Our 7th Child’s Voice Podcast was released on November 21, 2018. To listen to the Podcast, please Click Here.
(Transcription at the bottom!)
On episode seven of All Ears at Child’s Voice: A Hearing Loss Podcast, Tatum and Jessica interviewed Child’s Voice parents, Mike and Katie Schroeder.
Mike and Katie are parents to Child’s Voice students, Molly and Beau. (And, as you’ll hear in the episode, at the time of our recording they were preparing to welcome a new member of the family!) Molly and Beau were both born with bilateral hearing loss and wear bilateral cochlear implants. In today’s episode, Mike and Katie share about the ways in which hearing loss has uniquely shaped their family’s lives.
Tune in and you’ll hear Mike and Katie share all about their…
- Experience with first their daughter & then their son being diagnosed with hearing loss
- Choice to pursue cochlear implants
- Dive into the hearing loss community and listening-and-spoken-language world
- Experience with navigating early intervention & then preschool
- And their unique perspective on the role that hearing loss has played in their lives
On today’s episode, we also reference a video featuring one of Molly’s teachers at Child’s Voice, Anna Tess (who also wears cochlear implants), that was recently released by Cochlear. Check out that amazing video here: Click Here
Tatum: Welcome to All Ears at Child’s Voice, a podcast discussing all things hearing loss. We aim to connect parents of children with hearing loss with the professionals who serve them. We’re your hosts. I’m Tatum Fritz.
Jessica: And I’m Jessica Brock. Today’s episode is the last episode of this season, so starting next week we will be taking a hiatus until February. Listen all the way to the end of this episode to hear what’s coming in season 2! This week we will be talking with Mike and Katie Schroeder about their family and their experience with hearing loss. Mike and Katie, thank you so much for being willing to speak with us today about your experiences! Welcome to the show!
Katie: Thank you.
Mike: Great. Happy to be here.
T: Yay. Welcome. So Mike and Katie are parents to two wonderful kids, and actually both Jessica and I have worked with their family through Early Intervention. I worked with the older child and Jessica’s working with the younger child so they’ve been with Child’s Voice a long time. Mike, Katie, do either of you want to tell us, just briefly ‘cause we’ll get more into it in a minute but about your family of four and soon-to-be five.
M: Yep, sure. So four currently…
M: We have two kids. Molly, who is going to be five in December, so I guess what’s that…four and three quarters. She has bilateral cochlear implantation. She was born with profound hearing loss. And our son Beau just turned two and actually two days ago he was activated…he uh…his cochlear implant units were activated. So both of our kids have had cochlear implantation. Both are students at Child’s Voice.
J: Yeah, we are recording this episode very early because Katie is very pregnant now.
J: So, we didn’t want uh…you guys will soon be very outnumbered so we didn’t want to record with three little ones running around so that’s why we are recording now.
K: This is the quietest the house will be in a very long time.
T: Probably the quietest I’ve ever heard it.
J: Katie, do you want to share a little bit with our listeners about your involvement at Child’s Voice?
K: Yeah, so I guess our involvement started when Molly was in tot class at Child’s Voice. And we knew at that time we wanted her to move on to the school portion of Child’s Voice and we were waiting for that, and we decided to get involved with the golf outing at that time, just as a committee member and I was lightly involved and unfortunately didn’t even get to go to our first golf outing because I had our second child, Beau, early.
T: I remember that.
J: I don’t remember that *laughs*
K: Yeah so I started off first with a golf outing and then Molly started in with the school, continued with the golf outing as a Committee Member, moved on to be a co-chair of the Parent Association, and moved on to being a the chair member of the golf outing with my husband, Mike, and now I am the PA president as well.
J: Oh my gosh, so your involvement has gone from light to quite heavy.
K: Yeah it has and you know, we’re so happy to do so because we’re so fortunate that our school district allows our children to go to Child’s Voice and they fully support and fund that. That Mike and I both early on made the decision that if we were able to go to Child’s Voice we wanted to make sure we were giving back as much as possible. You know, we’re fortunate we can go there. We can go there through our school district and we’re fortunate enough, fortunate for everything the school does for us.
M: And we like doing it.
M: And, you guys make it easy for us.
K: And we get to meet more families, you know more families just like ours so it’s always a great opportunity.
J: Well, I love that. That’s awesome. We really appreciate all of what you give back to us.
J: Do you guys want to share like a story from the week, a cute one, or I know you asked like should it be cute or heart-wrenching, either one is fine.
M: So Beau’s the big one, because two days ago, he got…he got turned on as we say so that’s been a fun little observation for us.
T: Yeah, that’s exciting.
M: But pretty much every day you get like a glimpse of what’s going on at school or what’s being discussed from what Molly brings home, and last night we were playing outside and she’s like, “Dad, do you have hearing loss?” I’m like, “I don’t. Do you?” And she’s like, “I do, see,” and she’s like, “You can see my implants and Beau does too cause he has implants too.” So that was I thought something we’re discussing and she’s never said that before. Yeah, but then last night, we’re playing a board game. She’s like, “Dad, I’m working really hard to go to the mainstream. I gotta go to the mainstream.” So it’s just, I mean it’s coming up in conversation at school. So with her she’s only been going full time for like…it’s her second year there. Yeah, just to see like the personal growth she’s had is pretty fun.
J: That’s awesome.
K: Yeah, it’s really, it’s really cool. Especially, you know now with having her little brother being activated and having his external devices on and visible. She thinks it’s really cool. You know, you’re just like me, you have implants, special ears, like me. So she has her little buddy, buddies, at school, but she has one at home as well. Where as Mike and I don’t have a hearing loss. So we are a little bit different from Molly but, you know, she has a connection to Beau, which is really, really cool.
T: Yeah, that’s a really special connection. That’s so cool how they get…like when they’re old enough to start understanding their own identity and I like that Child’s Voice like helps them learn that, like that’s part of the curriculum, like to understand their identity.
K: Well also I think, Molly’s in a very special position at Child’s Voice because she has a teacher, Miss Anna, that has hearing loss and has, you know, external devices that Molly can relate to. She doesn’t see many, if any adults, out in our everyday lives that have that so she’s able to connect to Ms. Anna on a different level and I think and she’s just a phenomenal role model to Molly.
M: I think we…
T: Did you see that video of Anna?
K: Yeah, that is awesome. We sent it out.
M: Yeah, you have to link that to the podcast.
T: Yeah, it was so cool.
T: I was thinking we should put it on her episode that’s coming up.
J: Oh yeah.
T: In the show notes. This will be before this is out. We’ll cut that part because it will be confusing but yeah it looks really cool.
M: When she asked me that yesterday it was the first time, number one, said the terms hearing loss, but also like identify that like maybe like Mom and Dad don’t have cochlear implants, you know. Which is something we didn’t think, I mean you’re going to get to that point eventually, right? But it’s something, you don’t think about stuff like that if you’re not living through it.
J: Yeah, I ran into her– Molly at Child’s Voice the other day and this was before Beau had his implants activated and she was like Beau is getting and she like pointed to her…and I can’t…what’s the term you guys…
J: His hearings. Beau is getting his hearings like me.
K: Yeah. She started that. When she’s started calling calling them her hearings, you know, it’s gone anywhere from special ears to hearings to my implants. She has a lot of different names for them. We just kind of go with it.
M: Water ears. Sparkle Ears.
T: I like sparkle ears.
T: Hearings. It’s funny. It sounds like earrings.
T: These are my hearings today.
K: Yeah. She’s funny.
J: A cute kid, for sure.
T: Yeah. I see her every once in awhile. I mean she doesn’t remember me, but she’s so tall and like grown up looking now. Yeah, whenever I see her walking around I’m like kind of snooping on her. Kind of see what she’s doing.
M: You had her as a baby.
T: Yeah, I know.
J: Okay, so let’s back up to before you learned that Molly had hearing loss. What was your experience with hearing loss prior to Molly’s diagnosis
K & M together: None.
K: I mean to be very honest. I don’t, we really don’t know anyone in our close circle of friends or family that have a significant hearing loss and something moving forward, more that started early on, and I think we knew some people, grandparents age, that had some hearing aids…
M: Cause they’re old…
K: But due to well their age. Yeah, but no one, it was non existent.
T: What did you like when you heard about hearing loss or like thought about kids with hearing loss, what did you think that a kid with hearing loss would look like or did you have any thoughts?
M: Uh…different kid. Here, this is my word… my spew…different kids, sign language, can’t speak, I guess.
K: You know, I never I think I know I had seen cochlear implants, but I don’t now looking back, I remember I have, but never really connecting to it probably what their their full benefit is and what they actually do. But no, I would go with Mike on it, you know, just…nonverbal sign language…you know, that’d probably be it.
M: I mean, I know effectively nothing about the deaf community or hearing loss or speaking, cochlear…I never heard of a cochlear implant. Never…I can’t remember ever seeing one before so I mean now we see them everywhere because, number one, we kind of roll in that circle but two, you’re in heightened awareness, we’re like just like walking down the street and you’re like hey man…
T: Yeah, I always notice when I see people…
K: Yeah. And so does our family too now. Yeah, you know when Molly was first diagnosed theses stories would pop up all over the place. Like Mike’s mom was somewhere going on an airplane and she noticed that the child in front of her had cochlear implants and she was so excited to come home and tell us about it, you know and just like, you know, it not only changed our kind of world it changed our families and only for the better, you know, just put you into an extended community right away like it or not. And we love it.
J: When did you, when did they first tell you about cochlear implants as a possibility?
K: Our first appointment when she was fully diagnosed downtown at Lurie’s our audiologist, who is just wonderful. We absolutely adore her. She threw it out right away. You know, there’s this is a possibility and she’s also the one right away that’s same appointment told us about Child’s Voice and that next couple days I went online and reached out and made an appointment with Rollen.
J: Oh my gosh.
K: Yeah, so we, you know right away we learned about cochlear implants, researching it. Right away, we learned about Child’s Voice, you know, looking it up and even going a step further and we went and took a tour. You know that point Molly hadn’t even started in-home services, hadn’t even gotten an MRI, hadn’t even looked at cochlear implants, and we were already there.
M: Yeah, she was up…so she was diagnosed fully at 31 days.
M: So she was real real reall little.
T: Right at the month.
M: So she, I mean she the progression as kind of like she I guess failed her hearing screening in the hospital as a newborn, and failed again. Then was still kind of tracking like a…like nothing at all at the pediatrician like at three or four days.
K: Yeah, nothing at all.
M: So we saw a local audiologist who did some, you know, further testing and screening and then she was one of those like you guys might want to go up the ladder a bit as far as resources and care providers are concerned. So that’s how we got hooked up downtown. And…here we are. Yeah.
J: It sounds like both of your personalities were like, let’s learn everything we can like as soon as possible. Was that kind of both of your mentalities or did one of you process at like a different rate or how is that…like emotionally and then taking steps?
K: I think emotionally we both processed it a little bit differently, but I think as far as wanting to know what this was going to look like for not only just us but more importantly for Molly.
K: We were both, you know fast-moving. You know, let’s figure this out. What is it? What’s this going to look like for Molly? Where do we go next? And what’s the next five steps after that? Cause we want to know.
M: I think when she was diagnosed and it’s pretty…it was pretty emotional time for us, but they…they do the diagnosis and then they go right into your options there. Look she’s a candidate for this…for cochlear implantation with unbelievable outcomes and I mean regular hearing, speech…and at that point I was like, all right, let’s go. That was it, I mean we could have left right at that point. I mean that’s the way we were going. It’s kind of the decision we made because…hearing and speech were something we’ve certainly enjoyed through our lives and if we had that option we were going to for sure go after it.
T: Yeah, and it also fits your family makeup. Yeah guys can hear and talk. So it makes sense that you’d want your kids to be able to hear and talk.
T: So was it overwhelming at all when you first like learned?
K: Oh, yeah.
T: But like what was the most overwhelming, like was it the the surgery, was it…
K: I think the unknown.
K: You know of course we were researching or reading about it, but it was still unknown to us. We didn’t experience…we’ve never experienced it nor had any family or friends experience it so I would say the unknown about it.
M: Yeah, I remember. Right after we went to the local audiologist. That was when it first set in that like Molly may have something profound here, something significant. And I remember driving back and like all of a sudden it hits you like what if, you know, we have this beautiful baby daughter, like what if we never hear her speak or say I love you, or she doesn’t get to enjoy music, which has always been important for me, or like go to a father-daughter dance to the full capacity, stuff like that, that just like this is what when you don’t know it’s like the stuff that flies in your brain and it was a pretty, pretty emotional time like at that point.
J: So it sounds like the unknown was kind of what led you to figure out what was going to happen next. Then you went to child’s voice and you saw tons of kids with cochlear implants and did that kind of like ease you a little bit?
K: Hundred percent.
J: Seeing other….
K: You know, we went to so many different classrooms and levels of classroom and these little children stand up and introduce themselves to you and I’m standing there meeting a four or five or six year old and they’re introducing themselves to me with their age and some of them had a better spoken language than my niece and nephews who have full hearing. So I think that was just so eye-opening that wow.
M: I mean, I think you said ease. It went from like kind of like a grief period to like a lot of hope and excitement about what, where this could go, just, I mean we were talking about earlier like you could you can read about swimming all day but you can’t swim unless you get the water…like you could read about hearing loss, cochlear… but once you see it and see the kids that are going through this and become part of this community, it’s just not, it’s not the full effect I don’t think and that’s what we got from going to visit that one time.
J: Yeah. So then next you get involved in early intervention, you start doing therapies…eventually into the toddler class. And then, do you want to talk a little bit about that like the early intervention process or do you want to kind of jump ahead to where Molly is now? Either one is fine.
M: I think we should address it because it’s a step in the process and I think for the listeners here who may be going through it themselves, like it’s that’s kind of the first, the next step, I guess is rolling out all of our options, knowing what you’re dealing with, getting official diag-, I mean, it’s not, it’s not an overnight thing.
M: Part of this road is patience and you know, we… Jess and me talk about that a lot. There’s timelines that are in place that are kind of rigid and that’s the way it is.
K: And I think right now we’re in an exciting fun stage. Because our kids are really exploring their new world and doing really really well but some of the earlier stages of the in-home therapy visits and maybe the early intervention is kind of the tedious…where it’s like we’re doing Ling sounds again. When, when, when are we going to graduate from Ling sounds? When am I going to and you don’t, and you don’t. You forget about how important those early stages are because they’re developing such a fundamental base for where my kids are at now, but there is at times when you know one individually or another Mike and I are looking at each other and are like what is this doing? Like, how is this making Molly or Beau better? Well, and you know, what are we benefiting here?
M: Yeah, and I mean early intervention for those who don’t know maybe, it’s usually it’s in-home therapy and we also had a, we were in the early intervention class at Child’s Voice too. So Molly was getting at that point three hours of work per week I guess, two hours at Child’s Voice. Well, actually probably more than that, probably more like four or five. Yeah. She’s going to two classes at Child’s Voice and then one in home.
T: One from us in home and then she had another therapy.
K: Yeah. Yeah.
J: So that’s seven.
T: It’s a lot to fit into your schedule.
M: It is.
J: And you guys both work.
M: Yeah, they always say life gets in the way…but really there’s time there’s not…but I’m sure like when it’s 5:30 in the morning and you guys are like downtown and you guys have to come to our house…excuse me, want to come to our house…
J: We want to come.
M: I know I know.
M: It’’s a commitment. But I mean, it’s just like when I think I like to think every parent understands it just it’s just like innate, like you just do what you can for your kids. There’s no questions asked here. At least not in this house.
K: But we also have been very fortunate enough that we have our parents who have really stepped up and they take, have or take, our kids to the tot class at Child’s Voice and it’s Mondays and Wednesdays 9:30 to noon. Of course Mike and I help out as we can or when our parents are gone, but 99% of the time it’s the grandparents taking Molly and Beau to the tot class. You know, we work full-time. We can’t, we can’t do that as much as we know they need it, but we’re very fortunate that our Parents can help.
J: Yeah, rallying support from your family….
K: It’s key.
J: …has got to be so helpful, but also credit yourselves. I mean you’re sitting through therapy sessions in the afternoons or waking up early and…
T: Getting up, getting ready.
M: And they’re kids. You know, a two-year-old can flip, you know, attitude at any second.
K: Yes, we all know that.
J: I think one of the difficult parts of early intervention, you know, you were saying it’s so tedious and what is this doing? You are laying the foundation for so much that it’s hard to…it’s hard to know when you haven’t been through those later years, like what that looks like but also like they’re kids and you kind of just want them to be kids and it’s like…it’s frustrating at times to see them kind of struggling through learning a new activity or a new task when you know other kids don’t necessarily have to sit through that.
J: Yeah, has that thought…
M: We ask a lot of them but that’s probably not hit on enough, these kids work extremely hard, all of them, you know, but also laying down the foundation, I mean turnaround for the present day and you see our four-year-old taking our two year old though Ling exercises. Like it’s it’s pretty cool to see so yeah, so there’s that.
K: Yeah, and we are asking going back to what you said, we are asking a lot of them but in the end this is only going to benefit them. They might not recognize it now, but they will at one point.
T: Yeah, but you guys said earlier about like patience. I can remember like how long it took Molly to get to those two word utterances and yeah, like every week you guys were like why isn’t she saying these yet? But you’re so right it’s like laying, like getting to that first step so now she can be talking in sentences.
K: Yeah, and I guess like the one of the most important things is you always have to trust the professionals being you guys, people at Child’s Voice, people at Lurie’s, you know, it’s easy for me to get frustrated or discouraged because I’m not immediately seeing the progress I want to see but you got to trust the professionals they’re going to get you there.
M: Yeah, actually Dr. Dawn Violetto on an earlier podcast not is that I think too a lot of people don’t understand that you, you don’t just throw a cochlear implant on, flip a switch and everything’s great. We know how to hear. We know how to speak like…She used the example of like, of course, a kid doesn’t know go bang on the drums, because he doesn’t know what a drum is and he doesn’t know what it sounds like. It’s just not, it’s not an immediate. It’s not a quick fix, you know, and it’s it takes a long time and you know, now Molly’s doing great. Her speech is so so far advanced from where it was even six months ago that you could kind of see that coming through but it’s like any experience, you got earn it, you can’t just go buy it. Be in a good spot that way.
K: It would be nice but you can’t do it.
T: That would be nice.
J: Looking back on Molly’s early intervention experience and now Beau’s and I’m a little bit biased because I’m Beau’s therapist so I’m searching for answers here. But like what was helpful for you for Molly like not knowing what the future kind of looked like from your early intervention therapists, like what were you kind of looking for, what helped you feel more comfortable and at ease with like the process? Does anything stand out or were you just kind of like reminding yourself to trust them?
M: No, I think. We’ve just been through it before. We knew the process, we knew what we were looking for, which made it, at times, I think less dramatic for lack of a better word…
J: The second time.
M: About here is that we’re like alright, we’ve seen this before. I don’t know. What do you think?
K: Yeah. I mean, I think we knew the process but we also knew what the potential outcome is. So it’s like all right. We gotta bite the bullet. We’re going to do this. Like you said we’re getting up early so we can have therapy sessions at 7:00 in the morning. We’re going to do it because we see where Molly is today and we want Beau to be where Molly is at that age. If not better. You know, and so as a parent you want to do everything you can for your kids in this situation you just got to trust the process and go with the process.
M: And I think too, Usually the kids really enjoy…
K: They do.
M: This morning because of Beau’s surgery, Jess hadn’t been here in a couple weeks. Her car pulls up, Beau sees it through the window and sprint’s to the window and starts banging on it to get her to come in. He likes it. It’s fun. So that makes it, it makes it a good experiences. Yeah for like across the board. That was yeah.
T: Yeah, it is a lot of work for them but we do try to keep it as like fun and developmentally appropriate as possible.
J: At the end of the day like it is structure being imposed on their day that wouldn’t be otherwise.
T: It would not be there otherwise so it is a commitment on all of your parts.
J: Yeah, yeah.
T: Should we move on to talk about Beau’s initial diagnosis, kind of like contrast it with Molly’s. How was the process different, how did your feelings differ?
K: I think a lot of the initial emotions were taken out of it. Not that we weren’t emotional about it, but we were prepared for it. You know, Mike and I had conversations about what if this baby has hearing loss and I think it was more of going the other way. It was what if this baby doesn’t have hearing loss because that’s what we were so used to and you know, so we were kind of prepared for that and we had already talked to our audiologist about hey what happens if we fail the hearing screening, what do you want us to do. You know with Molly they came in there, “don’t worry about it. This happens a lot, we can retest.” And then what Beau, you know, they start the same spiel and we’re like no don’t worry about, we got it. I’d already texted our audiologist. We’re good, you know, so we were ready for it, you know, if he didn’t great, if he did great. Either way, we were going to move forward.
J: Yeah, yeah.
T: Same for you?
M: No, I mean, it was interesting. I remember being in the hospital when you were with Beau and I mean like, man, I mean, what if he or she does have hearing cause like that’s all we knew is 2 and 1/2 years of hearing loss. And now we know almost five years of hearing loss, right? So with number three on the way here soon. It’s kind of, that’s kind of stirring up again. Yeah, but I don’t know I mean…
K: But we’re going to go with what we have…
M: Yeah, I mean, yeah whatever. It doesn’t change the perspective very much…
K: I think our kids will be confused if the baby doesn’t have hearing loss.
M: You know, I had that same thought but our kids are so socially ingrained with their cousins, dance, soccer, there’s kids all over the place that they…that they are with…
K: They mix with both…
M: That don’t have hearing loss, don’t have external apparati, etc., you know where they see that all day a Child’s Voice like that’s.. I don’t know if It’s going to be a big deal or not. We’ll see. That will be next year’s podcast at this time.
J: Tune in
M: Stay tuned those of you listening at home.
J: Um.. yeah, I think with that, that fear of the unknown kind of being taken out of it, It makes sense that you’re a little sort of like we know what the next step is.
J: Okay so fast forward Beau just got activated, I know it’s super recent. But what are your kind of like thoughts now? He’s just turned two, he has his implants…I know for you guys like what you shared with me is that you’re just like excited for this next step because it took a little while for him to get there, right?
M: Yeah. So Beau, yeah, that’s the other thing we haven’t mentioned yet Beau’s hearing loss was not as, was not as significant as Molly’s…
K: At the start
M: At the start right, which it did progressively get worse, but he was born with a moderate hearing loss. It was a moderate hearing loss. So, whereas Molly, we were talking about this from week four of her life, Beau, it took… he didn’t even get implanted until about 26 or 27 months old. So there’s that. You know, it’s weird. I have such a bad memory for like the first couple days of Molly getting activated because it has been, I mean just over 48 hours now and I’m like come on Beau, you want to go listen to some music or something? I’m as bad as the people that like don’t understand at all maybe.
K: Oh, I think he’s doing you know, he’s doing great. I think it’s different than Molly’s because Molly was so much younger and you know, like we said Beau’s a little over two. So we’re comparing two different situations where Beau’s at the start putting them on even every morning, he’s a little scared initially. You got to give them a minute to calm down, relax, you know, adjust to them where I don’t remember that with Molly.
J: Probably not, she was so young when she first got them.
K: Yes. She was one year and one day when she was first implanted. So I think I’m just trying to, trying to look back and remember one, every kid is different, every scenario is different, and just trying to remember that and work with him as… and I need to go at his pace.
J: I will say though that he’s already noticing when they fall off, which is insane. Two days out that doesn’t happen all that often.
K: Yeah, but I think he’s in a unique situation that he’s watched his sister do this for so long.
T: Yeah, taking it off and putting it on
K: Yeah, and he’s an observant little guy. He really is. He’s devious and observant. That he’s watched sister for so many, for so long work with hers and do what she needs to do with her ears, I call them ears. So I think it’s only a natural thing for him. Oh, it fell off. I got to put them back on.
T: That, that is crazy though.
J: He made this, it fell off once during our session this morning, and he made this adorable, little surprised face and then turned his back to me, like put it put it on for me. It fell off. Fix it.
K: Like yeah, and he even tried to do it himself. Like wow. Yeah.
J: Yeah, he’s awesome.
T: That’s amazing.
J: Yeah, so I know you guys are like kind of rearing to go with Beau, and now that he’s got his, he’s getting his access to sound but he’s really I mean, he’s really doing quite well.
K: We just gotta remember to go at his pace, not Molly’s pace, not our pace, but Beau’s pace.
T: Yeah, that’s a really good point to not compare children though I’m sure it’s very hard.
K: Yeah, yeah.
J: And like you said every kid is different, even from the same family and even if they had been implanted on the exact same day, they both were implanted at a year old like they’re just different kids and they’re gonna progress differently.
T: What about… let’s swing back to Molly maybe and talk about like her experience in school. So she’s been in preschool at Child’s Voice. How’s that going? We kind of touched on it a little bit already. But like how does that feel like from your end of things. In early intervention, you’re so involved, you’re at every session. How is that like differ from school?
K: For one, she loves it. Absolutely adores going to school. She almost gets disappointed on the weekends when she has to stay home with us.
M: She totally does. Every day of the week she asks what she is doing tomorrow, when’s my bus coming.
K: She didn’t like the summer. Well she loves swimming in summer, but she also didn’t like the fact that she didn’t go to school. So she loves it. It’s kind of different because we’ve been so hands-on with Molly, with tot class and home intervention and this and that, where she’s becoming such a strong independent little girl with the support and help of Child’s Voice that I’m…I’m having a hard time like letting her go and do it. But also at the same time it’s so awesome to see her come home and tell me what she did that day. And we’re studying for vocabulary tests on every Friday and she is not even five years old, you know. But she’s doing great. She’s becoming her own independent person. They’re really teaching her to be her own self advocate and she is learning so much.
J: She…what did she do this morning for the first time with her implants? She put her…
K: So she recently changed from disposable batteries to rechargeable batteries, and she had the disposable batteries down, how to change them. She knew how to do it. She could do it on her own. Well now with the rechargeable batteries, she really hadn’t gotten the hang of it. It’s only been like three days and she did it today for the first time on her own and she was so proud of herself.
M: From start to finish.
K: Yeah, but that’s the thing, these are the things that school’s teaching her. She has to do these things on her own. She has to know how to do this for when she is mainstreamed and she knows that. You know, she talks about it and she was so excited to go tell her teachers today that she did it.
T: That’s so cool to hear…like I mean in early intervention the kids are so young. They obviously don’t know what the goal is but like that she knows what she’s working toward and is motivated on her own.
K: Yeah. Yeah.
T: Where with the early intervention, It’s all about your motivating them. That’s so cool.
J: Yeah, with bubbles and Play-Doh, try to get through every five minutes. And then like in a few years, she’s like, “I’m going to the mainstream,” and that’s her motivation. That’s a mature, a mature thing. That’s really cool.
T: Is there anything that you guys felt like we’ve missed, thoughts that you want to share….
J: I remember you guys saying something about like you had some weird not omens but something like that the house that you bought or something.
K: Oh my God. He’s…
M: Yeah. Our house! So before…
K: Mike’s conspiracy theories…
T: I’ve never heard this before…
M: Before…I might leave one experience out. Before we had kids, when we were looking at the house we live in, we noticed there was like weird lights in some of the bedrooms and we asked the realtor or somebody when doing the inspection, what’s this all about? And he was like a previous owner had…
K: Her sister…
M: Or her sister had hearing loss, so this is in case the fire alarm goes off, the doorbell rings. We’re like okay and sure enough, here we are.
K: And then I think and then I think beyond that the owners before that had a child with some level of hearing loss. Yeah, and yeah, like there’s just like these little things really…
J: Something about the house
T: Giving you little hints
K: And then around town we’ve run into some interesting situations, but it just is really funny. Mike’s like it’s something in the paint. I’m like, no, it’s not, relax.
J: Tell them, tell your future buyers.
J: Just so you know. So from there to now, from not knowing anything about hearing loss to being really sort of ingrained in the community and having two really just wonderful little kiddos, how has like hearing loss changed you guys and your family, challenges, positives, good things, bad things?
M: I mean for our immediate family, it’s pretty much framed it. I mean at this point, it’s pretty much your kids’ lives become your own and that’s… that’s the world we live in with that but we just really like being part of the Child’s Voice community, if not, the entire…
K: Child’s Voice, the deaf community…
M: It’s not, It’s not tasking for us to get involved here. I mean, it’s… we really like it. I think we see how much our kids like it and how much they’ve grown. So that’s…that’s been a positive thing. I think a positive surprise too is like we’ve really worked hard. Actually we haven’t worked hard. We just asked our family and friends to get involved and they’ve done it, it may, you teach yourself and you see, you know Katie mentioned our parents taking our kids to the tot class but we’ve…They go to graduation every year. They’ve been out to the Walk For Hearing. They’ve been to the golf outing and we’ve had friends get involved, which was just, we’re trying to spread the word and show them what we, kind of we’re all about too and it’s… the response has been awesome.
K:I think some other unexpected positives, you know, we’ve kind of talked about this…that you know, there’s so many milestones as a parent of a typical hearing child that you look forward to and want your kids to meet and exceed and, you know, reach but I think parents of children with hearing loss, we get additional milestones that we kind of get to see and meet and talk about so I think it’s it’s only been a positive for us. There’s so many more opportunities that I think we’re experiencing that we never would have before
J: That’s truly an incredible perspective.
T: Yeah. I’ve never heard it like that.
K: You know my sister who has three boys, you know, she’s never been to an audiology appointment when her child has been activated to hear the very first time, you know. While some people take hearing for granted, you know, this is something that’s very near and dear to our heart. So watching Beau get activated for the first time was just amazing and he didn’t have this huge, grand reaction, but just watching those little eyes perk up and look around the room. He was so scared so you’re trying not to like draw more attention to it. But you know, he’s hearing it and he’s searching for it. But he’s so afraid. He had his head on my shoulder. He was so afraid to take it off my shoulder, but he heard it and that’s that’s something that’s so unbelievable to witness and for it to be your own child, even better that parents of children with typical hearing, they don’t get that and we do.
J: That’s really cool.
T: Like the gratitude of each little milestone. Like all parents obviously get excited about their first word…
K: But there was a time with Molly that we didn’t know if we’d have that. You know, we didn’t know if she would hear us call her name. We didn’t know if we would hear her say our names, you know. We, I never… Molly and Mike love music; these two watch concerts together non-stop. But we at that point we didn’t know if we would have that opportunity and we do now so, you know, by just doing these little activities or having those activation appointments or hearing Molly say her first word, which is a little bit different than maybe a typical hearing child. It’s really really great.
J: You guys worked really hard for all of those milestones too like yeah, you know, we say we work the kids really hard, but it’s also you guys being so involved and willing to trust professionals even on days of you’re like ahh I don’t want to….So give yourselves credit because really an hour a week with me or with Tatum doesn’t compare at all to what you guys are doing with them everyday.
K: It’s a team effort. I mean really we have a support team of family, a support team of friends, a support team at Child’s Voice, a support team of Children’s, Lurie. You know, it’s…it’s a team effort. So we appreciate it and we don’t take it for granted by any means. And we’ll always make sure our children know that as well.
T: It sounds like Molly is appreciative at least.
K: She is.
T: Maybe Beau will get there.
J: He sat on my lap for a bit today and then immediately was like…
T: And he was excited to see you.
J: He was excited to see me today.
T: I can remember Molly running to the window sometimes. I could see her from my car.
K: Oh yeah, the neighborhood watch.
J: They’ll both stand at the window, little blonde kids…
T: So maybe before we close out do we want to ask maybe for advice. Do you guys have any advice for other families, anybody listening or even professionals like whatever advice you want to lay out there for our listeners?
M: You know, for the other Child’s Voice families specifically, I would say, obviously being attached to the Parents Association I’m a little biased, but do step out of your comfort zone as much as you can to get involved. Come out to the golf outing, go to the fall gala. Go to graduation, go to the holiday program because that’s where you see…the speeches given by the graduates is the most amazing thing you’ll ever see. It really is awesome and these, I mean, forget about the fact that these kids who were born without, may be born without hearing, have hearing loss, get up and give a speech. They also read it in front of like a couple hundred people at five to seven years old.
T: It’s a lot of people.
M: I mean, I don’t know…I can count on two hands in a minute how many adults I know who can’t do that. And the kids get up and do that. So get involved, be present, and invite your friends and family. Get involved on social media, retweet, hashtag, like on the Instagram because that’s what gets the word out.
T: Listen to our podcast.
M Listen to the podcast! You know, it’s… you know, obviously we’re leading the parade hard here because we’re part of a part of the community but it really…Child’s Voice is such a world-class organization. And we want to do everything we can to support and get the word out and keep making it better because the other things you guys aren’t is stagnant. I mean this. You guys are moving forward at a pretty pretty good clip it feels like so…
K: but for the families are maybe are just starting this process, you know, don’t just sit behind a computer and research it. You got to experience it. You’ve got to live it. You got to know it. So get involved go to the walk for hearings, meet some families, you know, they can be a great support system for you, at Child’s Voice and not at Child’s Voice. It doesn’t matter. You just gotta make sure that you are experiencing this world with your children and expanding upon it as much as possible because you’re never going to do that behind the computer just reading about cochlear implantation or in-home therapy. You really gotta put yourself in the situation.
J: That is very good advice.
M: And be patient
T: Yes, that came up a lot.
M: It’s a long, long road,
K: It is but it’s a rewarding road. It really is. To see our daughter come home every day so excited tell us about…that she went to Miss Tina, which is speech and what they did there or we’re talking about silos this week as we’re talking about the farm in class.
K: you know all these great clips and everything from school. It’s great.
T: Okay, why don’t we wrap up there after I learned that new word. Actually, you know that reminds me of the day we were teaching Molly like what wood was. Do you remember that? I still remember that.
M: Yeah, the table.
T: She got like really interested into what wood was cause we were doing like a discrimination task.
M: Yeah, it was the table.
T: We went around the whole house and we were like this is not wood, this is not wood.
K: I don’t remember that.
J: Last week, you guys have heard this story twice but last week she was like looking at my car keys and we were talking about cars or whatever and she’s like do you have a garage or something about what button opens your garage or something. And I was like, I don’t have a garage and she goes, (sighs)“Ms. Jessa, you need a garage.”
T: I wish I had a garage.
J: tell my landlord. I’ll march you down…
T: We live in the city, Molly. Come shovel…
J: Endless cute Molly and Beau stories but we do have to wrap up.
T: Yeah, let’s wrap up. So thank you for being on.
T: Why don’t we go through our call to action and our social media?
J: Listeners, we would love to hear your reactions from today’s episode. You can email us at email@example.com and you can find episode show notes and archived episodes at our Child’s Voice website, childsvoicesho.wpengine.com/podcast.
T: Yeah, so be sure to let us know your thoughts on the topic today. Also, if you’re like a parent was it helpful to hear another parent perspective, what’s your own perspective? What part of the process are you at? And so yeah. Thank you for joining us for another episode of All Ears at Child’s Voice. As we said earlier this is our last episode of season 1 and we are going on a hiatus until February. Next season we will be talking about bilingualism and hearing loss, the public education system and IEPs, other modes of communication including sign language, and more.
J: You can find us on Twitter and Instagram. I’m @JessicaBrockSLP, and Tatum is @TatumFritzSLP.
T: And if you’re interested in learning more about Child’s Voice, Child’s Voice is on Facebook as well as Twitter and Instagram with the handle @childs_voice, no apostrophe.
J: We’ll see you next time. Bye. And from our friends at Child’s Voice.
Child’s Voice Students: Bye, thanks for listening.