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  • Writer's pictureHeidi Renee

Bye, Bye Toddler Group

won*der*ful 1. capable of exciting wonder : ASTONISHING. 2. Excellent : extraordinary. 3. Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

Today was AJ's last day in toddler group at CDHH. We haven't had group for two weeks, since this is the time of year they conduct the Family Learning Vacation and use the next two weeks for staff planning. I didn't he'd miss group much, but the second week I could see he was craving that routine.

He did well today, considering. We had two new friends join the toddler group today, so it was a bit chaotic. It was odd to be on the other side of the fence. It seems like we just began group-when really it was back in March. Back before he was implanted! He has grown so much since then.

At the end of group, AJ's teacher told the story about AJ going to school tomorrow. How he would get up, take his pajamas off, put his clothes on, eat breakfast, say bye to Daddy, brush his teeth, hop in the car with Mom and drive to school. AJ was having a hard time in the middle of group, so his teacher asked me to come in and sit with him during his story. He didn't really "get it", but he did enjoy shaking each of his friends hands and saying "Goodbye". He gave his teacher plenty of last snuggles. It amazes me how he perks up and listens when he hears that its her voice.

He was the last to sit in his teacher's lap and hear his "Bye Bye" song. It made me so sad. We sat and chatted with the staff for a while and they gave us a photo book for AJ. When we pulled into our driveway at home, I opened the photobook...and started bawling. The book was full of pictures of AJ during his time at group. They even wrote him a little note in the beginning of the book, and put stickers with captions on each picture.

CDHH has been a lifesaver for us. It is the only center of its kind in Wisconsin. We are so blessed to have it in our backyard (ok a bit further, but you get the point). It wasn't until his teacher of the deaf started coming out from CDHH that we felt someone was listening to us about AJ's hearing loss. She taught me many of my first signs before I took the classes. She gave us a "home program" for AJ to help us work with him during the week. She stopped at Starbucks and brought me coffee when she knew I needed it. She listened when no one else would. She called to make sure we were ok after we had a hell of a day and she knew it. I seriously think therapist should be in her title.

AJ's teachers in the toddler group were very accepting and PATIENT with our little man. They constantly asked if there was anything else they could do for him and told me not to hesitate to tell them if I had any ideas of suggestions. They celebrated his triumphs. They experienced his rough days. The entire staff hosts a tremendous amount of experience and kindness. They introduced my son to the world of sound. We are so blessed to have CDHH in our lives. While ending our weekly TOD sessions and toddler group closes another chapter in AJ's story, I have no doubt CDHH will continue to be part of our lives. We are excited to participate and be part of the planning of the first HLAA Walk for Hearing here in Milwaukee, WI and look forward to CDHH's annual events.

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