When you have a child with hearing loss (or any disability), you are instantly thrown into the deep end of new jargon, appointments, professionals, and more. When a therapy or early intervention provider is assigned to your family, how do you know if who you’re getting is any good? They’re supposed to be the expert in this, so how are parents who are new to this whole world supposed to know if they and their child are getting what they deserve?
This time of year, I see many parents asking on social media, “What is the best gift for my child’s teachers/audiologist/speech-language pathologist/auditory verbal therapist? While there are many wonderful gifts out there, I’m going to rock the boat a bit.
“Shut the door,” “Sit down,” “Go to sleep.” We write them as multiple words, but do young children view them that way? How do we know if a child has learned a “chunk” versus really putting together a multi-word utterance? Continue reading →
Young children love to be in control (who doesn’t?). Think about it: so many aspects of their lives are decided for them — what and when they’ll eat, where they go each day, when they take a bath, etc. For children with hearing loss, parents may tend to be even more directive, giving short, simple commands to head off any misunderstandings by a child with limited language. But challenge yourself! Giving choices can help meet an important developmental need while growing language skills as well!
Figurative language: idioms, metaphors, similes, and the like, can be one of the most difficult aspects of language for English language learners, and children with hearing loss, to master. How can we help children learn, understand, and use nonliteral language in a way that is natural?
If you provide services to families in the home or via teletherapy, you have the advantage of helping them apply AV techniques to their natural environments in real time. But that’s not always possible. How can center-based clinicians or teachers make what they do with families “translate” once the families leave their clinic or school? How can we make center-based services realistic for parents?
Life is BUSY! While it’s fun to read books and play with games and toys in therapy, implementing these activities at home can sometimes seem challenging for families who don’t have a lot of extra time. If you’re a therapist who does home visits, you may even run into a situation where parents feel they “don’t have time” to participate in your sessions and have to use the time to catch up on chores while you interact with their child. How can we make this work?
Imagine you are working on a big carpentry project (this will be more of a stretch for some of us than others!). What would be more helpful to you? A person handing you just one nail at the right time, but nothing else, or a person who gives you a whole toolbox from which to choose after first showing you how to use each tool? Kind of obvious, right? A nail helps you in this minute. It gets the job done but nothing more. A toolbox, on the other hand, has infinite uses and gives you more control (you’re not waiting for someone to hand you the next nail). Coaching parents is much the same.
Hearing loss is a neurological emergency. If parents choose a listening and spoken language outcome for their child, time is of the essence, and the to-do list is immense: get a full audiological evaluation, fit hearing technology, aggressively manage that technology to make sure it’s doing what it should, make sure the child wears the technology all waking hours, find a good Auditory Verbal Therapist, attend therapy, talk talk talk, read read read, sing sing sing, advocate, fight with insurance, learn a bunch of new jargon, talkreadsing some more… and, oh, don’t forget all of the other responsibilities of your life, either. They’re still there, waiting for you at the end of the day when you’re exhausted and never want to talk, read, OR sing another word in your life.
When I coach other professionals, I tell them to work smarter, not harder! I like to pick just one book and make it work for ALL of the children I see in a week. My schedule is filled with listeners of all different ages, developmental levels, and needs, but with some creative thinking, you can take a classic story like Goldilocks and the Three Bears and find a gold mine of goals inside. Here are THIRTY ways to make the Three Bears work for (nearly) everyone on your caseload.