Are you a parent considering Auditory Verbal Therapy for your child? Are you a professional considering pursing Listening and Spoken Language Specialist certification? Are you a speech-language pathologist with deaf children on your caseload? Are you a teacher of the deaf looking to brush up on your spoken language strategies? This webinar is for YOU!
“Say please.” “What’s the magic word?” “Tell Joshua you’re sorry.” Most parents of toddlers and preschoolers have said these phrases more times than they can count. Manners are an important part of social functioning, and everyone wants to raise a well-behaved child, but are we defeating the purpose when we insist that our early talkers use these words?
If parenting, in general, is a more-than-full-time job, parenting a child with hearing loss can sometimes feel like an exhausting marathon. While we as professionals need to know when to put “good pressure” on parents of children with hearing loss (encouraging all waking hours use of hearing devices, increasing parent talk, emphasizing the importance of reading, etc.), we must be very careful of striking the right balance. After all, a mom’s got to eat, and shower, and breathe sometimes, too! Parents should not be made to feel guilty for taking some time for self-care. It’s an investment, not an indulgence. So how can we make this happen in a way that’s best for everyone in the family?
Long ago, many children with hearing loss received “speech therapy” well into their teen years and beyond. Thanks to newborn hearing screening, early intervention, and great hearing technology, the world is changing! Now, we find ourselves asking, “When is a child with hearing loss ready to graduate from auditory-verbal therapy?” More correctly, because therapy is a family affair, we should really ask, “When is a family ready to graduate from AVT?”
Accomplished language users know that there are multiple ways to communicate the same message. You could say, “I’m hungry” or I could say, “I’m starving/ famished/ peckish” You could bluntly accuse someone of overreacting or gently prod them with, “Hey! Don’t have a cow!” You could ask a question directly, “Can you please turn on the air conditioning?” or as an indirect request, “It’s kind of hot in here, don’t you think?” You may not be able to do the splits, but if you can say one thing in many different ways, you have an even more valuable skill: linguistic flexibility.
When a child is very young and/or doesn’t talk much (… yet!) it seems like we (parents and professionals) suddenly seem to develop psychic abilities. Mindreading means anticipating the child’s need or what the child is going to say, and taking care of it before giving the child a chance to ask for help or say anything at all. While mindreading a baby’s needs is an important part of infant care, to help toddlers and children develop language, it’s time to put away the crystal ball.
Helping a child with hearing loss learn to listen and talk can be a lot of fun, but when the going gets tough, it’s easy to slip into patterns that we think are helping us but are really pushing us further from our goal. Parents and professionals can be equally guilty of these bad habits. What are they and how can we prevent them and lead to real, lasting language growth? Let’s start with a trip to the pet shop…
Please join me for a webinar on Tuesday June 16th at 7PM Eastern Standard Time. More Than Just Ears: Hearing Loss, Balance, and Mental Health in Seniors is a FREE webinar sponsored by Ear Gear and accredited by the International Hearing Society for continuing education credit. Coming this fall — stay tuned!
Enjoy this recording of my 3/25/2015 webinar for the Cochlear HOPE series, “The Catch-Up Game: Working with Children Who Receive Cochlear Implants Late.” Click CC in the lower right corner for captions.
One of the parents in my practice, the mother of a bright, early-identified, early-amplified, thriving AV toddler, was discussing her son’s preschool options. Should he enroll in a local class for children with hearing loss, or attend the neighborhood preschool with his hearing peers. “I wonder,” the mother asked, “is it ever “too early” to mainstream?”