Post operative visits
In the early period just after the device is switched on,
children will be seen fortnightly for individual therapy. In these
sessions, focus will be on learning to use the new device and
learning the fundamentals of listening. The therapy is focused on
the family, not just on the child, and the parent is an active
member of the therapy sessions. A decision will be made about which
type of therapy package to offer in the early days following
implantation. Most children are seen fortnightly: once for group
therapy and once for individual therapy.
Individual therapy is generally offered once a month in the
first two years of implant use. If needed, it will be offered more
frequently. Individual therapy allows families to discuss their
child's own progress and learn about ways to help their child
continue to develop. The therapy is family-centered which means
that the parents are an active participant in the therapy session.
Parents are expected to work with the child at home to supplement
and continue to therapy during daily activities.
Auditory-Verbal Therapy (or A-VT) is a unique and specific
therapy technique that is especially suitable for children who have
received cochlear implants. The focus of A-VT is to help deaf
children develop spoken language skills via normal auditory
development. Parents are the primary caregivers and are thus
trained to be the primary "therapist" for their child. For more
information about A-VT, please visit www.auditory-verbal.com.
The Manchester Cochlear Implant Programme is fortunate to have one
of the few Certified Auditory-Verbal Therapists in the country as
its Co-ordinator and therapy that is performed at the centre
follows the A-V framework and philosophy.
Following the implant, children must learn to listen with their
new device. For some children, this process will happen quite
naturally, but for others, a significant amount of therapy will be
required. These issues will be discussed with the family prior to
implantation and families will be aware of what to expect in their
child's case prior to surgery.
Two to three weeks after surgery, the external equipment is
fitted and the device is switched on for the first time. This is an
exciting day for families since as it is the first time the child
will hear through the implant. This visit generally takes about two
hours. The first half of the visit is spent programming the device.
During the second half of the visit, the family is instructed on
device use and care and issued the equipment they will need. At the
initial visit, the Audiologist will decide on what further visits
are required and schedule them accordingly.
Over the first three months of implant use, the device will be
programmed several times. The exact number of appointments will
vary on an individual basis, but most children are seen once or
twice a month during the initial period. The purpose of these
sessions is to create an appropriate programme for the child which
allows them to hear all the sounds of speech but which is
comfortable for them to use.
After the initial period of device use, children will be seen
regularly for programming. Generally, they are seen three months
after activation, six months after activation, one year after
activation and annually after that. At these mapping sessions, all
equipment will be checked, measurements of the internal device will
be performed to ensure it is working to specification, and a new
programme will be created for the child to maximize their hearing
potential. Soundfield hearing tests will also be performed to
ensure that sound is being heard across the speech frequencies.
- Additional programming sessions
If there are any concerns about a child's progress, either from
the family, school or the cochlear implant programme, they may be
scheduled more frequently for programming sessions. Sessions may be
added whenever they are needed.
Liason with local services
The process of receiving a cochlear implant involves many
different professionals, both within and outside the cochlear
implant team. A great deal of information is shared between the
cochlear implant team and local professionals such as teachers of
the deaf, local audiologists, paediatricians, local ENT consultants
and speech and language therapists.
In the first two years of implant use, school visits are
generally offered at least once a term for school-aged children in
the programme who require them. They are offered more frequently if
necessary. We are also able to offer home visits for information
sessions prior to implantation and therapy following implantation
to families who require this assistance. These visits are decided
with the family on a case by case basis.