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.