Taking It to the Next Level SLP Patrice Mosher and her son, Johnathan. Audiologist: “I’m sorry, Mrs. Mosher, but your son didn’t pass the newborn hearing screen.” Me: “No…What?” Audiologist: “It’s probably amniotic fluid in the ear canal. Come back in a few weeks and we’ll try again.” I had been a speech-language pathologist for ... E-luminations
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E-luminations  |   August 01, 2012
Taking It to the Next Level
Author Notes
  • Patrice Mosher, MA, CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist at the Rowan-Salisbury schools. She can be reached at patrice.mosher@gmail.com.
    Patrice Mosher, MA, CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist at the Rowan-Salisbury schools. She can be reached at patrice.mosher@gmail.com.×
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants & Assistive Technology / Special Populations / Genetic & Congenital Disorders / Early Identification & Intervention / School-Based Settings / E-luminations
E-luminations   |   August 01, 2012
Taking It to the Next Level
The ASHA Leader, August 2012, Vol. 17, online only. doi:10.1044/leader.EL.17102012.np
The ASHA Leader, August 2012, Vol. 17, online only. doi:10.1044/leader.EL.17102012.np
SLP Patrice Mosher and her son, Johnathan.
Audiologist: “I’m sorry, Mrs. Mosher, but your son didn’t pass the newborn hearing screen.”
Me: “No…What?”
Audiologist: “It’s probably amniotic fluid in the ear canal. Come back in a few weeks and we’ll try again.”
I had been a speech-language pathologist for eight years when I heard those words. I was working with 15 students with a hearing loss. Their backgrounds included hearing aids, cochlear implants, interpreters, and transliterator. I had taken signing and cueing classes and I had completed an internship at a school for the deaf.
My son, Jonathan, failed another hearing screen, then another. I soon made an appointment at University of North Carolina Hospitals in Chapel Hill, to see a pediatric audiologist for a hearing evaluation.
Jonathan was diagnosed with a bilateral severe/profound hearing loss.
What did I do? I took prenatal vitamins? I didn’t drink. I didn’t smoke. I didn’t even do caffeine. I was devastated. I dug up every textbook from my audiology and aural rehab classes. I researched every ASHA journal. I sought counsel from BEGINNINGS, an organization in North Carolina that offers free, non-biased information for parents with children with hearing loss. A representative came to my home and explained our options to us. I also received information and videos about the three cochlear implant companies. I memorized them.
Jonathan received his first set of hearing aids at 9 weeks old. He started receiving auditory verbal therapy through early intervention at 9 weeks old. It was all going so fast! My world became full of appointments for ear molds, therapy, and hearing tests. My days were spent working on the Auditory Learning Guide, Learn to Listen Sounds, Bloom and Lahey, and the Ling Sound test. The SLP part of me knew I was doing the right thing. The mommy part of me was trying to hold it together.
I attended a local parent support group called “HITCH-UP” (Hearing Impaired Toddlers and Children Have Unlimited Potential). My friends and my colleagues sympathized with me, but I needed more. I needed someone who had heard the same diagnosis. I also went to the support group for my oldest son, Stephan, who was hearing. He was in a unique position and I felt that it was important for him to have support, too.
After months of therapy, UNC suggested that we might consider a cochlear implant. I attended the North Carolina AG Bell Conference where one model caught my eye. It was a device that could be pinned on his shirt at his shoulder. After much research and consideration, it was the right choice for us.
During the pre-op blood work, we discovered the cause for his hearing loss, Connexin-26. His dad and I both have the same recessive gene. I had no idea! Knowing the cause was another piece of the puzzle for me.
Jonathan received his first cochlear implant in his left ear when he was 12 months old. He continued to use his hearing aid in his right ear. Progress in therapy sped up. As he improved, so did I. He attended a mainstream preschool when he was 2 years old for a few mornings a week. He also attended an auditory-oral preschool program when he was 3. The combination of the two settings gave him the intense services he needed, as well as the exposure to typically developing peers.
Jonathan received his second cochlear implant in his right ear when he turned 5 after several appeals with my insurance company. He had to go through the same process to acquire the audition skills in his right ear, but it went quickly.
Jonathan will be mainstreamed in fourth grade at his private school. He “graduated” from speech-language treatment a year ago. When I read that he had closed the language gap, I cried! He is on the honor roll and excels in flag football and basketball. He came in second place in the third-grade spelling bee! Go Jonathan! His favorite musical artists include YES, Rush, Michael Jackson, and Justin Timberlake.
When I came out of graduate school, I thought I was a decent SLP. But after becoming a mom—a mom with a student with special needs—I have a much deeper understanding of what it is like to hear evaluation results, create goals, and to sign that individualized education program. My experience has changed the SLP that I have become.
If I could go back 10 years, I would love to have seen where he is today. The combination of an early diagnosis, early amplification, and early intervention has made a huge impact on my son’s life. As a speech-language pathologist and as a mom, I respect everyone’s right to choose the path that is right for his or her family. The path we have chosen is working for us.
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August 2012
Volume 17, Issue 10