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.