Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The forgotten birthday

It's been three years since activation day. We had our ups and downs in this hearing journey. But it's been very interesting. Rhianna never fails to amaze me with her verbal abilities and her never ending chatter.Her listening skills are pretty awesome too.

We actually forgot her hearing birthday until the day arrived. Luckily, we had planned to take her to watch the Hi5 show the next day.Yes, the Hi5 people were here for three days live show. Rhianna saw the advertisements and went crazy.She loooves Hi5 and she'd spend hours watching their dvd if I'd let her. So we thought why not...let's get those tickets and dance with Hi5.

So she was on her best behaviour the whole week,doing her homework , reading her books and ticking off the calender in anticipation of the big day. It was very funny.

The show was fun and interactive and the children loved it. Rhianna enjoyed the dance and the songs immensely and didn't have any problem with the sound system whatsoever which amazed me. I guess in the end, watching the show was a pretty good way of celebrating her hearing birthday.
The avid fan got to watch her favourite group performing on stage. Mom and dad got to giggle at the amazed look on her face and got to marvel over and over again at the life changing technology called cochlear implant.

Five in the air..let's do it together 
Before the show 

She loves the shirt 

Friday, August 31, 2012

Discover How to Protect Your Family’s Hearing Health

Most people are vastly familiar with the concept that healthy lifestyles have a positive and long-term impact on overall health.  Eating nutritious foods and getting an adequate amount of exercise can lead to healthy bodies that are resilient and able to stand against many health concerns, illnesses, and diseases.  Hearing health is not something that most people think about on a regular basis.  However, with a few things in mind, parents can take positive steps to protect their hearing and the hearing of their children.

The Benefits of Protecting Your Hearing

 Planning ahead and taking assertive action to lead a clean and healthy lifestyle can help to significantly promote excellent hearing health.  These actions will teach children how to maintain a good lifestyle and it is always better to prevent something then have to fight against it.

Protect Your Hearing from Loud Noises

There are numerous steps a person can take around the house and at work to protect his or her hearing.  Committing to these actions and teaching children and teens in the family about the importance of these actions will result in long-term benefits that will lead to a safer and healthier lifestyle.  Keeping televisions, radios, and cell phones turned down to a moderate level is one of the most important things a person can do to protect his or her hearing.  

In addition to turning down media and electronic devices within the home, lawn and garden equipment and machinery also should be monitored.  The sheer volume of electric saws, drills, lawn mowers, weed eaters, and other similar equipment that is found around many homes can have a very damaging effect on people who use these devices.   Wearing ear plugs when using machinery or lawn and garden equipment that produces loud noises will be a great way to maintain control over excellent hearing health.

Protect Your Body and Your Hearing

Smoking is one habit that is well-known for having damaging effects on a person’s body.  Smoking can also lead to damaged hearing ability.  When a person smokes, toxins are released into the body and this can negatively affect a person’s ability to hear.  When a person smokes and is around high-pitched noises on a regular basis, the individual is drastically increasing his or her chances of losing their hearing in the future.

Eating a healthy diet also can play a big part in maintaining good hearing health.  Poor diets can lead to diseases such as diabetes.  Diabetes commonly affects a person’s ability to hear.  Overall nutritious diets, adequate amounts of sleep, and proper amounts of exercise can play a big part in a person maintaining and protecting his or her hearing ability.  A smart decision to make along with maintaining a healthy diet would be to make an appointment with your doctor especially if you feel you have been losing hearing overtime.  Your audiologist will be able to test your hearing and find what your baseline hearing levels are.  With these results they will be able to provide you with tips on how to protect your hearing or based on the severity of your hearing, prescribe the use of hearing aids.  Hearing aids will be able to help restore some of the hearing you had lost before. 

Take Assertive Action as Soon as Hearing Loss Symptoms are Suspected

The Mayo Clinic web article on hearing loss symptoms informs people of possible symptoms to look out for if they suspect damaged hearing.  Like any illness or health concern, the sooner a person sees a medical professional if a problem is suspected, the better the chances of correcting or treating the symptoms will be.  Viewing the symptoms listed can help people to remain aware of things that can suggest hearing problems.

Taking action as soon as symptoms are noticed or suspected will increase a person’s chances of overcoming the problem.  A medical professional can offer advice and treatment to help correct or supplement a person’s hearing in many situations.

* An article sent by John O'Connor

Thanks John!

Friday, August 10, 2012

When she's 17..

According to Miss R ,when she's 17 she'll be doing the followings :

1.Go to college ( where she'll party all the time ..(yikes!) ).
2.Work as a chef 
3.Drive a car ( a honda)
4.Buy herself a cellphone.

The future chef decorating a cake

The finished product - done Rhianna's way

Well..honestly,I'm not in a hurry to see her reach 17.Anyway,She said she'll still stay with mommy forever...funny girl.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Jekyll n Hyde

I'm a speech language pathologist who works with special needs children in early intervention program.People often say that Rhianna is lucky to have a mom who is an SLP.I think my profession is both a blessing AND a curse to Rhianna.

When her father is always happy with her overall progress, I often find other areas to work on.

Rhianna is doing great in kindergarten. She finished top 5 students in the 5 year old class last semester.Her academic skills is on par with her hearing peers and in some subjects,even better.So of course we are happy but I'm still worried about her social skill.

She tends to be a bit shy with new friends and she often needs plenty of warm up time.If the social situation gets too stressful for her,she will just observe and not participate or she will just play alone.

People (her father included) told me to let her be.She will develop better skills in good time.
At moments like this..inside,I will be like Dr. Jekyll and Mr.Hyde.As a mother I agree (that's Dr.Jekyll). I should accept her and give her time and enough support to develop her confidence level.
As a therapist, I itch to intervene.In the end Mr Hyde wins.

So we are trying a few things like joining more after school activities, planning more play dates and role playing different social situation.
So, no rest for the poor child.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Things that I should do..

1.Smile more and frown less.
2.Work less and play more (according to Rhianna)
3.Eat more cupcakes (according to Rhianna)
4.Take more walks
5.Kiss and cuddle my child more (Rhianna disagrees on this)
6.Laugh more
7.Worry less

That's all we could think of for now.We'll post photos of our recent road trip soon.Have a good day everyone!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

She's 5!

Rhianna turned 5 on Mother's day..So mom didn't get to rest on that day.Rhianna was busy planning her party at least a month before the actual date.She browsed the internet with me and selected the cakes that she liked for her two parties- at home and at school.She invited her friends from day care, prepared the goodie bags and made thank you cards which we will send out to our guests.This was the first time that she actively participated in her parties preparation.

For home party,we decided to have it at our apartment's swimming pool and we invited the neighbours' children and our friends.Luckily we prepared plenty of food as the children were pretty hungry after swimming.A couple of friends brought cakes so we ended up with more cakes than we could eat.It was lovely to see how many good friends turned up.It reminded me of how much Rhianna is cherished by others as well.

Cake 1 - A princess crown cake,selected by Rhianna.It was pretty and tasted surprisingly very good 

Cake 2 - A jelly cake lovingly made by one of our friends.Cooling and refreshing.

Cake 3 - A chocolate cake brought by a good friend of ours.This one was adults' favourite!

Barbie cupcakes by another friend. Rhianna loved them!

The children enjoying their cakes after a good swim

Kids having fun in the pool

The birthday girl's goofy face

So many cakes to choose from.She ended up eating too much cakes for the next 2 days

Checking out the mountain of gifts from our wonderful friends later in the evening

Checking out her new bike before bedtime.See the "I'm tired but I don't want to go to bed" look?

This is from her party at school on Monday.Great effort from the teachers and all the children had fun!

In the end, Miss R had tremendous fun with her friends on her birthday.It is wonderful to see that she is making friends everywhere and she actually enjoys spending time with them.
It is bittersweet watching her grow and watching her develop her personality.She's growing more and more confident and she's coming up with new ideas everyday.I'm grateful for all that she's learned and for her amazing progress...I just wish that she would remain my baby a bit longer.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A chance to help others

I always say that my daughter was sent to me for a purpose.I've learned a lot of life's lessons just by raising her.Her deafness is what makes her special.
We are so fortunate to be able to have her bilaterally implanted and to have her progress at such amazing speed.There are many others who are not so fortunate in Malaysia.We don't have insurance coverage for CI operations  here. Some children will get fundings  from the ministry of health and some from sick children's fund but it is very limited.
Recently I was approached by the group of doctors who are responsible for bringing CI technology to Malaysia.They are a group of passionate doctors and wonderful people who have been helping deaf children in Malaysia hear for over ten years.They are currently trying to propose to the government to provide more funding for CI operations so that more children will receive the benefit.
So we put together a video that chronicles Rhianna's hearing journey from the time that she was signing until the time that she is stringing many words to form complex sentences.It was amazing to see how far she has come and how hard she works to achieve all this.We hope to show people the endless possibilities for these children when they have this miraculous technology.So we are hoping to get free CIs for many more children in this country.
Now, maybe I understand God's plans better.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Recent trip and (not much) photos

So we went to Langkawi Island to spend some times with our family.Rhianna had a blast with all the activities but what she enjoyed most was spending time with her cousins,aunts and uncles and grandparents.
We stayed at Four Point by Sheraton hotel.We loved the hotel.The room was beautiful and enormous and the view was great.

Our balcony view

We went on a boat for mangrove tour and eagle feeding session.We were supposed to go island hopping to the small beautiful surrounding islands but the weather was not very cooperative so we decided to skip the trip.I was actually hoping that we could go fishing ( the last time we did it, we caught a big barracuda )
but we figured safety first since we had children and seniors on the boat (sorry dad!).

Enjoying the mangrove tour
The eagles coming down to feed.The locals said that we could see more eagles if we came in the morning.Since it was already in the afternoon,we just saw maybe 10-20 eagles.Pretty amazing sight.

We also visited the Underwater World where they have a lot of exotic fish (no pictures-you should have figured out that I'm not much of a photographer.These photos were taken with the blackberry only).We spent some times at the animal farm where we fed the deers and rabbits.

Rhianna and Lucy the Australian pony.

The animal lover and her bunny friends.The rabbits all had fat bellies when Rhianna had done feeding!

We all had fun in this beautiful island.Rhianna got to do a lot of swimming in the hotel's gigantic pool.The aloksak works great.Rhianna was singing the whole time she was in the pool.It was lovely to see.Her hearing in the pool also makes my work a lot easier.I had to do a lot of bribery and threat to get her out of the pool,remember?

See that look? Know what I mean?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

We finally did it!

Well,we finally did it! We read stories,watched youtube about others who have done it but we never tried it.Now we finally did it! Well,Rhianna did it.She swam with her CI on...what a glorious day!

I've read about people who let their children bathe or swim or play with the sprinklers with the N5.We have seen people waterproofed their CIs in various method.Aloksak bag,food saver metbod,balloon method but we were too scared to try.We don't have back up processors here.We don't even have insurance for these equipments.We have to pay everything out of our own pocket,.. imagine the fear.

But I'm determined not to let these equipments restrict or compromise my child's lifestyle.I want her to be able to do what other children can do including hearing while swimming.So after some research and thinking,we decided to try the aloksak bag.We found the only supplier in Malaysia and they are in our neighbourhood!

After some trials and errors and lots of complaints from miss R (the headband is too tight,the bag is poking her neck,the magnet won't stick etc) we finally managed it.And she loves it!

We just use one processor for swimming purposes which is the N5.
It is just too hard to get both sides on and the old side is nucleus freedom which is not as waterproof as the N5.So we figure that we'll just use the N5 which is her new side. That way,she could also have more practice listening with just the new side.Smart eh?

So here you go..

With best friend Mr Turtle

The smile is precious..the ability to hear is priceless

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A complaint or a compliment?

So,I don't post as often as I would like to mainly because we're always busy. Another reason is because there's not much to report.

Miss R is doing very well.The only complaints that we get from pre school is she talks too much. That is not really a complaint,more like a compliment to me.I grinned when I heard that. Seriously,my deaf child likes to talk.I love it (most of the times anyway).

We have stopped worrying about her speech and language development.We just continue trying to give her more language experience to further expand her vocabulary.So we have a couple of trips planned.In March we're flying to the beautiful Langkawi island for a lot of fun family activities and in May we're taking a one week road trip to our national park.
It will be fun,fun,fun!

Monday, January 16, 2012

A princess bike and an angry bird cake

It's been a long time since we last posted anything so Happy New Year to everybody!
My (not so little ) girl is doing tremendously well in term of speech and hearing.I can say she is bilingual now even though her Malay is a bit better than her English.

During the long semester break we worked on her reading skills and I'm proud to say that she is now reading very well for a not yet 5 year old.She is reading for both languages and her Malay is better than her English of course as it is very easy to learn to read in Malay.She mastered the CVCV  form in just 2 weeks.I'm so proud of her and she is proud of herself too.She is now fully mainstreamed in normal kindergarten with no special assistance whatsoever and doing very well too.

She speaks in long sentences and has acquired the higher language skills like reasoning,predicting,bargaining and other creative things.She can keep quiet for 3 seconds at one time.Really!We once played  "who can stay quiet"  game in the car during a long drive because everybody need some break from her continuous chatter.She lasted 3 seconds max!
So before this I complained that she doesn't talk,now I complain that she doesn't stop.People say that she is making up for the silent years.I say that she is born to talk and so she talks.I also think that her enjoyment of talking is one of the reasons why she talks so well and catched up very fast with 2 languages.

Another skill that she acquired during the long semester break is riding a bike.She can now pedal and handle her bicycle nicely though still with training wheels.She couldn't pedal before because of her vestibular and proprioception issues but she can now.Guess what happened next?
She requested for a new bike of course!
Her current bike is still so new because she didn't ride before.But being a talker,she talked us into buying her a pink and purple Barbie princess bike with glitter.I don't even know if such thing exists.

So far we are having a good year and looking forward to many new and wonderful things ahead.The only thing is I can't really accept the fact that she'll be 5 years old this May.
How time flies...
Happy New Year !

p/s : and for her birthday she wanted an angry bird birthday cake.The bird must be a pink coloured girl bird with a ribbon on her head.Any ideas?