Saturday, December 1, 2018

Childhood Favorite - Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree

Then      and          now.

Does anyone else use the book by Robert Barry, Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree for auditory verbal sessions? As a child, my Dad and Mom enrolled me in a membership to the Weekly Reader’s book club. I recall the excitement each month as a new book arrived in the mail. This was one of my favorites! Rather progressive back in the day don’t you think?

This book is a classic Christmas story about Mr. Willowby and his new Christmas tree. This book lends itself so beautifully to targeting, rhyming, auditory memory and sequencing activities and story retelling. It is written in rhyme and the pictures are charming. 

Mr. Willowby’s tree is a bit too big, so he has his butler trim off the top, who gives it to the maid. She too trims off the top and the story continues in this manner all the way down to the tiny mouse that lives in Mr. Willowby’s wall. 

Christmas Decorating Barrier Game

A simple “Decorating for Christmas “ activity was a huge hit for an adult in post-CI auditory rehab. This barrier game was played with her brother who is volunteering as her communication coach. Their competition led to her performing the best so far as she followed auditory directions and incorporated clarification skills.

 It seems that Christmas is really is the most wonderful time of the year.

Monday, November 12, 2018

No Limits! Jr National Developmental Gymnastic

Congratulations to KJ Richardson who earned a spot on the Jr National Developmental Gymnastic Team! KJ tied for 10th place in the Future Star National Championships for 11-year-olds at the United States Olympic Training Center. KJ’s talent, work effort, and commitment are awe-inspiring. KJ is an overcomer and an Auditory - Verbal superstar. KJ born deaf hears with cochlear implants and has remarkable spoken language, literacy, and academic abilities. KJ is kind, confident and very social. 

I could not be any prouder of KJ and his family - no limits! I began guiding and coaching the Richardson family soon after he was fit with hearing aids about 4 months of age.

Friday, November 2, 2018

NOVEMBER Listening and Spoken Language Calendar

Click HERE to download the free NOVEMBER printable calendar with daily listening and spoken language suggestions for families from the Moog Center.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Auditory-Verbal Guess My Pumpkin Game

Lynn's Auditory-Verbal Guess My Pumpkin Game

An oldie but goodie!

The pumpkin game is an easy version of the Guess Who? board game which lends itself well to for listening, auditory memory and processing,  deductive reasoning and a wide range of receptive & expressive language skills.

Number of players: 2 (more players can compete as teams)

Description: Each player has a one set of 6 different jack-o-lanterns. One player draws from the extra matching deck a card displaying one of the jack-o-lanterns. The players do not show each other their cards. The player asks questions about physical features of the face on their opponent’s card, e.g., Does your pumpkin have a triangle nose? Or, Is your pumpkin happy? All questions must be answerable with 'yes' or 'no'; What color is your pumpkin's stem? is not allowed. If the answer is 'no', the asker puts down all the pumpkins that answer no; if the answer is 'yes', the pumpkins with _______  stay up and those without _______ go down. The players keep asking questions to narrow down the choices; until he knows the opponent’s card.

Guess My Pumpkin Game can be used for a wide range of listening and language goals:

Clear speech: Producing accurate /s, z/ and/or other sounds, Guess My Pumpkin can be a great exercise in learning to self-monitor.

Is/Does Question forms:

When using Guess My Pumpkin for this purpose, I require the child to ask all questions using one of two forms:
Is your pumpkin_____?
Does your pumpkin have _____?

In addition, I require them to answer using full sentences, not a simple yes or no.
Using negative and contractions doesn’t ....
Using the proper use of has and have...

There are four typical forms for an answer:
Yes, my pumpkin has _____.
No, my pumpkin doesn’t have _____.
Yes, my pumpkin  is _____.
No, my pumpkin is not _____.

Auditory Comprehension; Listening and Responding 

Playing the game is a natural exercise in listening comprehension, as well as logical and deductive reasoning. For the game to work, both players must understand each other’s questions and respond accurately and truthfully. In addition, each player must understand how to determine which pumpkins get turned down and which remain up.

Question formation. Forming yes/no questions in English involves inverting the subject (e.g., your pumpkin) with either the main verb (e.g., is, as in Is your pumpkin scary?) or the auxiliary verb (e.g., does, as in Does your person have a green stem?)

Describing salient features; subjective vs. objective. If you have a child who often communicates by pointing or uses a lot of non-specific vocabulary like that, this, or thing, playing Guess My Pumpkin? can contribute to using more specific descriptions. If this is a difficult thing for your child, it is a good idea to look at the cards together beforehand and warm up by discussing the pumpkins’ distinguishing features. This offers an opportunity to distinguish between objective descriptions (hair color, eye color, nose shape, presence/absence of teeth, etc.) as opposed to more subjective descriptions, such as, scary, cool, angry, etc.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Games That Maximize LSL Skills For Older Kids

For young children and their families, we tuck LSL learning into engaging activities with toys, books, songs, and daily routines. Older children want to have fun, and there is no reason they shouldn’t. Many older kids have been in therapy for years and are not motivated by activities that look like therapy, so games are powerful tools. Two of my favorite games are:

Don’t Say It! Pressman (Ages 6 and up)
Can you get the other players to say FISH? It’s not as easy as it sounds because you can’t say scales, fins, water, or hook.

Skills: Promotes flexible thinking and vocabulary
BackSeat Drawing Junior Patch Products (Ages 7 and up)
The artists don’t know what they are drawing but listen and follow the instructions given by another player.
Skills: Fosters describing, problem-solving and clarification skills
is a guest blog I wrote for the Central Institute For The Deaf  Professional Development.

Commercially available games that maximize listening, spoken language, and communication are a “WIN” for children who are deaf and hard of hearing. Playing board games in therapy, school and at home can foster positive attitudes towards learning. Well-chosen games played with Listening and Spoken Language (LSL) strategies and techniques strengthen listening skills, direction following, expand vocabulary, auditory memory, auditory processing and comprehension of conversational speech. Simply by playing games, children learn important social skills such as sharing, waiting, taking turns and self-advocacy strategies. Following game rules and fair play builds respect. Games help children take responsibility for their own communication success as they are motivated to listen to others, use intelligible speech and express their thoughts clearly.
Roald Dahl once wrote, “Life is more fun when you play games.”  Studies reveal playing games produces endorphins that stimulate the brain. These endorphins give children a great sense of happiness and excitement that foster favorable learning opportunities. Games can make learning seem almost effortless. For young children and their families in early intervention, we tuck LSL learning into engaging activities with toys, books, songs and daily routines. Older children want to have fun, and there is no reason they shouldn’t. Many kids and teens have been in therapy for years and are not motivated by activities that look like therapy, so board games are powerful tools.
The Game Plan
Professionals and parents are responsible for weaving LSL strategies, goals and objectives into the game experience. A GAME PLAN is paramount for positive outcomes rather than just a lucky roll of the dice. A strategy for success is worked out in advance. Step one is choosing a game that is developmentally appropriate based on the child’s current goals and their listening, language and learning needs. Resist the temptation to play a game only because it is popular or marketed as therapy-based or educational. Secondly, determine which LSL strategies to incorporate for effective gameplay. Auditory first, wait time, an expectant look, providing choices, adjusting the size of the set, pausing before challenging information, modeling a correct response and asking, “What did you hear?” facilitate auditory learning. Finally, prepare ahead and know the game set up, rules and any modifications. There is a wise adage often attributed to Benjamin Franklin, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
Click HERE to read on.
Central Institute for the Deaf is a school for the deaf that teaches students using listening and spoken language, also known as the auditory-oral approach. The school is located in St. Louis, Missouri. CID is affiliated Washington University in St. Louis.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Our Tech-Driven World Influence On Listening, Language and Learning

Growing Listening, Language, Literacy and Learning in a Tech-Driven World
By Lynn A. Wood MA CCC/A LSLS Cert. AVT
Republished with permission from Hearing First.
Lynn is the owner of the Auditory Verbal Center of Wheaton and the
Program Leader at Hearing First.
 Hearing First supports the families and professionals on the
Listening and Spoken Language (LSL) journey
through Awareness, Education, Education, and Community,
 so that children who are deaf or hard of hearing
 can learn to listen and talk.

Love them or not, app technology is EXPLODING. As of the last reported period, Apple announced that 140 billion apps had been downloaded from its App Store. In July 2017, The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop published findings from a cross-sectional survey of 1,186 US parents with children between 3 and 6 years of age. They reported that regardless of family income almost all young children today have access to mobile devices.  Access to digital media technology is everywhere, so as LSL professionals, we have the responsibility to educate and guide parents/caregivers regarding the use of apps that are appropriate both developmentally and for listening and spoken language learning.
Dr. Roberta Golinkoff, the keynote speaker at the 2017 AG Bell LSL Symposium, warned about “tele-ference", which is when the phone or screens interrupt interactions and learning. We encourage parents and caregivers to incorporate LSL strategies and techniques in daily life and routines. So, it’s no surprise that parents/caregivers benefit from guidance since screens and phones are embedded throughout the day. We can help them become intentional with their own media use and model face to face interactions.
We know that no screen time for infants under two is advised and tablets alone do not promote listening and spoken language in toddlers and older children. A helpful resource from Family Time With Apps suggests three questions for parents and professionals to consider when choosing apps for kids:
1.    Does the app allow the child to learn and grow? This includes building on their interests, age-appropriate content and encouraged engaging in creative play.
2.    Does the app encourage communication? By providing opportunities to talk about the activity and offer ways to create or play together.
3.    Does the app connect different experiences? Examples are bridging activities between places such as home and school and preparing a child for new learning experiences.
Well-chosen apps, along with the Explode The App model that was created and introduced by Dave Sindrey and myself (2014), respond to these same questions. “We believe the best apps are used like picture books, connecting a child with his parent through meaningful conversation and experience. The best times are had when there are three or more hands on the device.” (Lynn Wood and Dave Sindrey)
The Explode The App model provide interactive lessons and tools for professionals and families to facilitate listening, language, literacy and learning in a tech-driven world. Apps are relevant and effective tools to enhance listening, auditory skill development, spoken language, and literacy for children who are deaf or hard of hearing. As LSL practitioners we should be modeling co-engagement and coaching parents to provide meaningful listening and talking experiences while sharing apps to help children build connections and grow their brain for listening and spoken language.
Have you been using the Explode The App resources that are available in the Hearing First Professional and Family Support Communities? ... READ MORE

About Hearing First
The Hearing First website is a multimedia digital experience and connection point designed to link families who have chosen Listening and Spoken Language (LSL) for their children with hearing loss and the professionals who work with them with the resources, information, tools, community and learning experiences they need to ensure the children in their lives succeed. 
Visit or click here to learn about the Hearing First Communities.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Auditory Verbal Graduate Headed To Venice!

Matt is one of my Auditory Verbal graduates.  Matt’s success is no accident rather he has overcome obstacles related to hearing loss, worked hard, persevered, and never gave up. He has quite a story to share! I am so very proud of him and his family. Way to go Matt!

Monday, August 6, 2018

Sound Advice Article and Mural

The Sound Advice article and accompanying mural was was created by David Sindrey, M.Cl.Sc, LSLS Cert. AVT. It is available for download in The Listening Room which has many rehabilitation and educational resources offered by Phonak and Advanced Bionic’s.

First, you need to create a free account. Then once in,

  • Go To Lessons
  • Search Murals
  • Choose Interactive Murals
  • Sound Advice is Exercise 3