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Natural Communication, Inc.
P.O.Box 36412  
Canton, OH  44708
webmaster@nciohio.com

 
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Kristina was diagnosed with a severe to profound hearing loss at the age of 14 months. We met a woman who brought her nine year old hearing impaired son over to our house one afternoon. We were amazed at his ability to communicate. His speech was very clear  and we immediately became excited about the prospects for our daughter's future in the hearing world.

As fate would have it, there was an Auditory-Verbal International conference a mere ten miles from our house only six weeks after Kristina's initial diagnosis. As we attended this event, we became quite overwhelmed, but at the same time, we knew that this was the answer for our little girl.

At the beginning, Kristina pulled out her hearing aids countless times every day. We were told that if she pulls them out of her ears, we should immediately put them back in. Patience finally won out and after three months, she began her true hearing life.

Her verbal sounds came slowly at first, but her receptive language grew by leaps and bounds. At eight months hearing age (two years old), Kristina knew twenty-one body parts, eight colors, and she was beginning to followkrisaud (807034 bytes) directions. We saw her as a "language sponge" since she would soak up anything and everything. Spending nearly one hour a day reading to Kristina, it is not surprising that her language began to grow from her love of books. Being an only child, trips in the car always had one parent in the back seat with Kristina to read to her or explain the world around us.

By the time Kristina turned three years old, her therapists and audiologists noticed a large gap between her receptive and expressive language. They suggested that a cochlear implant might help her fill in the missing linkages with her speech. We took this decision very seriously and spent a lot of time and energy researching this issue. Also, Kristina was considered a "borderline" case since she was receiving some benefit from her hearing aids. Up to this point, cochlear implants were reserved only for people who were getting little from hearing aids. We decided that this was the right decision for Kristina and she was implanted with a Clarion S-Series cochlear implant on July 25, 1997.

Kristina was "turned on" August 15th. At first, she did not react very strongly to the cochlear implant. Our mistaken expectations were that she would immediately begin recogizing sound more readily with her new implant. She wore both the hearing aids and the implant. After five days, Kristina took out the hearing aids and said, "I don't need these anymore, Mommy." Her work as a true hearing child with hearing aids was of great benefit and was immediately transferrable to her new ability to hear. Because of the Auditory-Verbal training, her brain had been stimulated to listen and hear. We did not experience any regression because of Kristina's strong listening skills and proper tuning (i.e. mapping) of her cochlear implant.

Two weeks later, Kristina began Montessori school at the age of three and one half years old. She is the only hearing impaired child in this mainstream school.  Today, Kristina is six and one half years old and is doing great! She has just begun first grade and is more than keeping pace with her hearing peers. Kristina enjoys reading and math and especially conducting little science experiments. She has also expressed a strong interest in learning the Spanish language at school. Over the past year, Kristina's social skills have dramatically improved and she has several close friends, all of whom are not hearing impaired. They are able to play for hours at a time without any difficulty communicating. After school, Kristina enjoys Girl Scouts, music class, tennis lessons and swimming. Our family and our lives are not much different than others in our community - in fact, our lives are quite "normal". We strongly believe that Kristina's hearing impairment will be nothing more than a small inconvenience in her life

Kristina is truly a spirited and enthusiastic little girl who knows there is nothing that she cannot do!