Mandy doesn't quite have the Southern accent down yet but we are working with her on that so hopefully by the time baby number #2 gets here (it's a boy), she'll be speaking right along with her Southern peers. You may find us in the booth working on Spondee words such as "hot dawg". Her receptive skills are fantastic and her speech is bound to catch up sooner or later. She's very proud that she's adopted the word y'all already into her vocabulary. We gave Mandy a Southern Vocabulary test just to see areas that may show weakness and here are the results. Right away Mandy knew the words doohickey saying it was the same as thingamabob and that dad burn it means darn it. However, she did have problems with the word orta, which we all know means should, and the term walla go obviously means a while ago. I did go over the results with her and since we are not bound by HIPPA privacy treaties here at Bama Ears, she does understand the results would be displayed.
We asked Mandy why she chose pediatric audiology and and she claims she loves to work with children. She likes the challenge of working with kids and says it's never a dull a moment when you work in pediatrics. We asked if she had experience working with children with multiple needs as well since almost half of all kids with hearing loss experience other issues also.
"I am fortunate enough to be able to work with children with many special needs. Children with short attention spans are not uncommon in our patient base. We also work with many patients with different syndromes, vision impairments, cerebral palsy, and autism to name a few. This is part of the challenge that keeps me going on a day to day basis. You really have to be patient and creative to get the information and participation you need from any child, then add on an additional impairment other than deafness and the challenges becomes greater. I love my job, and I am blessed that I have the opportunity to make a difference in all types of children's' lives."
We thank Mandy for letting us peek inside her life a bit. When not at the HEAR Center helping our kids hear better, she's at home with Brian, Lucy, and their two dogs watching Jon and Kate Plus 8 when she's not rocking out to Guitar Hero. This cool mom of soon to be four (if you count her dogs...and she does!) tries to stay current by keeping up with the latest top 10 songs on the radio but she really prefers listening to Billy Joel, Jimmy Buffet, any song from the 80's and Veggietales (a true mom). This audiologist is determined to prove that you don't have to be Bama born to be a Southern girl.
When her first child, John, was 11 months old, he needed tubes for his ears, and this is when they found out he had a hearing loss. With Jennifer already carrying baby number two, John was fitted for aids and soon after, she found out she had precancerous growth in one of her breasts. She has a long history of breast cancer in her family so while 24 weeks pregnant and a 1-year-old, she had a mastectomy. A few months later baby Will was born, and she soon began radiation. But before that treatment began came Will’s hearing tests, in which he was also determined to have hearing impairment just like his big brother.
A few months after completing her radiation, Jennifer had a second prophylactic mastectomy and breast reconstruction with an eight-week recovery period. Remember, Jennifer also has two hearing-impaired children to care for, but she manages along with her very supportive and loving husband. Within weeks of her final recovery, baby Will had his first cochlear implant surgery and a year later had his second.
Jennifer says she’s had great support throughout from all of their doctors, health care professionals, church, friends, family, and notes “God is great!" Today when she’s not making commercials for Breast Cancer Awareness, or helping with the Bell Center’s service organization, or running half-marathons, she’s preparing John for first grade and still has a year to prep Will for kindergarten. Congratulations, Jennifer, Bama's Bright Light is shining on you, a true inspiration.
If you would like to nominate someone as an exceptional parent for Bama's Bright Light, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org . They need to be an Alabama Parent of at least one child with hearing loss.
1. As children get older, they will have questions such as “Why me?” or “Why don’t my ears work?” or a number of other questions that you need to be able to answer.
2. Also, when children become adults and want a family of their own, is there any likelihood that they too will have deaf children? Or was their hearing loss an isolated case?
"As you mentioned, there are many benefits to a visit to the geneticist. But because very few people even know what a geneticist is, they are often nervous about coming to see us. A visit to the geneticist is very similar to any other doctor visit in some ways, but very different in others. For example, we spend a lot of time getting background information on your child as well as your family. Then, when I examine your child I look for very subtle things, like facial characteristics. Are the ears and nose normal in appearance? Are there unusual birthmarks, or fingerprint patterns? This is mostly done just by looking and observing, very little poking. If there is no other unusual findings, we often recommend testing for isolated hearing loss genes. However, if there are other findings we discuss what they mean, and what testing if any should be carried out. Genetic testing typically involves nothing more invasive than a simple blood draw.
All in all, most people find these visits helpful, as many questions are answered, or at least addressed.
A visit can get very emotional, and parents will often become upset because we are discussing potential health risks for their child. We always follow up each visit with a comprehensive and detailed note, as well as additional reading material as appropriate. Another often unspoken concern is if a genetic evaluation and testing is covered by insurance. The answer is almost always yes, but if that is a concern we can check before your visit.
To make an appointment with UAB's Genetic Clinic call 205-934-9528."
Kate is profoundly deaf and has sensorineural hearing loss in both ears, and the cause unknown. She is the only child with hearing loss in our family. Kate failed her newborn screening test and was referred from the hospital for a followup with our local ENT. She had an ABR at 2 months at our local ENT’s office, and we were then referred to Dr. Woolley at Pediatric ENT and Associates. In December 2007, at 3 months of age, she had an additional non-sedated ABR that confirmed the hearing loss. Kate received her first pair of hearing aids at 3 months from the HEAR Center and wore them almost up until her surgery in August 2008. Kate receives Auditory-Verbal Therapy (AVT) at the HEAR Center twice a month.
Kate has made amazing progress. After testing a few weeks back, I was told that Kate’s scores match those of her peers. Her language skills have caught up to her chronological age. Her speech has blossomed in the last two months. She now has over 50 words and is putting them together to make short phrases.
I will never forget the look on her face at her activation. It still takes my breath away to see her react to the simple sounds that I have taken for granted like a dog barking, the birds singing and giggling of sisters. One of my greatest joys is watching her dance to music. She also loves to point up at the airplanes flying overhead.
Here she is singing with her older sister in the car.
We start with the question “How does one become an Extreme ENT?”
Cholesteatoma Surgery, tympanoplasties, ossiculoplasties, he can say them and perform these surgical procedures without expecting the parents to spell them, say them or even know what they are. Yet he can explain with patience and regular vocabulary each medical term so that the parents are confident and trust his skills even if he still looks as if he’s fresh out of med school…(he’s not by the way!)
Nope!! We parents sort of expect that from our doctors; we all want the best, seek the best and hope we have picked the best. We are certainly relieved when the surgeon who is about to attempt to help a deaf child hear, or maybe help a child breathe easier with airway reconstruction, or even placing simple ear tubes, has earned scholarly awards (oh yeah, he entered college on an academic scholarship and graduated Magna Cum Laude, we’re talking BRAIN POWER here)….
He’s earned this title of Extreme ENT only partially for those reasons; it actually has a little to do with this…
Sometimes it helps learning more about your doctor to have that trust and understand that he/she too may have a family…children. Maybe the doctor realizes being a parent himself/herself, how difficult some decisions can be. Stay tuned to learn more, you just might have more in common with this doctor than you think! We’ll find out next about those extreme adventures and what he does for recreation, we’ve already ruled out line dancing…but some things just might surprise you, when Extreme ENT continues…
Here are a couple of pics, and a video from the dress rehearsal (complete with curlers).