Rachel Coleman (from Signing Time) once said something along the lines of: "ASL is a language, English is a language -- speech is a tool that may aid in communication." (I am totally paraphrasing and making things up in my faulty memory, but this is a concept that struck me and I have thought about often over the past few years).
We have never viewed Cece's ANSD and deafness as something to be "fixed," but we want to give her skills and tools that will help her cross over into the hearing world. We have spent countless hours in doctor's offices and in therapy appointments, and countless more hours doing our speech therapy homework.
For the most part, these have been good hours. Productive and fun hours. Bonding hours. But occasionally we have an experience that reminds me just how much work all of this speech-learning-tool-building really is.
Cece's ENT had an in-house AVT (audio verbal therapist) at the Lehi location that we saw a dozen times after Cece's right side was implanted. That therapist has since left the practice, so after Cece's left side surgery, we drove to Provo to meet with the AVT they have in that office. The first appointment was just Cece and I, and we spent the time getting to know each other and filling out paperwork, with no therapy being done at all. The second visit saw us back with Lynlee along, and we had an OK therapy appointment that lasted about 20 minutes before Cece was done cooperating. I was cautiously optimistic about how Cece was responding to this nice AVT and hopeful it was going to be a good and productive relationship.
Then we went back for a third appointment during Christmas break. All three girls were sick (and I should have just cancelled, but it is hard to get these appointments and I didn't want to waste it). We drove to Provo for our 11 a.m. appointment, and the girls were miserable. They were even more miserable as we sat in the waiting room for almost an hour until the AVT called us back. She had been having computer problems and was meeting with the computer tech to try and get them fixed.
I am usually very understanding that things happen and it is not a big deal, we roll with it. But in my humanness, this was a really big deal this day. It is now past lunch time, my sick and miserable girls had eaten all the snacks and drunk all their water, and we don't even use the computer during our therapy appointments. Cece cried and refused to cooperate or do any therapy at all, and I got to pay a $60 copay for a specialist visit.
We were also meeting with a Kids On The Move speech therapist concurrently, who was our absolutely favorite speech therapist ever, and so we decided to just meet with Gayleen and not go back to the AVT. I upped the speech therapy games and homework that Gayleen assigned us and we moved forward with life.
This fabulous picture is the only one I took that day, but I think it captures the hard time we were having.