We too had the same experience. You can take it slow but if you want progress dont wait to long to activate a new program. Since my son is busy at school I told his SLP to change his program at school. Thatway he doesnt even know if it is louder or program higher. If I do that at home he got mad and threw the CI away. That was when he was at pre-K @ 3 1/2. Now he is almost 7 and in first grade mainstream.
If you have Audiologist, speech therapist, school teacher and you at home working together you will succeed more than you think.
My husband and I are still in shock how good our son is doing.