Listening beyond hearing

 

 

 “Deaf people can do anything hearing people can, except hear!” – Dr. King Jordan

Any journey to unknown territory is scary. The excitement, anxiousness, fear, emotional upheaval and anticipation add to the drama. However once you set sail, you face the waves as they come and that is exactly what we at HearMeSpeak have done.

It has been an educative, sometimes tiring, sometimes exciting, and never-a-dull-minute kind of journey for us this past year. With wonderful and heartfelt support from parents, doctors, specialists, therapists and lovely children themselves; we have completed a year on a high.

HearMeSpeak was started as a forum to help and educate parents with hearing impaired children. The idea was to explain to them that children with hearing impairment are no different from regular children.  At the same time, the mission was to help them get access to specialists who would help them help their children overcome the disability. The goal was to separate the ‘dis’ and focus on the ‘ability’.  Together with a team of individuals who believed in the vision and shared the same set of beliefs we have come so far.

The icing on the cake for HearMeSpeak was the Audio Visual movie directed by Vernita Verma and narrated by the face of HearMeSpeak – Alpa Bhawani. The movie focussed on how parents can use every day routines to develop spoken language in their child. A big thank you and round of applause to the parents who agreed to come on camera without inhibition and share their stories with the world.

In this exhaustive but highly productive year, we have grown- not just in numbers, but also in knowledge, information and support. We started off by connecting with families of children with hearing loss. Interacting with them, helping them understand the shortcomings, explaining treatment options and therapy benefits and seeing them succeed has been gratifying. Watching hearing impaired children communicate effortlessly and normally gives us a sense of satisfaction and euphoria.

Over the past year we have connected families with professionals (both within the country and those based overseas) from this field, through our face book page. Using technology to our advantage, we have conducted online sessions through blab podcast with these professionals and empowered families. We have discussed at length on various topics including, working upon higher language goals by cert. AVT, cochlear implant and what happens after switch on, guidance from audiologist and much more. In addition, we have released blog posts on special occasions like mother’s day, father’s day, Diwali and Christmas.

What makes the journey interesting is that all the activities we have initiated and carried through have been done with unconditional love and with a will to educate our society, all free of cost. We haven’t charged any of the families involved a single fee and have given our services wholeheartedly.

As a result, our good work and good will has spread not only in India but many parts of the world too. As we celebrate our first anniversary, we are reminded that we have much more work to do and many more people to connect with.  Because like Dr Jordan mentioned, “Deaf people can do anything,” and that’s precisely what we aim to be able to do – ANYTHING!

A special mention and heartfelt thanks to Ritu Nakra, Chetana Misra, Vernita Verma, Alpa Bhawani, Dr.Mohnish, Dr.Shomeshwar, Rajiv Thakkar (Parent), Dr.Ruchika Mittal, Vandana Joshil and all those families who came forward to be a part of it. We are blessed and honoured to have your continued support.

Best Wishes

Team

of

Hear Me Speak

 

 

 

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LEAP ON AND ENRICH YOUR CHILD’S SPEECH & LANGUAGE THIS CHRISTMAS

  1. To develop Auditory Memory

There are many things that go on a Christmas tree – like bells, stars, gift boxes, balls, streamers, candy sticks etc in variety of colors. Involve your child in decorating the Christmas tree.

ACTIVITY 1

Before showing the materials, first name them and then take them out one by one. Now cover the materials with a piece of cloth and let the child remember and recall the materials seen in 30 sec.

2. To develop concepts of Positions:

ACTIVITY 2

Depending upon the level of the child, you can use language like, “Let’s put the star on top of the tree”, “Let’s put the golden ball on the right side”, “Let’s put the candy stick in-between two golden bells, etc. Similarly you can introduce other positions like:

  1. In front of, beside, behind, etc.

3. To facilitate Imagination:

ACTIVITY 3

Talking to your child about Santa Clause, and imagining what your child wants Santa Clause to bring. Making up a story as per your child’s imagination helps to develop and enrich the Theory of Mind.

 

santa-clause
Talking to your child about Santa Clause, and imagining what your child wants Santa Clause to bring. Making up a story as per your child’s imagination helps to develop and enrich the Theory of Mind.

  1. To follow multiple Instructions:

 

christmas-card

ACTIVITY 4

Making a Christmas card:

There are many fancy nick knack materials available in the market like ribbons, bows, Santa’s face, stars etc. You can make a Christmas Card along with your child by giving multiple instructions like, “Let’s put Santa’s face in the center of the card and a silver star in the right corner “or “Make four gift boxes in each corner of the card and a heart in the center and then color it red”.

 

  1. To listen and tell the rhyming word:

ACTIVITY 5

You can play a game of rhyming words from the materials mentioned above. Like: Star – Car, Ball – Mall; similarly words like Santa, face, bow, bell etc.

 

  1. To understand why we celebrate Christmas:

story-of-baby-jesus

ACTIVITY 6

Reading a story book on Lord Jesus will help the child understand the real meaning of why we celebrate Christmas. Narrate the whole story and later help the child recall it in his /her own way.

 

GOOD WISHES AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OF YOU!

Ritu Nakra

(LSLS Cert.AVT)

For

Hear Me Speak

 

 

GLORIOUS HEARING

Let's spread the sound of joy this Diwali

 

I look around,

I see beautiful lights gleaming in the night,

I hear joyous sounds,

The sounds of celebration and love.

Like heaven on earth for me.

 

For it is a magical time,

For all those who love.

I can hear you laughing,

I can hear the trees whispering secrets.

I can hear the crackers wish everyone a Happy Diwali

 

That’s  all I need to listen to,

For it is a blessing.

When the day ends,

With a tired smiles on my face,

Eyes gleaming happily and,

My ears buzzing with excitement,

I shall sleep and dream.

 

I shall recall all the sounds ,

All the excitement ,

But my most treasured memory,

The sounds of love ringing through the air ,

For it is Diwali…..

Ananya Nakra

 

 

Tips for fathers and professionals to help facilitate spoken language skills in young children with hearing loss

Father_s_day [1490963]

Dear Dads,

You play a very vital role in the development of your little ones. When you are around your child, the child feels much more secure and protected. As a therapist, I would like to acknowledge all your efforts in helping your child to be a strong individual in his/her life, especially on this Father’s Day.

Tips on how you can contribute in a better manner towards the speech and language development of your child:

  • The male voice is naturally at a lower frequency as compared to a female voice. Hence, your natural low pitch gives an opportunity for children with hearing loss to acquire a good base of suprasegmentals through your voice. Therefore, the golden rule for you is to sing, sing and sing to your child.
  • Since the mother gets tired of all the household chores during the day, you can take the initiative for a bed time story telling session with your child. This gives you a good opportunity to share some special moments with your little one and foster a stronger bond between you both.
  • One of the principles of Auditory Verbal Therapy (AVT) states that to guide and coach parents so that they can help children to integrate listening and spoken language skills into all aspects of their lives. To make the learning experience more natural, joyful, meaningful and fun at home, you can easily supplement the lessons learnt by your child in the therapy sessions by taking your family out during weekends for picnics, jungle safaris, farmhouse visits or even to beach fronts.
  • If you are unable to visit your child’s therapy centre frequently, do try to go at least once a month to meet the professionals involved with your child and to attend guidance and counselling sessions / workshops organised by the centre.
  • Research done by AVT’s in India has concluded that families where there is a healthy relationship between the husband and wife overcome the grief of knowing the fact that their child has a hearing loss in a better way. So, be very supportive of your spouse.

Tips for Professionals to encourage the father’s involvement :

As per the national survey of over 262 fathers of children with hearing loss conducted by Dr. K. Todd Houston, PhD, CCC-SLP, LSLS Cert. AVT, following are the conclusions:

  • Treat fathers as equal partners in the parenting process.
  • Give flexibility of appointments as per their
  • Don’t ignore fathers during meetings. Make eye contact with them, ask them how they are coping and look for ways to support them in the process.
  • Be unbiased in your recommendations.
  • Be sensitive & empathetic to the father’s situation.
  • Don’t make assumptions about the father’s role or level of interest.
  • Provide father-specific information / materials like websites, books or support materials which can help them.
  • Help them to connect with other families with hearing impaired children, especially their fathers and also advocates.
  • Discuss and explain latest technology.
  • Be sensitive to religious and cultural differences.

Wishing all fathers a Happy Father’s Day and hope you have a wonderful journey full of beautiful surprises with your children.

With Warm Regards,

Ritu Nakra

LSLS Cert. AVT

HearMeSpeak celebrates Mother’s Day!

As a parent of a young hearing-impaired child, you are always looking for special days to celebrate and various opportunities to enrich their speech and language skills.

We at HearMeSpeak would like to make this a very special “Mother’s Day” by easing off your burden of how and what to do on this day.

Mothers – with whom our world begins and ends.

Celebrating Mother’s Day with great ideas and giving our children an opportunity to enrich speech and language in a fun-filled way, all stored in a secret box.

 Dear Parents and Professionals , kindly see the following link to know the contents of this secret box and also to learn how to use the contents to make this day a special one, not only for your child but also for yourself.

https://blab.im/6afa4854a2664579902d948d076ba20b

Best Wishes,

Ritu Nakra

LSLS Cert.AVT