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How we've kept up Kenzie's development from home

Published Date: 27 May 2021

Boy on bouncy castle

I can’t believe a whole year has passed since Kenzie had his cochlear implant switch-on, what a year it’s been! I know it has been difficult for all of us having our lives turned upside down, but it has been especially difficult for our children. They’ve been thrown out of their routines, lost their comforts and lost valuable time spent with loved ones. Young children grow so fast and develop so quickly and it has been heart-breaking that family members have missed out on these precious memories we will never get back.

For Kenzie it has been even more difficult as his first year with cochlear implants was not as expected. The pandemic has impacted everything including his hospital visits and support programme. He’s very lucky to have such an amazing professional team around him who have supported him throughout his journey, but this has not been easy. We’ve had to adapt from face-to-face support to other ways of communication. This has included phone calls, emails and receiving lots of tips and advice on things for me to do at home to help him develop.

Kenzie has also had assessments via live video calls to monitor his progress, but this has not been smooth sailing. It’s very difficult for him to engage in a video call as he has a short attention span and can be easily distracted, much more so than if someone was with him in-person. The handful of visits that we have managed to make in-person have also been impacted. Face masks are needed everywhere and this has had a huge effect on deaf people being able to hear and lip-read.

However we have got through it and against the odds Kenzie has managed to achieve every milestone and reach every target that has been set for him. I am so unbelievably proud of what he’s able to achieve and how far he’s come in such a short space of time. Although this year has been tough, it also has had its positives. If it wasn't for the lockdown and spending time at home, I wouldn’t have been able to spend as much time with Kenzie and got to share this valuable time with him to help in his learning and development.

People often ask me what I do to help Kenzie with his development. My answer to this will always be the same... Kenzie and I constantly have fun and play! Every game we play, every activity we do or every walk we go on is a lesson and a great opportunity for him to learn something new.

He is so interested in everything, wants to know how everything works and what sounds he can hear and why. So I spend my time exploring the world with him. It doesn't matter how many toys your child has, you can work with what you have and make even the smallest thing fun and interesting.

Kenzie loves role-play games and getting to show off how clever he is, praise is really important when he does something well. Here are a few role-play activities we do together.

  • Shopkeeper: I ask Kenzie for items that I want to buy and he gets the item, scans it and places in my trolley. This is a great way to ask for two or three items at a time and also to talk about colours and sizes too. We then practise our counting with the money.
  • Burger van/kitchen: I place an order and Kenzie pretends to cook it for me. This is a great way to learn food items and what’s involved in cooking.
  • Tea party: We have a range of teddies and share a picnic, I ask Kenzie to place items of food on each plate. This is a great game for Kenzie to learn to care for and look after others.
  • Farm/zoo: Kenzie learns animal names and the sounds they make, as well as words such as ‘big’ or ‘small’ and ‘mummy’ or ‘baby’ animals.

This list is endless but on my Facebook page I share some videos of Kenzie and the games we play.

Although this year has been a challenge and not as expected, I’m still 100% certain that cochlear implants were the best choice for Kenzie and I will be forever grateful for the difference they have made in his life.

Becky

Becky is mum to Mackenzie (3), who is profoundly deaf. Mackenzie was fitted with cochlear implants in January 2020. Becky also blogs about family life, you can find her at @youdontneedtohear on Facebook.