Friday, March 28, 2008

Matthew Gets an Implant--Six Months Later



"How's Matthew doing?" a reader recently asked me. You may remember Matthew from earlier posts: Matthew Gets a Cochlear Implant and Matthew's Cochlear Implant Activation. I have gotten several emails from readers wondering about Matthew's progress with his cochlear implant and what he's doing today.

From the very first day of activation, Matthew instantly took a liking to the sounds he was hearing through the implant. It took a while to get used to the sound, but his brain learned to adjust and the sounds became clearer over time. Keep in mind, Matthew has Auditory Neuropathy and had many moments when he could hear normally when he was a young child. During the last several years, Matthew had great difficulty having conversations with people who didn't sign and was struggling to pay attention in school.

The summer before Matthew obtained his cochlear implant, he attended a sports camp at the Illinois School for the Deaf. He told Sue, his mom, "I want to go to school down there." Sue couldn't imagine sending Matthew away to a residental school. In fact, just two years before that, Sue sat on a panel with other parents and declared that she would never send her kids to a residential school. "I want my kids at home with me," she said.

So it may surprise some readers to learn that Matthew and his brother have been attending ISD since January, 2008.

Matthew took an instant liking to his new school and it was easy to see that he was very happy there. I asked him how ISD was different from the school he attended at home with a handful of deaf and hard of hearing students and he said, "At my old school, I didn't participate much. I felt left out of a lot of conversations, like I wasn't even here. At ISD, everyone signs and I participate in everything. I'm involved in a lot of activities. I'm on the track team. I have lots of friends at ISD. We go bowling and play video games."

Sue explained that Matthew receives auditory training each week to practice listening with his implant. Matthew described the sessions as fun and enjoyable. He is in sixth grade and is being challenged with seventh grade work.

"It sounds like ISD has changed your life," I remarked to Matthew.

"Yes, it has, but so has my implant," he said with a huge grin.

13 comments:

Jim said...

Thanks for sharing.

Barb DiGi said...

Thanks for sharing. Matthew's story is one of the examples how Deaf children even with CI still have their social needs met by interacting with signing peers at ease. Bless him for finding his happiness!

Divided said...

Congrats to Matthew for getting CI and for being able to express his desire. He has the best of both worlds (deaf and hearing)! I guarantee you that he will NOT lose his auditory (speaking and listening) skills because he attends a deaf school. He will make the best of both (hearing skills and ASL skills). He's a happy kid!!

I applaud you for supporting Matthew's desire. You are an awsome parent!!

Anonymous said...

i am not surprised ot that. often deaf teens end up going to deaf school for the same reasons. sometimes against parent's wishes. i was a dorm supervisor then.

Stephen Hopson said...

This made me smile - good for Matthew! I'm glad he found his niche and is a happier kid because of the change. Good for him!

kw said...

I really enjoyed reading this! His story was one of the first I read in DeafRead and I'm glad to hear the update. Sounds like he's doing wonderfully! Thanks!

Michelle said...

Oh my word, that is the *cutest* picture. He looks SO happy!

Deb Ann said...

Thank you for sharing this story. Matthew's experiencing this great experience of listening/speaking skills and ASL skills. He sounds a great, smart kid.

Laurie said...

Another success story! Thank you for the update!

~Laurie

groovyoldlady said...

Sounds like his family has made the right choices for their circumstances. How wonderful to see Matthew flourishing!

Kevin said...

Good for Matt!

Sounds like he's a great kid

Will H. said...

I hope you can join our community "Support People with Disabilities" on Change.org.

http://www.change.org/changes/view/2154

Thanks,
Will H.

Tracey said...

That sounds fabulous!