Monday, July 2, 2012

AG Bell Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona

This past weekend, we went to the AG Bell conference in Scottsdale, Arizona and had such an amazing, inspiring time. While Hannah was experiencing her first child's program on her own, Michael and I attended various sessions such as advances in hearing technology, growing up with a cochlear implant, reading to children and how to have an effective 60 minute therapy session. We had the opportunity to meet and talk with lots of industry leaders including speech therapists, audiologists, early interventionists and parents from around the country, all sharing ideas and best practices. We met extraordinary people full of so much passion and learned so much about different ways to introduce language to Hannah and just how important repetition is. Normal hearing kids hear 24 hours a day, as there are no "earlids" -- so the brain is always absorbing the information channeled through the ear. But for people with hearing aids and cochlear implants, they are missing access to sound when their technologies are turned off.

The best part of the conference was meeting other parents, especially those with children a little older than Hannah and getting their advice on the road ahead. One thing we realized is how lucky we are to be living in New York City where Hannah receives the very best care in her hearing journey. We heard stories of families from the middle of the country who were told that their hearing impaired children would only sign and wouldn't be able to talk and it was the parents who researched and fought hard to get their kids an oral education.

While we know that early implantation is great and important for her overall development, one thing for sure is we will not let Hannah rest on her successes.  We need make sure all of her hearing needs are met throughout her educational career. We are going to be Hannah's strongest advocates to help her be the best she can be, even when the test scores show how well she is doing.

After attending the various sessions, we were able to enjoy some family time where Hannah enjoyed the pools at the resort. While previous pool visits were not here favoirte, the 113 degree temperatures melted away any lingering resistance. We splashed and laughed and eventually Hannah felt safe enough to fall into the water from the side of the pool. We even enjoyed a few trips around the lazy river, though her aqua mics took a trip by themselves. Yikes! Luckily, Michael was able to recover them.

Lazy River at the Westin Resort

"Mom, they need to have candy station at the turns."

We had such an amazing time and would recommend this conference to anyone on the fence thinking about attending.  We loved meeting everyone from Advanced Bionics (Hannah's CI manufacturer) and our new AG Bell family. We can't wait until Disney World in 2014.

1 comment:

  1. It was an enriching trip for all of you. I know that one day Hannah will know and appreciate all that you and Michael have done for her. The most important thing and what gives me the most joy is that fact that you stated that you and Michael will be her strongest advocates. That is a great gift that you give to your daughter.