I hear (and see — on social media) this phrase all the time. Parents who choose amplification and listening and spoken language for their children are reminded by not-so-kind strangers, “She’ll always be deaf, you know…”
In 1975, psychologist Carol Dweck and her team conducted an experiment with a group of low-performing elementary school aged math students. The students were given a very difficult math assignment. These students had a poor self-concept about their ability to succeed in math and a history of bad grades. The students were given a very difficult math assignment and divided into two groups. When they did poorly, the children in Group One were told that they could do better with more effort, that they had the ability to improve their skills, and were given lessons in persistence and problem solving. Group Two was not given this feedback or training. Despite both groups starting out as equally poor performers, the children in Group One actually improved their math abilities over time, while the children in Group Two continued to fall apart on the assignments and did not progress. What made the difference?
I often receive questions from parents, especially around the holidays, for suggestions of toys that will help their children grow listening, speech, and language skills… and have fun! This week’s tip helps you zero in on what kinds of toys promote language, and which you can walk right by in the toys store because they actually hurt your child’s language progress. Read on!
We live in a noisy world! Take a minute and think about all of the noises that surround you: the clanging of a radiator, noise from the street outside, someone driving by with their radio turned up too loud, a television blaring in the other room. Now think about how hard it would be to be a child trying to learn to hear and learn language in the middle of all of this chaos. This week’s tip encourages you to PULL THE PLUG and turn off sources of electronic background noise in your home to make the listening environment friendly for your little listener’s brain.
You may have heard that your words have the power to grow your child’s brain and that children who are successful in kindergarten have heard far more words in their first years than their less successful peers. All of this is true, but it’s not just the number of words that matters… the richness and quality of those words is important, too!
Did you know that babies practice talking long before they say their first words. This week’s tip, BABBLE MATTERS, is about the importance of baby’s coos and goos. As it turns out, goo goo ga ga isn’t just adorable, it’s the foundation for later language success.
An Auditory Verbal Therapist wears many hats: insurance company negotiator, toy cleaner, language sample transcriber, amateur children’s literature critic… and sometimes an actual funny hat or two in a game of dress up. And though I think I look spectacular in a princess tiara, my two favorite roles, the ones I’m most honored to have, are those of Guide and Coach to the families who honor me by allowing me to be a part of their child’s team.
There are some families who are a joy to work with. They show up on time, their children always have their hearing technology on and working, they read to their children, never miss an appointment, and bring you treats for the holidays. There are others who make professionals want to pull their hair out. Chronically late or absent, hearing aids always in disrepair, unmotivated, nonparticipatory, it seems as if these parents just don’t want their children to succeed. Are these just “bad parents”? Would their children be better off spending less time with their parents and more time with us, the professionals, who can help them learn to listen and talk?
If a child with hearing loss is scoring at or above the level expected for her hearing peers, it’s time to celebrate (and graduate)! But why does this seemingly joyful milestone cause so much anxiety for parents and professionals? Why do children who are “doing well” still struggle sometimes, and what can be done about it?
Behavior is a tricky, touchy subject. Every family parents differently and has different experiences, expectations, and emotions regarding how best to help children learn to behave within the norms of their family and culture. Usually, parents are the primary disciplinarians, the ones setting the standards for their children and dealing with the tantrums, disagreements, and power struggles that are a normal part of growing up. But when a child’s behavior needs spill over into a therapy session, how can professionals and parents partner for success?