Thursday, April 24, 2014

Hearing Loss Plus - Applying for Disability Benefits

A communication impairment can significantly impact your child's ability to function on a level similar to his or her peers. Specialized therapy, assistive technology, and medical attention—all integral parts of recovery—can be very costly. 

If your child has a communication disorder and you cannot afford to support their specific needs, you may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits on his or her behalf. If your child has a hearing loss as  either as a primary condition or associated with another injury or illness – then he or she may be eligible to receive disability benefits through the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s): Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program and/or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program

Although the application process can seem complicated and overwhelming, disability benefits are often a necessary lifeline for many families. Once you are awarded benefits, you will be able to better support your child’s needs.

Starting Points:  

1. Eligibility for Benefits
A child under the age of 18 typically qualifies for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) rather than Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). This is because the SSDI program requires past employment and a specific amount of taxes paid into the system. However, if a child’s parent currently receives SSDI, the disabled child may be eligible for dependent benefits under that parent’s name. If you feel that your child may qualify for dependent benefits under a parent or guardian, contact the representative who handles the eligible parent’s claim.
SSI, on the other hand, pays benefits to elderly or disabled individuals who have access to very limited income. There are no work-related requirements for SSI—making this program the best option for children with disabilities. To qualify, applicants must meet very specific financial requirements. In the case of a child, a parent or guardian’s income will be evaluated. Learn about the specific financial limits, here:

2. Disability in childhood
In addition to the technical requirements listed above, there is also a basic definition of disability that your son or daughter must meet. 
This is as follows:
-  Your child is considered disabled if he or she has an impairment (or combination of impairments) that causes pronounced and severe limitations or
-  Your child is disabled if he or she fails to meet age-specific developmental milestones as a result of a diagnosed medical condition.

3. Requirements based on medical conditions
If your child meets the basic definition of disability, his or her condition will be evaluated based on very specific medical requirements. These requirements can be found in the SSA’s guide of potentially disabling conditions, known as the blue book.  Although a specific diagnosis is not listed in the SSA’s blue book, your child may still qualify for disability benefits.
There are two ways in which your child may qualify for SSI without meeting a blue book listing:
- Match the specific medical criteria listed under a separate but similar listing
- Provide evidence that, despite not meeting a blue book listing, your child’s impairment causes significant difficulty completing age-appropriate activities of daily living.

You must provide thorough documentation of your child’s specific limitations. The SSA will use this information to complete the Childhood Evaluation Form (SSA-528), which is used to evaluate the severity of a child’s condition.

4. How to apply for benefits
The initial childhood application for SSI is comprised of two forms and a required interview. Many parents prefer to complete the necessary paperwork and their interview at the same time.
The first step toward applying is to schedule your appointment with the SSA. It will probably take some time before there is an available appointment date. Use the time in the interim to collect all of the necessary documentation, including: medical records, school records,and any other information that points to the limitations and challenges your child faces on a daily basis.
5. The application and review processes
Once you complete the initial application, it might be months before your receive a decision. You should be prepared to face the possibility that your child might be denied. If this happens, it is important that you do not give up. You have 60 days from receiving the denial to file an appeal.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Kids Corner For Children With Hearing Loss - by MED-EL

Meet Mellie who will share things stories about 
how hearing works, hearing loss, what is a CI and more.

Click HERE.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Literacy and Reading Milestones

Click HERE  to read the developmental milestones for early literacy developed by the Reach Out and Read organization.

Click HERE to read the milestones for literacy development developed for the First Years Program 
by Wilson, K. & Katz M. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Copyright Mary McGinnis/John Tracy Clinic 1999-2013  

Click HERE  to download a copy of this free checklist.

WHAT IS LANGUAGE? (Lois Bloom, Margaret Lahey)

Lois Bloom and Margaret Lahey, describe language, 
"as a means to communicate and express ideas, representing objects, events and relationships in a systematic way where rules govern the combination of words and sentences." 

Language is a complex system that develops in the context of the social relationships of the child. Language goes beyond the production of "words" for it is the way in which we share ideas, share feelings and represent the contents of our minds to our communicative partners. Language is the way we make ourselves known to others.

Important Precursors to Language: In order to develop language, there are many critical precursors that emerge between 0-12 months of age, prior to the expression of first words. In the first year of life the child is developing a foundation for communication based on developing capacities for: intentionality, shared attention, affective engagement, reciprocity and the building of ideas and meaning. These are developed in the context of playful interaction with caring parents and caregivers, either through gestural, non-verbal affective exchanges or pre-verbal sound making.

Building intentionality: Intentionality is a cornerstone for language development. This means supporting a child's ability to experience themselves as competent communicators. As communicative partners, we want to accept any communication as intentional (eye gaze, gaze shifts between people or objects, facial expressions, body proximity, gestures - reaching, pointing, showing, vocalizations, and approximations of words) and give meaning to their early communication, by responding and encouraging more of the same.

Supporting Shared Attention: Shared attention happens when the child can bring something to your attention with curiosity and delight, as if to say, "Look!" Early on, children appeal for shared attention with another through gaze, gestures and sounds. You respond and together are sharing interest around the same idea, demonstrating "mutual engagement." In DIR ® we join the child around their interests ("following their lead"), and thus we are able to validate their experience and intention. As we support and sustain shared attention with the child, they in turn can share and expand on their interests further.

Support sound making and social communication: By mirroring back, imitating with joy and variation of rhythm, a child's tone and volume, you help a child to understand that sounds and social communication are meaningful. By establishing a continuous flow of back and forth playful sound making you lay foundations for the flow and rhythm of communication central to social relationships.

Support Reciprocity: When children gaze lovingly at communicative partners, vocalize with enthusiasm, and use their gestures and bodies to initiate and respond to their partners, they are engaged in the dance of reciprocity. Relationship formation and early communication development depends on reciprocity. Our responses to a child's first stages of communication and intent give meaning to sound production, shared experience. We lay the foundation for their very first "circles of communication."

REFERENCE: Language Development and Language Disorders Lois BloomMargaret LaheyJohn Wiley & Sons Canada, Limited, 1978 - 

Early Lexicon and Pragmatics

Observe your child’s communication and check to see if he is spontaneously using the following pragmatic categories: (non-verbally or vocally)
  • –  Greeting — smiling, looking, vocalizing or waving when people enter the room
  • –  Farewelling — as above when people leave
  • –  Commenting — pointing or vocalizing at something they want you to see
  • –  Giving — handing you an object either to share or have a turn
  • –  Requesting/Demanding — insisting on your attention or help, etc.
  • –  Rejecting — shaking head no, pushing object away, vocalizing when they don’t
       want something 

    Early Vocabulary is falls under these categories: 

    Lexicon One List: 

    1. child’s name
     2. mama
    3. daddy
    4. me

    5. you
    6. baby
    7. cookie
    8. juice/water/milk 

    9. cup
    10. dress
    11. pants
    12. hat
    13. shoe
    14. sock
    15. eye
    16. nose
    17. mouth
    18. face
    19. hair
    20. hi
    21. bye-bye
    22. dog
    23. cow
    24. bird
    25. fish
    26. ball
    27. light
    28. car
    29. boat
    30. bed
    31. bathroom 

    32. home/house 
    33. truck
    34. airplane
    35. spoon
    36. box
    37. desk
    38. chair
    39. floor
    40. table
    41. book
    42. door
    43. block
    44. crayon
    45. night-night 

    46. picture
    47. bucket
    48. hook
    49. wall
    50. hearing aids/cochlear implants

    NON-EXISTENCE  1. all gone

    RECURRENCE 1. more 2. another 3. again

    REJECTION 1. no

    DENIAL 1. no

    ATTRIBUTION 1. dirty 2. broken 3. hot 4. soft 5. big 6. heavy 7.little 8. new 9. funny

    POSSESSION 1. mine 2. ______’s

    ACTION 1. wash 2. wait 3. stop 4. eat 5. open 6. help 7. say/talk 8. show me, touch 9. turn 10. drink 11. color 12. cut 13. sleep 14. ride 15. draw 16. hold 17. do 18. stand-up

    1. (put) in
    2. (put) on
    3. come (here) 

    4. sit (down) 
    5. go
    6. throw
    7. walk
    8. give
    9. push
    10. run
    11. up
    12. down
    13. jump
    14. under
    15. ride
    16. pick up 

    17. get
    18. hang
    19. find 

Monday, April 7, 2014

"I believe that children with hearing loss can learn to listen and speak.

I believe that parents can be their children's first and best teachers.
I believe that Listening and Spoken Language Specialists can guide them on their way."

Posted by

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Music and Language Milestones

Little Listener, 4 year old Eleisa sings and plays the piano. 
Do you agree she deserves and ice cream cone?


Developed for FIRST YEARS -
Music and Language Milestones*
Adapted from: Barton, C. (April 2010). Spoken Language, and Children with Hearing Loss: 
Part 1. Retrieved from Speech - <part 1, approved for ASHA 

1 Tonal center is the "home key." When a child has a sense of tonal center, they can sing a song all the way through in
the same key.
* Music milestones adapted from Campbell & Scott-Kassner (1995), Gordon (2003), McDonald (1979), MENC (2010),
Moog (1976), and Schwartz (2008).
Language milestones adapted from ASHA (2009), CDC (2009), FIRST YEARS (2009), NIDCD (2001), and Sindrey, (1997).
  •   American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). (2009). How does your child hear and talk? Retrieved from
  •   Campbell, P.S. & Scott-Kassner, C. (1995). Music in childhood: From preschool through elementary grades. New York: Schirmer Books
  •   Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2009). Developmental milestones. Retrieved from
  •   FIRST YEARS. (2009). Developmental Milestones, Birth to 8 Years. Retrieved 3/28/11 from
  •   Gordon, E. (2003). A music learning theory for newborn and young children. Chicago: GIA Publications.
  •   McDonald, D.T. (1979). Music in our lives: The early years. Washington, DC: NAEYC.
  •   MENC. (2010) Performance Standards for Music: Pre-kindergarten (Ages 2-4). Retrieved on January 25, 2010 from
  •   Moog, H. (1976). The musical experience of the pre-school child. London: B. Schott.
  •   National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). (2001). Speech and language
    developmental milestones. Retrieved from
  •   Schwartz, E. (2008). Music, therapy, and early childhood: A developmental approach. Gilsum, NH: Barcelona
  •   Sindrey, D. (1997). Listening games for Littles. London, Ontario: Wordplay Publications. 

Strategies for Developing Listening Skills in Young Listeners
Strategies for Developing Listening Skills

Reference: Unknown

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

APRIL: Listening and Spoken Language Calendar

Here is a month's worth of language suggestions that you can incorporate at home and in your Auditory Verbal therapy sessions.

Click HERE to download your own printable.