Bryce arrived four weeks early, but despite his prematurity, his doctor was amazed at how healthy he was. He had high APGAR scores, so the last thing we thought about was hearing loss.
His first hospital hearing screening was inconclusive and the second was also inconclusive but blamed on the equipment.
We had no idea of the severity of his hearing loss, so we thought he was developing typically.
After a referral that didn’t work out, Bryce had two more sleep Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) Tests; one was inconclusive due to external noise and the second one was done by a student-audiologist, who did not correctly apply the electrodes, causing Bryce to wake up and invalidate the results.
At this point, Bryce was only 10 months old and we didn't know what to do. We were confused, and partly in denial. Luckily, we had friends who dealt with at-risk infants who told us to call the Audiology Department at (then) Oakland Children's Hospital.
We were told that because the ABR test requires the baby to be asleep, Bryce would have to be sedated. WHAT? Our beautiful healthy and typically developing precious baby would have to be sedated? Well, we wanted a bonafide answer, so we agreed.
Unfavorable test results came back indicating Bryce had severe hearing loss in both ears.
Bryce was quickly fitted for hearing aids and later a cochlear implant surgery was suggested.
During this time, Oakland Children's Hospital counseled us on our educational options.
We chose auditory-oral and were told that CCHAT provided these services and was 50 miles from our house. Bryce started CCHAT before he was implanted.
Our advice to other parents is the same that CCHAT parents of older children told us: Follow through with the audiologist's instructions, no matter if it seems like an uphill battle. Trust the staff at CCHAT; they are experts at teaching listening-spoken language. Be consistent with attendance, and practice at home what the staff recommends.
CCHAT never gave up on Bryce. They encouraged him to speak and provided all-day opportunities for him to do so. They combine their expertise with the love that they have for the kiddos. After being in education for 18 years, I’ve never seen a staff like CCHAT’s.
And it’s not just the staff, the bond between parents has become our own informal support group. I have learned so much from other parents!
Bryce had a great start to his kindergarten year at his neighborhood school in Galt.
Not even a full month in and he was one of the first in his class to demonstrate mastery of ALL of the kindergarten sight words.
So proud of you, Bryce. Keep up the great work!
~ The Dougherty Family