Triplet Princes and a Princess

Triplet Princes and a Princess

Our journey to hearing with Cormac while living our life with triplet boys and a baby girl.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Lip Reading

When Cormac was implanted we chose for him to be educated in an oral only school. The school he received services from birth to three years old did not teach sign language or any other form of communication besides listening and speaking like his typical hearing peers. That said, Cormac knew tons of signs before he was implanted and still remembers them. I would say he knows about 200 or more signs. When he first started talking he would sign the word as he tried to say it. I thought it was so helpful during this process. Colin and Ciaran also did sign before they were verbal. It was so cute to see them all signing "more" or "cookie". I noticed as Cormac became more verbal he started dropping his signs because he just didn't need them any longer. I thought once he was really verbal we could always go back and learn more since he is still deaf and without his implants I feel like I need a way to communicate with him. We still want to learn but I have found Cormac has an amazing ability to lip read. I mean you can have an entire conversation with him when he is not wearing his implants and he answers you back. I don't understand how on Earth people acquire this skill. There are times in the bath tub Frank will say "he can't be deaf" knowing full well he is deaf.

Now, for three years we made sure he didn't lip read when we talked to him. We wanted to make sure he used his hearing and didn't "cheat" by lip reading. We would cover our mouths when we spoke so he couldn't see our lips but he still can do it. I now he doesn't rely on it but it sure comes in handy. When we are in very noisy situations he can still understand me (Ciaran and Colin wont because if it's too loud and they can't hear me they can't lip read). When he is in water it is awesome.

I will never understand this ability. I would love to hear from others about their experiences with their children or with their own lip reading in life. How do you do it??? This kid never gets it wrong.

On another note, we are heading into NYC for a mapping tomorrow. Just in time because the last few days Cormac has been acting like he isn't hearing as well as normal. Lots of "what did you say?" Not sure what is going on but with some fine tuning tomorrow I have full confidence he will be back to his old self. I took the opportunity to work with him on his confidence to ask others to repeat themselves if he misses something. This is especially important in the class room and will be more important as he gets older. He needs to be able to advocate for himself and never feel embarrassed to ask someone to repeat themselves. So, I taught him to say "excuse me, I didn't hear you. Can you please repeat that again?" Seems like it's working because he said it to me quite a few times this week.

Let's see as for language?? What's Cormac's latest? He told me Black widow spiders are venomous. I asked what does venomous mean? He says "It's poison, Mommy.". He is also telling everyone about Tornadoes. He says "they are funnel clouds" . My sister watched the triplets this morning for a while so I could take Calleigh to the dr and she took them to a class at the Community Center. She said he was basically running the class. They asked them to pretend to be their favorite animal. Cormac's was a penguin and a frog. He told them frogs eat insects with their tongues. SHe basically said he didn't stop talking the entire time right along with the other two nuts I am raising.

But the best story of the week....
Cormac goes into NYC every three months for a mapping. I take him alone because it's just easier. He has referred to NYC as "my city" for as long as I can remember. Whenever we see the skyline he says "look at my city". Ciaran and Colin even refer to it as "cormac's city". He asked if we could bring his brothers and sister with him tomorrow. I said sure. Then he said to Ciaran and Colin "Hey, Ciaran and Colin, do you know why I want to bring you to "my city"? Because I just love you guys!" It was one of the sweetest moments ever. The look on his face was so sincere it made me cry. He is beyond excited to go tomorrow.


Barb said...

Have you ever considered learning Cued Speech with Carmac? It sounds like he's done wonderfully with AV therapy, but Cued Speech can be the perfect compliment to a CI. It reinforces lip reading and gives you all the additional clarification needed when the CI isn't enough or isn't on/working. It's completely phonemic based, so it reinforces all the language he already has. Also, it's a finite system, so you can learn it in a short period, but use it for all levels of language from Dr. Seuss to Organic Chemistry.

Melanie said...

Venemous!?! Wow- that's quite a word for any three year old. He is doing so well. I am amazed and hopeful for what Peas may be like in a year. Peas is already learning to lip read on his own too.

Anonymous said...

If he is "hearing" with his cochlear, you don't need to cover your lips. Do hearing people do that with their hearing children?

If not, then there's no need to. If he really struggle to listen to the point that you have to cover your mouth to teach him, Just stick with sign language. People in my generation of hearing aids did the same thing to us. They covered their lips so we could be trained to use our hearing aids. It worked in the short-term if we are really focus on it, but in the long term, it doesn't work.

Tanna's Triplets said...

So cute!!!

It sounds like we are following in your foot steps. Once Colton got his implants we stopped teaching new signs and now we only sign to him if he doesn't have his CI on. Colton can read lips but just basic words like Momma, Daddy, eat, etc.

Rachel said...


Cochlear implants work so well that children can learn to hear and be on the same par as their normal hearing peers.

It seems that you're suggesting Cued Speech to parents like Jen because it's a "dying" method as children with cochlear implants today can hear the phonics so well that using cued speech is just absolutely not necessary. I understand that you're a successful product of using cued speech, but I think it's time to think about TODAY's deaf children. I have a friend who is a successful product of total communications method, but she is currently in grad school learning to be an AV therapist because she knows that today's generation is different from her generation and that deaf children today who hear with cochlear implants do not need any visual cues.

I'm sorry to sound blunt, but seeing advocates suggesting parents what methods they should be using while their children are already doing so well with whatever they've been using and when parents didn't even ask for an advice just not so respectful.