Why do we get so excited for those first words? It only leads to more talking, that never stops – and I mean never! Did you hear that? Yup, it was more jibber jabber.
We will focus on A, since she is older, and the one that is the most verbally communicative at the moment, and some days, I wouldn’t mind it to stay that way – she talks enough for three.
A bit more history: A was not diagnosed with hearing loss until she was 29 months old. At birth, she was referred at her newborn hearing exam, but she was not the most cooperative for her follow-up testing with the audiologist. The audiologist said that she seemed to be fine and to follow-up in a year. Around 14 months, we set up a follow-up appointment, scheduled at 18 months. The appointment approached, life happened, her language was developing, we decided to cancel her testing. Well, once R was born with a diagnosis at birth, we wondered if the audiologist wasn’t accurate with A, that combined with her articulation regression, we set up an appointment with R’s audiologist (someone different, phew). A had an audiological behavior test done, confirming our fear, a hearing loss. With her loss and the continued decline of her language articulation, we knew that even though it would be nice for some extra times of silence, it was not what we really thought would be best for her.
Our fabulous support workers provided us options. The more options, the more difficult the choices. There is no rulebook to the best option for MY child and I did not want to mess it up. Were we just going to use hearing aids and have a speech therapist monitor her? She had developed language, so an ASL immersion was not going to be the best option for her at the moment. We are not closed to ASL, we learn new signs every day, and it actually has been a blessing for the moments I cannot understand the
jargon clarity of her speech. Well I was not going to sit and wait for something to happen, potentially causing her more regression, I needed to find a way to help her have full access to oral language and develop the skill of reading and writing. It was then the light bulb turned on, I vaguely remember the overview of cued speech being an option. Cued speech, what is that?! It is not something that is common such as oral language and ASL. The gist of it, is 8 hand shapes in 4 positions around the face, to guide lip-reading. This supports oral communication, phonetics of language, and is quick to learn! I’m game!
You can find more information on cued speech, here.
Well, here we are today. A is 33 months old and we had our first cued speech session. Our cued speech
angel instructor is amazing and comes to our home and helps us with hands on learning and practice! With practice and immersion in our day-to-day lives, talking with the girls, especially during those intimate moments of one on one time and stories, we can really practice it, and they will be able to have a better grasp of connecting with the oral language.
So yes, I would love moments of silence, but I am so blessed that there are options available for our special daughters to not miss important parts of our oral dominant world, of which is so valuable.