger children but Leo has done this test so often it now bores him after a while and he becomes engrossed in either the toys in front of him or pulling the testing equipment off himself. So today they have introduced a new way of testing him which requires him to hold a little figure and when he hears the sound to drop it into a pot. This is going to require practice as although he seems to get the idea of the exercise the patience of the waiting isn’t quite there so we need to train him to do it.
Due to this stage we are at the audiologst has said that they are possibly going to consider a test called an ABR. This is something we really wanted to avoid as it requires Leo being put to sleep and electrodes placed on his head to get the readings they are after. Although this will get the results they are looking for it would have been better if we had been able to get those same results by the other tests.
Did you know that in 2015 over 11 million people in the U.K. had a hearing loss of some description, that’s equivalent to 1 in 6 of us and that by 2035 that number is expected to rise to 15.6 million or 1 in 5. That number is just staggering when you actually stop to think about it. In fact most people probably know someone with a hearing loss of some description, either being from natural loss due to old age or someone that was born with a hearing loss.
1 in 6 of the UK population are affected by some form of Hearing Loss
– Action on Hearing : Hearing Matters
Of the 11 million who have a hearing loss around 900,000 people have severe or profound deafness, at least 24,000 of whom use British Sign Language.
People with hearing loss are less likely to be in work and hearing loss often means people having problems finding a job, fulfilling their potential at work and staying in work. This is due to a number of factors, however a major one is employers attitudes towards hearing loss and this needs to change.
In 2013, it is estimated, that the UK economy lost £24.8 billion in potential economic output because too many people with hearing loss are unable to work.
– International Longevity Centre UK, 2013 – Action on Hearing: Hearing Matters.
However change does seem to be happening with advances in hearing aid and assistive technologies, together with new technologies like Speech to Text, barriers do seem to be being broken down in regards to communication for people with hearing loss. Also there is rapid progress being made in the understanding of the biological causes of hearing loss, things such as Genetic Testing and MRI Scans have given better understanding. It is believed that by 2020, with proper investment, treatments for Hearing Loss and tinnitus could be available and that cures could be available within a generation.
For more information on Hearing Loss and Action on Hearings Hearing Matters Study please click here