Zoe continues to react in non-typical ways to her hearing tests and it is difficult for them to assess whether she has moderate hearing loss or is just not responding the way they want her to. We know from early tests that looked at her nerve function that she does have mild to moderate hearing loss on the one side and they were never sure about the other side. At this point, they recommend that we do a trial with hearing aids to see if it makes any difference. Gavin is looking at setting up an appointment for Zoe to get ear molds made. These molds would fit a variety of hearing aids so it is something we have to purchase outright. The aids themselves, once we figure what will work best, is thankfully covered by ADP (Ontario's Assistive Devices Program). ADP covers 75% of the aids and we think our insurance will cover the other 25%.
The other big purchase we are looking at is a wheelchair for Zoe. Shelby's mom gave us Shelby's old wheelchair stroller which has worked great for the last year and a half. However, Zoe's PT and OT do not think the chair works for Zoe any longer. She does not sit properly in it which misaligns her spine and puts pressure on her lower back. We are waiting to be seen by a seating clinic at Bloorview (the rehab centre Zoe gets therapy at). We will see what they recommend. Again, ADP and insurance should cover that which is great since those chairs typically cost anywhere from 3 to 6 thousand!
We are also looking for a new play chair for Zoe. For a long time we borrowed a corner chair which was great. It was amazing to see how Zoe developed and was able to play because of the support the chair gave her. When she outgrew that, she used the seat of the wheelchair stroller in a special base called a spider base. The spider base moved up and down so we could adjust Zoe's height. And it had a tray so Zoe could easily play. It has worked great, but now that the seat is not right for Zoe, we have to look at another option. We borrowed a Flip2Sit, which we liked. You can check it out at:
The Flip2Sit was actually developed by people at Bloorview and it worked really well for Zoe. The straps go across her upper thigh so that she needs to support her trunk and upper body. It means more work for Zoe, but we could see how quickly it was building her core muscles. Initially, she was only able to sit in the seat for 5 or 10 mins. After two weeks, she was up to 45 mins as long as we put a table in front of her with toys so she kept busy. The chair is very easy to transport which is nice (the spider base chair is very large and not so easy to transport). I even imagine bringing the chair to the beach so Zoe can play in the sand (she LOVES sand) without us needing to hold her. Sounds perfect right? Only problem is that this type of equipment is "not necessary" and therefore not covered by ADP or our insurance. Which means paying the $400 out of pocket. We want to be sure this is the best seating system for Zoe. We don't want to spend the money and find out that she will quickly outgrow it. We don't anticipate that she will outgrow it quickly since she grows so slowly. Another really nice thing about the chair that other chairs we have looked at do not offer is that the way it supports her is the same way we support her when working on sitting on the floor. We sit behind her, support her upper legs, and try to stop her from flinging herself backwards. Obviously, we can not sit behind her all day long so it would be great to have a chair that does this for us. I think it would really help her to build up her core strength.
Zoe playing in the Flip2Sit. The "table" is a sick tray that we had already and it fits perfect as a table for Zoe.Bath Chair:
And lastly, we were approved for funding for Zoe's bath chair (Thank You Easter Seals!). At $700 and not covered by ADP or insurance (again, not a necessary item....don't get me started on how bathing your child in a safe way is not necessary!) we are very happy the funding came through. So now we just have to wait for the chair to be delivered. We are also looking at getting a very large sink which will basically be a raised tub in our master bathroom. Bending over the side of the tub while lifting a wet and wiggling Zoe is proving to be hard on our backs. Even with the chair, we will have to bend to put Zoe in and take her out of the tub. The chair does raise her a little bit but the main reason we got it is to make bath time safer. Zoe has a habit of throwing her head back in an effort to drink the water. Which is what a lot of kids her age like to do- nothing more fun that drinking dirty bath water! However, since Zoe is not able to sit up, she then chokes on the water. After having Zoe turn blue and unresponsive as a result of this bathwater game she likes to play, we decided we better get the chair. At this point, we know that Zoe will continue to need full support while bathing for a very long time. So it is time to adapt the bathroom.
Fun Equipment- Adapted Toys!
We have also adapted one of Zoe's toys with a switch. Zoe had gotten a penguin slide (those old fashioned ones where the penguins climb the stairs and then go down the slide) as a gift and loves it. She has gotten the hang of holding down the switch button so the penguins do their thing. We had an extra switch cable so we adapted a dog that she absolutely loves. The dog sings and flaps its ears when Zoe hits the switch. It is great that Zoe understands how to operate these toys. It opens the door to lots of fun possibilities in the future.
You can see the yellow switch to Zoe's left. It is very easy to operate and turns on with the slightest touch.