Tom received some visitors this morning - a pair of Speech and language therapists no less. In a splendid example of collaborative working, the therapist from Crosshouse Hospital, Kilmarnock (the solitary Scottish paediatric implant centre) visits at the same time as her colleague from the Edinburgh team.
Why there are two and what they are each focused on is something of a mystery - this is the second time they have visited in the four-or-so months we've been here. They are very keen on assessing Tom and he quite likes the whole assessment process so it all seems mutually agreeable at the moment. They show him these books with four pictures, say some slightly strange statement and he points to a picture. Then all these adults smile at him and pay him even more attention.
Occasionally the adults stop and talk amongst themselves. Tom doesn't approve of this and quickly makes sure all the adults get back on task and get on with this picture game. The picture game is considered A Good Thing.
The pictures are some variant of a test for auditory comprehension - something like TACL I think - and Tom wouldn't let them stop until they'd got to the end. By that stage the questions were asking him to identify where 'neither the elephant nor the boy are standing on one leg' (or something to that effect) and other similarly tortuous, elaborate sentences.
There were a number of occasions towards the end of the test where Tom's finger firmly jabbed at the wrong picture. Before we knew how these tests worked, such failures left us concerned; noting down vocabulary and phrases to try to incorporate into everyday speech.
Then you get to realise that these are tests designed to work across a significant age range and you're supposed to keep going until you fail - that's how you work out the age equivalency.
So how did the wee man do today? Well, he left 'age-appropriate' in the dust and came in equivalent to a typical hearing seven year old.
Not bad for four and deaf really is it?
And this might be partly why the therapists like to stop by. Not much therapisin' needed and lots of just being proud of a smart little boy who knows how to listen.