WHAT WE THINK WE BECOME (BUDDHA) AND WHAT WE HEAR IS WHAT WE SPEAK (Hear Me Speak)

A Session Summary to understand how speech is developed in children with hearing loss!

The first and foremost thing every parent of a child with hearing loss asks is, ‘when will my child start speaking?’

One needs to understand that speaking is directly related to our listening experience.

So when do we start hearing? And what is the difference between Hearing and Listening?

Typically in human beings, the hearing ability is functional by the 20th week of gestation. This means that at birth typical hearing infants have 20 weeks of auditory neural experience, in utero.

So the point to understand here is that in kids with congenital hearing loss, the brain didn’t get access to those sounds which had been presented before birth. Therefore if the hearing loss is diagnosed at the age of six months, the auditory deprivation for the brain has been for ten months already, leading to speech and language delay.

We all hear with the brain; the ears are just a doorway ( Carol Flexor) and the hearing loss restricts the sound from reaching the brain.

Let’s also understand the difference between Hearing and Listening.

Hearing is an act of perceiving sound and receiving sound waves through the ear.

Listening is the act of hearing a sound and understanding what one hears after the brain processes the meaning from words and sentences.

As mentioned above, hearing is first provided and then listening develops followed by development of spoken language.

A typical hearing child speaks four to five words at the age of one year. This speech stage comes when the child has already had a hearing age of sixteen months and good listening environment. For children with hearing loss the stages for speech and language development are the same. Their speech will depend upon the appropriate fitting of the technology whether it is hearing aids or cochlear implants, auditory verbal therapy, good listening environment and the most important thing, the active involvement of the family in the process.

A good voice pattern can only be learned through listening. It improves the child’s ability to self-monitor and self-correct and reduces exaggerated and evident mouth movement.

There is some research done which shows how much practice is needed to influence the neural structure for speech and language development. The Hart and Risley study says that by 4 years of age typical hearing children have hear around 46 million words.

According to Pittman, children with hearing loss require 3 times more exposure to learn new words and concepts and yet they do not have 24/7 hearing.

It is imperative for the parents to understand the significance of language rich environment and providing the same to the kids following the Learning and Spoken Language strategies in a day to day routine.

LSL STRATEGIES FOR SPEECH AND LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT

Listed below are some of the Listening and Spoken Language Strategies which parents should use in their conversation with the kids having hearing loss:

MOTHERESE/ PARENTESE: It is the sing song voice pattern like lullabies, generally used with babies. It helps to gain the attention of young toddlers and babies towards auditory signal.

REPETITION

It is an indirect or informal language stimulation technique where a targeted sound, word, phrase or sentence is said more than one time. In the first year of hearing, this strategy is very helpful.

 

AUDITORY BOMBARDMENT

Kids are bombarded with specific target words or sounds time and again for maximum auditory exposure.

 

BREAKING UP

Multi syllabic words can be broken into smaller units thus making it easier for the kids, followed by full word exposure e.g., spaghetti, caterpillar.

 

SCAFFOLDING

Build upon new vocabulary and language on already known language so it becomes easier for the kids to comprehend.

 

WAIT TIME

It is the pause used between an adult’s interaction with a child that allows the child time to process the auditory information and formulate a response.

 

It is a very important strategy and should always be remembered by the parents especially in the initial months when auditory memory is building up.

 

AUDITORY SANDWICH

It is useful in almost all the age groups and especially implemented with kids dependent on speech reading.

 

In this, information is presented through listening before the introduction of visual or other support information is given and then auditory input is repeated again.

Its purpose is to encourage comprehension and communication through the child’s auditory abilities.

ORAL MOTOR EXERCISES

Oral cavity and muscles play an important role in speech acquisition and development which is generally not very well developed in kids with hearing loss.

 

Here are some exercises to help for the same

  • Breathing Exercises
  • Blowing (cotton balls, candles, feathers, bubbles)
  • Sucking (with short, long and twisted straws)
  • Chewing
  • Tongue Rotations (licking chocolates, honey and ice creams smudged around the mouth)

 

GAMES AND ACTIVITIES

 

Early intervention is undoubtedly important but without compromising on the chuckling childhood of our little munchkins. So here are some of the fun filled games through which parents can practise speech therapy:

 

  • Build up blocks and knock them down
  • Drop things in water
  • Put Ice cream sticks in play dough
  • Throw balls in a bin
  • Jigsaw puzzles
  • Build lego and house pieces
  • Zooming vehicles down a slide
  • Dropping objects through a pipe
  • Putting candles into a playdough cake
  • Banging things with a toy hammer
  • Pegs in pegboard

Most Importantly: Follow the Child’s Lead.

Although after doing everything, dedicating time and energy, putting in efforts in the right direction sometimes the child doesn’t progress as expected, there is no need to panic but be vigilant and patient.

Check the child’s speech in relation with his aided audiogram

Optimal Hearing aid programming / Cochlear Implant mapping

Be patient and encouraging, learning to listen and speak with confidence is inculcated and is a learning process which needs its own sweet time.

If you have any concerns, never hesitate to question the related Professional.

BELIEVE AND MAKE BELIEVE, CHILD WILL LEARN TO LISTEN AND SPEAK.

 

Session Conducted by: Ritu Nakra (LSLS Cert.AVT)

Session Hosted by: Chetana Misra

Session Complied by: LE Nyla Ahamed

 

 

 

 

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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

 

 

 

Tips to involve siblings in teaching of your hearing impaired child to create a healthy and happy environment…..

 

1          Talk about the hearing loss, its implications, amplification devices, care for the devices with your children. There is nothing to hide. You should handle your child’s device with a pride and not with guilt. This reflects on your child and gives him strength to face any situation in public. Let your children understand the handling of device. You need to trust them and be patient with them.

2          It is important to promote communication between the siblings. We often feel that our hearing impaired child will not be able to make our hearing child understand his / her needs and hence we come in-between them as translators. Give them a chance and encourage their communication. They always find their own ways to do so which may even lead to special surprises for you.

3          We need to acknowledge and praise positive and collaborative behaviors. Whenever they are playing together build a positive environment around them where each one gets his own space and praise. Siblings have a fun relationship. Kids learn more while playing, as at that time they are not being taught. Their willingness to learn is enhanced.

4          We need to try to understand the feelings behind a certain act. When siblings complaint, don’t jump into conclusions. It is important to explore the reason behind that complaint. Usually our hearing impaired children get advantage in these situations. But we need to do a fair justice.

5          It is extremely important to schedule time alone with your hearing child. We often get so involved in the care of our hearing impaired child that we forget the needs of our hearing child.  Sometimes you can go alone with your hearing child to make him / her feel special too.

6          Modeling is an important tool for teaching, not just for hearing impaired children but for all kids. This tool can be used most effectively when we involve siblings in our lesson plans.

7          The world doesn’t operate as planned but we adults have a tendency to plan and stick to our plans. Unplanned surprise angles give an added edge and provide a more realistic learning than any planned lesson. Siblings can provide that variety and break the monotony of learning.

8          Speed is as important as the lesson itself. Siblings build a healthy sense of competition which raises the learning curve exponentially. Create fairly competitive games around your lesson plans and you’ll be amazed at the speed at which your child picks up.

                        To conclude, I would like to assert not to consider siblings as a hindrance to their learning but a much welcome support provided by God himself. Those who don’t have siblings need not lose heart. The same can be simulated by inviting their friends over and involving them in your lesson plans.

Ritu Nakra

LSLS Cert.AVT

Acknowledgement

Nirmit Goel mother of Prisha Goel