Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Promoting Listening and Language Development Through Everyday Experiences

Today's post is an oldie but goodie written by my friend and colleague, 
Mary Boucher Jones MA CCC/S LSLS Cert AVT
Listen and Learn Communication Center Indianapolis, Indiana

We presented this information in Vietnam together at Parent Night when volunteering with the Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss

Promoting Listening and Language Development Through Everyday Experiences

The everyday chores of home living provide an abundance of opportunities to develop language skills.
  Include your child in your daily activities and enrich his language as you talk to him about what you are doing.
Here are some examples of household activities that can be turned into a fun learning experience for your child.

Setting the table                                                                  Getting a haircut
Washing the dishes                                                             Ironing the clothes
Sweeping the floor                                                              Watching Daddy shave
Dusting the furniture                                                            Watering the plants
Making the bed                                                                    Scouring the sink
Going grocery shopping                                                      Putting groceries away
Buying new ____________                                                 Visiting a friend or relative
Filling the gas tank                                                             Washing a car
Going to the bank                                                               Changing a light bulb
Fixing a broken ___________                                            Looking at a newspaper
Feeding a pet                                                                     Doing the laundry
Checking a hearing aid or cochlear implant                       Taking a bath
Shampooing hair                                                                Brushing teeth
Mowing the lawn                                                                 
Visiting the post office
Preparing dinner                                                                 Preparing a special treat
Eating at a restaurant                                                         Taking a walk

Activities for Expanding Language Doing the Laundry
Listening Activities
·      Listen to the water filling the washing machine drum.
·      Listen to the water changing cycles.
·      Listen to the turning dials.
·      Listen to the motor sounds.
·      Listen to clothes bumping in the dryer
·      Listen to buzzers and timers.

Cognitive Activities
·      Sort clothes by color.
·      Sort clothes by which body part they cover.
·      Sort like clothes together (pants together, socks together, etc.).
·      Sort clothes by their owner. (Mom, Dad, sister, brother, etc.)
·      Sort clothes by texture. (soft, silky, rough, etc.)
·      Sort clothes by design. (stripes, checks, prints, etc.)
·      Sort clothes by function. (school clothes, play clothes, church clothes, etc.)
·      Compare lengths (Mom’s pants, Dad’s pants, and Child’s pants)
·      Compare sizes.
·      Sort clean and dirty clothes.

Vocabulary to Target
sort                                                     separate                                            find
spray (prewash)                                 pour                                                   take out
load                                                    listen                                                               open/close (lid)
push                                                   turn                                                     fill (washer)
fold                                                     hang                                                   match (socks)
collect                                                 pick up                                               gather
Watch (water line and agitation)
Items Needed
washing machine                           clothes                                               detergent
pre-wash                                        bleach                                                stain remover
fabric softener                                clothes line                                         clothes pins
dryer                                               drying rack                                          lint
hamper                                           laundry basket
Types of Clothes (purpose)
play clothes                                   school clothes                                   work clothes
special occasion clothes               pajamas                                            exercise clothes
Types of Clothes (names)
pants                                                  shirts                                      dresses
shorts                                                 socks                                     skirts
tops                                                   blouses                                  nightgown
jeans                                                  capris                                     jacket
coat                                                   underwear                              diaper
***Once one name is known for an object occasionally substitute a synonym when appropriate.
For example: socks: stockings, tights, panty hose, knee socks
Describing Clothes Appearance
colors                                                 striped                                   checked
patterned                                           printed                                   wrinkled
fabric names (corduroy, denim,                                                       colorful
Describing Fabric Texture
soft                                                    rough                                    bumpy
smooth                                              silky                                      heavy
light-weight                                       damp                                     wet
dry                                                    scratchy                                
Parts of Clothing
collar                                                  sleeve                                     cuff
leg                                                      zipper                                     snap
button                                                 hook                                       buckle

Question To Ask?

Whose _______________________? (pants, socks, sweater, etc.)
Where are _____________________? (clean clothes, soft clothes, striped clothes, etc.)
Where do you wear______________? (socks, hats, pants, etc.)
How does ____________feel?
What kind of clothes? (uniform, pajamas, school clothes, etc.)
What do you wear ___________? (on your feet, on your arms, on your head, etc.)
What do we do ____________? (first, next, last, etc.)
When do you wear________ ? (a jacket, pajamas, a uniform, etc.)
When do we put ______ in?   (detergent, fabric softener, clothes, etc.)
Which clothes are ________ (Mommy’s, play clothes, soft, dirty, etc.)
Can you find another________ (pair of pants, sock, shirt that is Daddy’s, etc.)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

REPETITION: Everyday Activities and Routines to Build Listening and Language Skills

Today's post was adapted from a blog written with help from 

Joanna Brachmaier, a rehabilitation and education specialist at MED-EL.

Intended for children ages 3–9.

Routines by definition happen the same way over and over, but that doesn’t mean they need to be boring. No, in fact they can be beneficial! Use the repetition to help your child build language skills.

Repetition Helps Build Language Skills

By speaking the same words or phrases over and over you can build and reinforce your child’s understanding of these words and phrases. When incorporated with routines, you can help your child to learn specific words and phrases without needing any special toys or materials.
Here are some of the different routines that you can use to build language skills:
  • Cleaning the house or a specific room
  • Having a bath
  • Cooking or preparing for meal time
  • Reading a book
  • Putting on clothing in the morning
  • Getting undressed in the evening
  • Going to bed

What to Do

Depending on the specific routine or activity, here are some of the different things that you can do:
  • Use straightforward, but meaningful, language:
    • “Up, up, up! Go up on to your bed.”
    • “Your pajamas are under the blanket.”
  • Prepare your child by setting the scene:
    • “It’s night time, it’s time to go to bed!”
    • “Now let’s read a book.”
  • Narrate what you are doing:
    • As you grab the toothpaste, say “now it’s time to squeeze the toothpaste onto the toothbrush.”
    • As you grab a pair of pants, say “now here are your pants”
  • Name each and every object when you first use it or approach it:
    • “Let’s grab the forks and knives.”
    • “Don’t forget to tie your shoe laces.”
  • Imitate the sounds that your child will hear:
    • “The bath water goes splash, splash, splash!”
    • “The zipper goes ziiiiiiiiiiip.”
  • Encourage your child to respond, like saying the word or sound or giving objects names:
    • “What sound does your stuffed animal make?” If it’s dog for example, then encourage them to say “Bark! Bark!”
    • “Where is the broom and dustpan?” Then encourage them to say, “In the closet!”
  • When dressing, give your child the chance to choose:
    • “Do you want the red shirt or the yellow shirt?”
    • “It’s cold outside. What clothes do we need?”
Make sure to encourage your child to play an active role in all of these activities so that he or she engages with the words you’re using. Soon, by doing these exercises over and over again you can help your child to build language skills. Once you feel they’ve mastered some words then move onto more difficult ones. Your child’s progress might surprise you!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Bluffing - The Child with Hearing Loss Attempts to Blend In

Today's blog is by Michelle Bogaty Blend, M.A. CCC-SLP
Click HERE  to read the article at SPEECH4HEARING.COM
The Art of Faking It: An Attempt to Blend In for the Child with Hearing Loss

IMG_0541Today, I taught one of my students one of the most important lessons that I could have taught her. Typically, we think of the key parts of listening and spoken language therapy to be auditory discrimination tasks, vocabulary lessons, grammar lessons, and speech sound practice, to mention just a few. However, this lesson was the importance of not “faking it”, especially during auditory therapy and audiological assessment.
As we often start our sessions, we went through the Ling sounds, and then a quick one syllable word list. Halfway through the list, she mumbled over one of the words. When I asked her to repeat her response, she, again, muttered through it. I stopped and asked why she did not clearly repeat the word. With honesty, she said it was because she was’t sure what I had said. She wasn’t sure if the word was “cake” or “cape”. So, she decided to say it with a very soft final consonant, just in case I didn’t notice and marked it as correct. This began one of the more important lessons that I have taught this student.
Children with hearing loss often find themselves having to “fake it” in school and in social situations. They pretend they heard the directions in class, but rather look around and figure out what is going on, based upon what others are doing. Actually, we teach this skill, telling kids to “read the room”. Socially, kids with hearing loss often pretend they are part of social conversations, smiling, and nodding their heads, laughing when the other kids laugh, even when they have no idea what was said. For some, this skill has been so well honed, that no one even notices that the child has missed almost an entire conversation. While this is definitely not what we want our children with hearing loss to do all of the time, for many children, it is expected, at least some of the time (i.e. when in large groups or noisy situations like the cafeteria). It is important for children with hearing loss to have an arsenal full of ways to help fill in what they have missed, rather than asking “What?” all of the time. These can include:
  • Asking for a repetition
  • Asking for clarification
  • Looking around to see what others are doing (“reading the room”)
  • Repeating the part of the message heard (“You are going to the mall, with who?)
  • Repeating the word that didn’t make sense (“Did you say _______?”)
  • Expressing when the breakdown is with comprehension of the language not hearing the message (“I heard that you said ______, but what does that mean?”)
We discussed that sometimes it is okay to “fake it” socially, to avoid embarrassment. Within the school day, it is okay to “read the room” to help with following directions given to the class when that is sufficient. During an academic lesson in class, if she is confused and not ready to ask for clarification in the middle of the lesson, she must at least do so after the lesson or during her time in the resource room. However, I explained that “faking it” during auditory therapy and audiological evaluations was a “no no”.
We compared the situations. How socially, she was trying to fit in as much as possible and didn’t want to draw too much negative attention to herself. So, by pretending that she heard a comment from a peer, she wasn’t necessarily hurting anyone. We discussed “reading the room” as a good strategy to following directions, and ultimately helping her to meet the class expectations. For academic lessons, even if she didn’t speak up during a lesson to explain what was confusing her, by asking for help afterwards from any of her teachers, that she was still allowing herself the opportunity to learn.
On the flip side, we discussed how “faking it” during auditory therapy and during her audiological evaluations was actually a detriment to her progress. I explained that by leading the auditory therapist to believe that she is hearing optimally, needed auditory practice might not occur. And, that by scoring perfectly on audiological assessments, via cheating, she would not provide the audiologist with the information needed to make changes to her hearing aid program or her cochlear implant MAPs. She needed to learn that pretending in these situations did not allow the professionals to help maximize her hearing potential.
As I find with so many of the students that I work with, this little girl needed to understand that the errors that she makes in listening therapy and hearing evaluations are not her “getting it wrong” but rather the best way to allow the professionals to figure out how to help her to hear even better. While we may need to revisit this discussion, I think that she has begun to understand the importance of this lesson and I know that it will go very far in the progress that she makes.

Suggestions for Successful Conversations in Group Situations for Kids with Hearing Loss

Today's blog is by Jay R. Lucker, Ed.D., CCC-A/SLP, FAAA, and Anne T. Molloy, Psy.D

Click HERE  to read the article at the 
Listening and Spoken Language Knowledge Center of AGBELL

Overcoming Problems with Group Conversations for 

Children with Hearing Loss 

One concern parents often bring to professionals is that their children with hearing loss have few friends or find themselves left out of social situations, especially groups of children.  Significant challenges with group communication become more  obvious as children transition into their teen years—middle and high school. Many professionals tell parents this is due to the hearing loss, which makes social interactions difficult.  But hearing loss may not be the only reason.  One factor may be that children with hearing loss have not learned how to advocate effectively for themselves in group social situations.

Children with hearing loss often shy away from group communication situations hoping that no one will ask them a question or insist that they join in on the conversation.  In contrast, they usually find it comfortable communicating with only one person at a time, especially when that person is a close friend who has learned how to communicate effectively with them. When teens reach middle and high school they find significant challenges with group communication.  Rather than being part of a group, these teens often state that they prefer to be alone or with one other person having a conversation.

Parents, and even professionals, attribute these group communication challenges to the difficulties these children and teens have because of their hearing loss.  This is true, but the presence of the hearing loss should not be an excuse to avoid participating in group conversations.  Self-advocacy skills are important for children with hearing loss.  Children who may expect that someone will always be there to intervene for them in communication situations they find difficult may grow up not knowing what to do in order to communicate successfully in these situations.

When we think about how we teach children with hearing loss how to communicate, we usually do so in a one-on-one situation.  If this instruction occurs in a group format, the leader of the group tends to speak directly to each individual child and controls the communication so that only one person speaks at a time. In the real world when children and teens interact, this is not the way communication and interaction occur.

If you think about a situation in which you could not understand a person, such as on a cell phone with a bad connection, wouldn’t you let the person on the other end of the conversation know why you are having difficulty understanding what they are saying?  Similarly, we need to teach children with hearing loss to inform others about their difficulties communicating and understanding without embarrassing themselves.

A goal that must be included in the child’s educational plan and speech-language/communication therapy provided for children with hearing loss is to teach them self-advocacy skills for dealing with group conversations.  These advocacy skills need to be taught to children and practiced in group conversations long before they are teenagers so that they can lead successful lives communicating with their peers when they reach that important age of peer interaction starting around upper elementary school and particularly in middle and high school.  These advocacy skills should be socially appropriate and not embarrassing to the child with hearing loss. The following are self-advocacy skills we have used successfully in our clinical work with many children who have hearing loss.

Many children with hearing loss may feel uncomfortable revealing their hearing loss and communication challenges to others.  Yet, what they do not realize is that most people with whom they will interact throughout their lives do not understand the impact of hearing loss on communication. Children with hearing loss typically grow up with parents, teachers and others who eventually learn how to adapt to the child’s hearing loss and thus modify how they communicate with the child. For example, parents of children with hearing loss automatically face and remain facing the child when speaking with the child in order to provide needed visual cues for speechreading. Thus, when these children meet another child at the playground or at school, they might expect that the child will also face them and continue to face them while speaking with them. The children with hearing loss do not realize that the other child may have absolutely no understanding of hearing loss and what a child with a hearing loss requires for successful communication.

 In teaching children with hearing loss to self-advocate, the first thing a child with a hearing loss needs to learn is that most people they meet will not know that they have a hearing loss and will not understand how to successfully communicate with them. This is true not only for other children they meet but also for adults with whom they come in contact. Children with hearing loss need to understand how to explain to others that they have a hearing loss and that they may have difficulties communicating with others, and especially with understanding what they are saying. Children with hearing loss also need to learn how to explain to others their strategies for successful communication, such as, “Please face me when you speak with me. What you are saying is important.  I need to see your face when you speak in order to understand what you are saying.”  Presenting a statement in this manner lets the other person know that you are interested in and want to understand what that person is saying.

Another strategy is to teach children with hearing loss to tell other people that they may periodically summarize what they think they understood in order to ensure that they are following the conversation. Again, the focus is that the other person’s conversation is important and the child wants to be sure he/she understands what was said.  Then, during the conversation, the child has to learn how to summarize what other people say.

A third strategy is for the child with hearing loss to let others know that he or she has difficulty realizing when the topic of the conversation has changed. The child needs to ask others to state that the conversation has moved to a new topic and to let him/her know what the new topic is. In educating others about this need, using wording such as, “I really want to follow what you are saying, so let me know if you change topics so I can follow along.”

The major theme in all of these strategies is to teach the child with hearing loss to focus on the importance of the other person’s conversation and the desire to follow what that person is saying. People tend to be more receptive and understanding when the requested accommodation focuses on them and not the need of the person asking for the accommodation. This is especially true for young children and teens who tend to be somewhat self-centered, especially during conversations.

In the beginning, these self-advocacy skills should be taught and practiced in one-on-one interactions where it is easier to begin applying these advocacy skills in everyday conversations. Once the child has learned to do this on a regular basis, it is easy to use these strategies during group conversations. These skills can be taught by therapists working with the child—speech-language pathologists, psychologists or educators such as teachers of the deaf and hard of hearing. The focus is to help people, especially in group situations, understand the needs of the person with hearing loss until they get to be familiar with that person. However, even if they are very familiar, it is not a bad idea to teach the teen to remind the people in the group, “Remember please, I really want to join in the conversation, but I have a hearing loss.  So, please……” giving some key things needed for successful communication.

It is important that we develop self-advocacy skills in our children with hearing loss as early as possible. Waiting until problems get out of hand before introducing such skills may be too late. At such times, the child or teen may become negatively emotionally involved and will not want to admit the hearing loss and instead opt to avoid group communication situations altogether. The key is to start as soon as possible, using wording that is appropriate to the child’s age and self-understanding of hearing loss. In the end, the child will feel more comfortable in and be more successful during group communication situations.
Source: Volta Voices, November/December 2014