Monday, February 20, 2017

Addressing Auditory Access Needs of School Age Children With Hearing Loss

It was rewarding to meet, network and learn from the Supporting Success for Children with Hearing Loss Conference in Orlando February 16- 18, 2017. The conference attendees came from different locations and backgrounds but all were challenged to become Zebra Experts! This included arriving at the conference wearing zebra shoes, sweaters, scarves, and more which was a great icebreaker and conversation starter.

In the keynote session, Karen L. Anderson, Ph.D., Director of Supporting Success for Children with Hearing Loss told us that, “When you hear hoof beats, they are usually horses and not zebras.” She explained that, 
• Hearing loss is not a disorder, like LD or language disorders 
• Hearing loss is not an attention disorder, like ADHD or ASD 
• Hearing loss is not a cognitive disorder, but academic delays and some functional classroom issues are common 
• Hearing loss can LOOK like every one of these issues.
Hearing Loss is not the same as other Special Education populations. Hearing loss is an ACCESS Issue creating barriers to learning in the typical classroom environment and impacting social interactions. One result is the cumulative learning gaps due to incidental learning/overhearing deficits. This invisible barrier is why it is necessary to consider functional performance in the classroom across situations. 

Karen shared the areas of learning most likely to be impacted by hearing loss: 
• Language processing issues due to fragmented hearing, vocabulary gaps, syntax, listening rate, etc. 
• Social language use (socially awkward due to delays in pragmatic language development) 
• Periodic inattention due to listening fatigue and gaps in understanding 

• Passive or immature skills in responding when they do not understand 
what was said (need for self-advocacy) 
• Understanding group discussions or participating in small group work due to distance/noise 

Karen reviewed many assessments, checklists, and tools available on her website. She reminded us to gather data and then to:
1. Talk about access – it is at the heart of developing zebra ‘issues’ 
2. Be prepared to list specific learning challenges typically caused by hearing loss
3. Be sensitive to effective practices and potential challenges with HL 
4. Be prepared to describe the unique skills you bring to the team
5. Be ready to address the potential result in outcomes if another professional without DHH training is providing needed services 
6. Advocate for the intensity of services needed for the child to close gaps and to prevent further gaps from developing or compounding
Are you a Zebra Expert? Please share your experiences on how you address ACCESS needs of children with HL in and/out of the school realm.

Monday, February 13, 2017

What Does It Take? - Below The Iceberg

Today, one of my AV Mom's posted a picture on FB celebrating 18 years since her daughter was implanted. Then, I saw this Iceberg Illusion graphic and it reminded me of many of our children now older who have learned to listen and talk and their journey.
Years ago we would say that the goal of auditory-verbal practice was for children who are deaf or hard of hearing to grow up in "typical" learning and living environments that enable them to become independent, participating, and contributing citizens in an inclusive mainstream society.
Today, families of newly diagnosed children still say “I want my baby to listen and talk,” and then ask, “What does it take? ”
Each small step on the path to listening and spoken language makes a huge difference, even if it doesn’t seem like it. It is like everything below the iceberg.
I love this download to help families on their journey. - LSL Everyday: End Of The Day Quick Check Handout

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Listen and Learn: Guess My Valentine Game

Play Guess My Valentine just like any other Guess Who Game. This is a classic holiday game we play in Auditory Verbal Therapy Center of Wheaton by switching up the game cards from Jack-O-Lantern to Snowmen depending on the season.

Number of players: 2 or as a team of parent and child

Cards: 2 matching sets of the 9 heart cards, laminated

Draw 2 sets of 9 different Valentine Heart Game Cards

How to play: Each player/team has a one set of 9 different heart cards. One player draws a card from one of the decks of hearts. The player does not show the card to the other their opponent. Guess My Valentine game begins when the OTHER player asks questions about physical features of the face on their opponent’s hidden card.

Does your Valentine have a heart shaped nose?
Does your heart have sleepy eyes?
Does your heart have a frown?
Is your heart missing his nose?
Is your heart number three?
Is your Valentine happy? 

All questions must be answerable with 'yes' or 'no'. 

If the answer is no, then turn over all the hearts that answer no.

If the answer is yes, the hearts with _______  stay face up.

The players keep asking questions to narrow down the choices until he knows and is ready to guess the opponent’s Valentine card. 

By modeling, children learn how to determine which hearts get turned down and which remain up.

I use Guess My Valentine with a range of ages and stages of listeners beginning with preschoolers. Playing the game is a natural two-way communication activity involving listening and responding as well as logical and deductive reasoning. It lends itself to auditory memory and processing plus a variety of listening and spoken language target areas depending on the child needs such as:
  • vocabulary expansion
  • critical elements
  • categories
  • asking questions
  • grammatical structures
  • use of clear speech
  • turn taking
  • listening to the other players
  • Is/Does questions
  • Using negative and contractions 
  • Using the proper use of has and have

Additional Thoughts and Suggestions

    When using Guess My Valentine, model and expect  the child to ask all questions with:

    Is your heart _____?

    Does your heart have _____?

They must answer using full sentences/phrases, not a simple yes or no.  There are four typical forms for an answer:

    Yes, my heart has _____.

    No, my heart doesn’t have _____.

    Yes, my heart is _____.

    No, my heart isn't _____.

Have fun and happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

February Listening and Spoken Language Calendar

Click HERE to download the free February printable calendar with daily Listening and Spoken Language suggestions for families from the Moog Center.