first day of school.

Yes, yes. I know. It’s been quite a while since we posted updates about Jackson. And I’d love to say things have been perfectly easy and quiet around here, but that would be a lie. This is Jackson we’re talking about – easy and quiet aren’t in our general vocabulary.

A lot has happened in the past few months.

We made it home from vacation just in time to watch Hurricane Harvey hit Houston. Jackson had a spinal MRI and ABR (auditory brainstem response) hearing test to confirm an earlier suspected diagnosis – more on that later. Our plastic surgery team closed up Jackson’s cleft palate. And, most importantly, Jackson turned one year old.

Maybe I should start blogging more.

It’s been amazing to watch Jackson grow and develop over the past few months. Even though we hit some bumps during our vacation, we definitely think the time away from appointments, procedures, and the inside of a hospital did wonders for his development. So much so, we decided he was ready for a big step. At 13 months old, we enrolled Jackson in school.

*pause for dramatic effect*

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Okay, I’m completely kidding. Yes, Jackson’s development has definitely been progressing. But, no, we won’t be officially starting school anytime soon.

When he had his ABR, the audiologists confirmed to us that Jackson has profound (explained to us as ‘complete’) hearing loss. The test did not show any brain response to sound no matter what decibel was used, which isn’t much of a surprise to us, though the audiologist was expecting a different response. It went something like this:

Audiologist: ‘We are so sorry to tell you this, but Jackson did not show any response to sound on his ABR. He has no hearing whatsoever.’

Us: ‘Uh yep. We could have probably told you that. So, when can we start looking at cochlear implants and learning sign language?’

Audiologist: ‘Umm. Do you need some time to process this? Most parents see hearing as such a vital part of life and we just told you your child can’t do that.’

Us: ‘Well, breathing is pretty vital, too, and we couldn’t do that at one point either. But then we figured it out.’

Audiologist: ‘Good point.’

Look, we’re not saying it’s not a shock to learn, officially, that your child can’t hear. Just like every other diagnosis, it seems to hit in waves, moving between total acceptance and feeling sorry for ourselves. But after thinking back to everything Jackson has been through, all of the times we weren’t sure he would even survive, learning that he can’t hear my amazing singing voice (sarcasm) seems more like a slight inconvenience and fun challenge than something to truly mourn.

So back to school.

Locally, our Audiology Services are provided through a co-op of teachers in the local school district. We are assigned a teacher to come to the house and work with Jackson on his communication skills, including sign language. In order to do this, though, Jackson had to be officially enrolled in as a ‘student’ in school. So, after filling out pages on pages of information that didn’t pertain to Jackson (‘how will Jackson be arriving at school?’ ‘Umm, a bike?’), he officially became a student this Monday. We are so excited to get started learning how to best communicate with Jackson as we work to determine if he will be a candidate for cochlear implants!

Now, anyone know where I can buy baby sized school supplies?

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