Hearing: This is my biggest concern at this point. I spent 20+ years as a Sign Language Interpreter for deaf/hard of hearing students. I was frequently able to spot kindergarten students with hearing loss before they even did screenings at the beginning of the school year. They're TOO visual, and after the newness of of an interpreter in their classroom wore off for the other kids, these kids were still watching me more than a child without hearing loss. Sometimes they watched me as much as the deaf student I was interpreting for! And then there is Angela, with a moderate hearing loss who's been wearing hearing aids since she was a year old.
Enter Axel. He clearly hears many things, but he certainly does not hear well! It is more than just wax and/or fluid in his ears. Although he has grown up in Serbia, he only has a handful of Serbian words and those are approximations, and largely vowel sound words. He has already aquired about 25 signs now (far too many at this stage! A child with normal hearing would have acquired the words this fast, not the signs.) Although he is a master imitator (a survival skill for kids who have hearing loss) he is not able to imitate most vowel sounds. You can forget consonants all together. He IS saying his first English word now though!!! Can you guess what it is?
HA! Typical kid. But his "No!" sounds like "ngo", its all nasally....typical for a child with significant hearing loss. He doesn't tune into sounds. A few days ago, a stray dog charged us, barking and growling, coming within about 3 feet of Axel. But the dog was just out Axel's line of vision, and he was oblivious to the charging, barking dog. Neither Dean nor I are bothered by the fact he probably has a hearing loss. Actually, it kind of makes me laugh. Of course God would give me a child with a hearing loss. Look at my background...it only makes sense! Needless to say, hearing is one of the first things we'll get checked out when we get home!
Eyes/Vision: His visual perception skills are TERRIBLE when doing stuff with pens and markers on paper. Some of that is just his lack of exposure to those materials, and he'll have to go through the learning process, so it's kind of hard to sift through what's what. But Axel makes the "Pirate face" a lot (squinting one eye) and often tilts his head while watching TV, both indicators of being far sighted. I see glasses in his very near future. I think this will also make a difference for him doing stairs as well, as his depth perception is probably affected.
He also has blocked tear ducts, and almost always has a tear running down his cheek.
Toileting: Axel is completely trained during the day, but not at night. He has woken up soaked every single morning. Except today! Today he woke up dry, so there is hope! LOL Two years ago I purchased a bedwetting alarm for Angela and it worked FANTASTIC! I see Axel using that in the very near future, although we'll get him home and into a routine first. The alarm is a pitch/volume/tone that he DOES hear, so I think it will work. If not, they do have a shaker alarm available as well. I guess we'll see. Pray for me. LOL
Teeth: Axel's teeth are a rotten mess! He is missing 4 that appear to have been pulled or rotted out on their own. (there are holes in his gums where they were.) I can see one broken molar, and the ONE time I got him to open his mouth I could see what appeared to be several cavities. They could be stains though. I have a friend here in Serbia who is a dentist. If he has time before we fly home he is going to see if he can look in Axel's mouth. It will be easier for him since he speaks Serbian. Otherwise, Angela is scheduled for a dentist appointment right after I come home, and they have now set aside an extra 1/2 hr to take a look at Axel's teeth as well, though I'm guessing he won't let them in his mouth! I see oral surgery in his near future.
Skin: His skin is in pretty good condition, other than a few small white spots on his wrist (like white heads, but they're hard. I can't remember what they're called.) He gets a little dry rash around his mouth, but that is minor and nothing a little aquaphore can't clear up.
Gastrointestinal: This system is working GREAT!