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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Since she was an orphan living in a special needs orphanage, she didn't have anyone to advocate for her...to help her get the aids she needed.


kay...this is cool.
As we were nearing the one year mark of Maddie having her hearing aids, I started to wonder just how much her speech has improved. I knew there had to have been a change, but it wasn't until I pulled up the video and compared them side by side that it struck me JUST. HOW. MUCH. clearer she talks.
To truly understand how significant getting the hearing aid was for her, you have to remember...
For the first four years of her life, Maddie was living in an orphanage in Odessa, Ukraine. She was born without any external ears (bilateral microtia) and since she was an orphan living in a special needs orphanage, she didn't have anyone to advocate for her...to help her get the aids she needed. (The thought makes me ill.)
So she lived day to day without any hearing...at all. (For more on Maddie's story, check out our adoption blog -->
Finding Maddie)
Day after day, she lived in the orphanage...in the midst of a noisy environment, in an almost completely silent world.
Think about how much more difficult it was for her to get a worker's attention with her mouth is deformed...her ears nonexistent....her speech slurred? How could she get their attention when she was sick, hungry or afraid?
How horrible it must have been to feel the wrath of an angry orphanage worker who is upset because the little girl didn't do what she was told?
Maddie couldn't HEAR the directions.
She had no idea what the other children and people around her were saying. Unless she could see them...FACE. TO. FACE. And what she COULD hear sounded an awful lot like Charlie Brown's teacher. Sort of like
this. (click on moderate hearing loss)
And since you can't pronounce what you can't hear, her caregivers couldn't understand her...and for the first few months after we brought her home, neither could I.
Since she was missing out on all of the consonants and a lot of the vowel sounds, her speech was incredibly distorted.
Missing ending consonants.
Mispronounced consonants...
Totally wrong consonants in the first place.
Add to that the language change and you have a recipe for disaster.
Thankfully, Maddie doesn't believe in disasters! :)
From the minute she was fitting with the hearing aid her speech took off.
I know many of you will be tempted to think a year is what made the difference.
'She's grown up,' you'll say. 'Of course she can pronounce things better.'
Or... 'She had just come home from Ukraine. She still her accent!'
Umm...no. I am here to tell you - the HEARING AIDS are what made all the difference. Well, that and her speech teacher, Stephanie.
And a huge difference it is.
This first video is from two days after she was fitting with her first hearing aid. The second is a just 365 days later (yesterday afternoon! :).



21 salty messages:

MindFul MiMi April 11, 2009 at 3:12 AM  

Just discovered your little girl and she is amazing. How heartwarming are those video's! She is so cute. Good job for giving her a normal life. It is wonderful to see her react to the hearing aids :-)

Michelle April 11, 2009 at 5:20 AM  

wow! what a big difference! when she said "one" i was like WHOA this girl sounds totally normal! you can't even tell til the later numbers that she even has a speech problem, which i could hear through because my "little" sister (who is now in college! AGH!) saw a speech therapist for years. she didn't have any physical problem, she just talked weird.

Maddie sure is growing up! in my mind i still see that little girl you got from the orphanage, but she's certainly grown in many ways since coming home.

she's lucky to have you advocating for her... as someone with numerous health problems, i know the importance of having parents that will go to the ends of the earth for you, and that's what your little girl's got. :-)

- michelle

Rachael April 11, 2009 at 8:13 AM  

Yeah for Maddie! Both videos are really sweet. And, yes, I see a huge change.

Diana April 11, 2009 at 8:15 AM  

Yeah!! Love those stories of hope!

Signe April 11, 2009 at 1:00 PM  

That's wonderful she's improving so well. She's darling and I love that you call them blessings. Very true.

Bethany April 11, 2009 at 3:52 PM  

Ya, that's clearly not just time, or age, or familiarity with the language. That's being able to hear and repeat the correct sound! Yeah, Maddie! Though, also impressive is that she was familiar enough with the English word for so many of the numbers in the first video. She really is smart!

Nataliya April 11, 2009 at 4:03 PM  

UNBELIEVABLE!!! You must be so happy with her progress! She's such a cutie, so smart and beautiful little girl!

Debbie April 11, 2009 at 4:15 PM  

Wow. She is pronouncing MUCH more clearly. Woohoo!!!

Colette April 11, 2009 at 6:01 PM  

LOL I think Maddie thought she had much better things to be getting on with than posing for a video!

What a remarkable change.

Tina in CT April 11, 2009 at 6:34 PM  

Wow, what a change! It is so chilling to realize the world she had lived in before you came to your family! She is speakly so well.

PIPO April 11, 2009 at 9:40 PM  

What a beautiful girl...and an amazing one too. Hooray for her.

Anonymous,  April 12, 2009 at 2:42 AM  

Maddie is my hero - what an inspiration she is to us all. And how lucky she is that you are her mom!

kate April 12, 2009 at 8:22 AM  

Wow! What a change. Not just clearer, but also bigger and more at peace.

(But I did miss the enthusiastic "Good job!" from video one. ;> )

SLColman April 12, 2009 at 3:13 PM  

Wow!! What a huge change!! How much her life has changed in just this first year of being able to HEAR!!

jessy April 12, 2009 at 4:52 PM  

Amazing! She sure is something! 'Resilient' doesn't go far enough.

Annie April 12, 2009 at 7:11 PM  

I'm sitting here with tears running down my cheeks. She is amazing. God is amazing to place her in her home, where love and care it more than making up for all that came before. What a miracle, a beautiful, amazing miracle! I would never have known from the second video that she had any disability at all!

MoscowMom April 12, 2009 at 10:40 PM  

Wow!!!! What an amazing post for Easter... Yay for miracles, for Maddie, for God's looking out for her...

You know what else? She looks so PEACEFUL! So happy!!!

Mike & Tara April 13, 2009 at 9:49 AM  

Wow - that is awesome! She is a wonderful and strong little girl!

Happy Easter!

Elaine April 13, 2009 at 11:10 AM  

What a difference! Yay for Maddie and yay for YOU. What an awesome mom. Good luck on that trip you brave, brave woman.

mrsbroccoliguy April 14, 2009 at 12:50 PM  

Wow - Big difference. Huge!

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