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.
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?
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.
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!'
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! :).