Give Me Five!

You may already know how I feel about flashcards (spoiler alert: I hate them), but there is something to be said for repeated practice as a way to cement new skills. So how do we help children with hearing loss improve their articulation in a way that allows them enough opportunities to practice without resorting to drill-and-kill? Give me five!

Consider this scenario: A little girl with bilateral hearing aids is baking with her mother. One of the ingredients is cinnamon, which the little girl pronounces “cimmamon” (darn those trickily similar nasals /m/ and /n/ all mixed up in that multisyllabic word!).

STEP ONE: Catch and correct!

Once the adult communication partner (here, the mother) notices the child’s misarticulation, it’s time for a catch-and-correct. The adult can use strategies like the auditory feedback loop (“I heard you say cimmamon, but it’s cinnamon”) and acoustic highlighting (“Listen. The word is ciNNamon“) to help the child improve her production.

But that’s not enough! Modeling the word with acoustic highlighting helps the child lay down new “brain tracks” to build a correct internal model of how this word should sound, but it doesn’t give her an opportunity to practice the motor patterns necessary to produce the word correctly. So it’s time for step two…

STEP TWO: Give me five!

Now it’s time to move from perception to production. I like to build the child’s metacognitive skills and emphasize, in an age-appropriate way, that it’s all about the brain, by saying, “Let’s make sure your brain remembers that new word and say it a quick five times.” Then I hold up my fingers as the child practices saying the word correctly, 1… 2… 3… 4… 5!

The level of support necessary will vary by child and by word. Sometimes the child needs a model each time to practice the word. Sometimes we can provide a model for the first few attempts and then fade it out so the child produces the word independently. Sometimes the child is producing it correctly and independently from trial #1. If the child can get the word (with or without support), knock out a quick five to cement that motor pattern and auditory feedback loop and move on!

Two caveats to keep in mind:

No wrong practice! If the child is struggling to produce the word even with modeling and support, don’t have her practice it wrong five times. Dig deeper to find out where the breakdown is occurring and work on those prerequisite skills.

You know your child best. Sometimes they’re in the right mood for a catch-and-correct + give me five, sometimes they’re not. Don’t push it and make the communicative interaction unpleasant. Keep it light, fun, and focused on connection and success.

Moving forward, we’re going to take the information obtained from the child’s error (mistakes are such awesome learning opportunities!) and weave it into future activities for more practice, but the point of the catch-and-correct + give me five strategy is to help the child improve production, give a bit of practice to solidify the new skill, and move on.

Fall 2020 Webinar Series

We may be socially distant, but we can still learn together.  Join me for my Fall 2020 Webinar Series!

Fall 2020 Webinar Series

9/23/2020 8PM EST: Listen Up

How can professionals help parents learn about their children’s hearing loss and the importance of all-waking-hours access to sound if listening and spoken language are the desired outcome?  Learn how to convey this information in a variety of compelling, understandable ways to suit a variety of parent and family needs.  REGISTER HERE

10/14/2020 8PM EST: Super Sessions

From planning to implementation to charting, I’ll share my tips and tricks for setting goals, choosing activities, and making sessions run smoothly.  Get a behind-the-scenes look at Auditory Verbal Therapy sessions.  REGISTER HERE

11/18/2020 8PM EST: Social Skills Activities

Children with hearing loss may struggle with social skills, even if they have age-appropriate speech and language.  Learn simple activities to target a variety of social skills (Theory of Mind, conversational repair, etc.) for everyone from babies to high schoolers.  REGISTER HERE

12/2/2020 8PM EST: Case Studies

I’ll dig into my archives to share case studies that touch upon clinicians’ most common concerns: bilingual oral language learners, children with multiple disabilities, children who receive hearing technology late, and more.  Walk through these cases with me and gain insights that can help you with the children and families you serve.  REGISTER HERE

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

I can’t make it at that time!  Will these webinars be available on demand?

Yes!  You will need to register for the session before the live event date (just as if you were planning to attend live).  After the event is finished, you will receive a link to watch the recording.

Are CEUs offered?

AG Bell LSLS CEs are pending.  For ASHA members, this counts as an “acceptable professional development” activity and can be counted toward certification maintenance (see more on this HERE).  All participants will receive a certificate of completion as documentation for other certification purposes.

Are the webinars captioned?

Of course!  Google’s automated captions will be used for the webinars.

ToM Part 2: Best Books for Theory of Mind

In Part One of this series, I introduced the concept of Theory of Mind (ToM) and why children with hearing loss are at risk to struggle with this particular aspect of cognitive development. Now, let’s dive in to what we can do to help build ToM abilities in children who are deaf or hard of hearing. We’ll start with my favorite thing to do in Auditory Verbal Therapy — read a book! Continue reading

ToM Part 1: Theory of Mind and Children with Hearing Loss

Theory of Mind (ToM) is the ability to understand that other people’s thoughts, desires, motivations, and preferences are not the same as our own.  Babies begin life seeing everyone in the world as an extension of themselves (which makes sense, because for the past nine months, they basically were!).  Toddlers might not realize that even if they say, “I didn’t eat the cookie,” the chocolate around their mouths tells a different story.  Young children may have difficulty dealing with the fact that not everyone wants to play their favorite game or talk about their favorite topics 24/7.  But as we grow, typically-developing people begin to learn the boundaries between “my thoughts” and “others’ thoughts” and use that Theory of Mind to navigate social situations.  If Theory of Mind doe snot develop, or does not develop fully, social difficulties can follow.  People with autism generally struggle with this “mind blindness,” which might not be so shocking, but did you know that children with hearing loss are at particular risk for ToM difficulty, too?

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Making Language Catchable

There’s a saying that “Language is caught, not taught.”  It would be impossible (and boring for both the adult and child!) to sit down and directly teach a child every word, phrase, or sentence structure he needs to know.  It also wouldn’t lead to very natural results.  Instead, the best language that children learn is picked up incidentally (indirectly, informally, in the course of daily life).  So, how do we make our language more “catchable”?

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Give Me a “WHY”

So often in therapy, I feel that we (professionals) coach parents to use specific techniques (which is great!) and expect them to just do it because we said so (not so great!).  This is not to say that therapists are being authoritative, or pushy, or bad in any way, but I do think that we generally tend to assume that if we say it, parents will do it — and the majority do.  But whyOther than the rare parent who feels comfortable enough to challenge or question the professionals, I think parents take what we say at face value because there is an enormous power differential between parent and professional. 

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FREE PRINTABLE: Don’t Forget to Feed Your Brain!

Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean our brains take a break from growing.  Use this printable to remind yourself, your child, or the families you serve to keep up the good work of “feeding their brains”!

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The PAW Strategy for Structuring Your Session

Therapists (hopefully!) spend a lot of time carefully planning goals and activities for each Auditory Verbal Therapy session, but professional planning is not enough.  Parent coaching is the heart of AVT.  It is not enough for you, the professional, to know what’s going on.  Parents deserve this information, too!  Below, I’ll detail a strategy I came up with called “PAW” that can help you structure your sessions for maximum engagement.

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AG Bell 2018 Presentation Slides

This summer I had the opportunity to present with some incredible friends and colleagues at the 2018 AG Bell Convention in Scottsdale, Arizona.  Below are PDFs of the slides from our presentations.  Enjoy!

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“Minimally Invasive Therapy” (Rethinking Equal Talk Time)

When I began studying auditory verbal therapy, one concept I learned was the “equal time pie” or “equal talk time,” — the idea that all three participants in an AVT session (child, parent, and therapist), should each be doing roughly 1/3 of the talking during the session.  For years, I tried to self-monitor during my intervention to make sure this was happening.  But then I started teaching students about AVT at the university level.  After weeks of hearing me drive home the point that families are their children’s first and best teachers, one student raised her hand and asked a question that revolutionized the way I think about sharing talk time in sessions…

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