Tag Archive | communication

First “words”

There is nothing more exciting, as a parent of a child with a hearing loss, to hear their first words. With sweet tot R, we get the amazing privilege of hearing and seeing her words as she develops language.

R has been babbling and speaking Mamma and Dadda for a few months now, but at 13 months, her oral language and ASL are growing. The utterance of the spoken language on her lips, melts my heart every time. Putting those hearing aids back in for the hundredth time in a day, not so much.

R loves our cat, and enjoys repeating “deh-yah” for our cat Bella. Bella even has a keen liking to her, much more than to big sister, A. When changing her diaper, there is a butterfly hanging above, and I would say “butterfly” orally and sometimes in ASL, to help redirect her to sit still for changes, she recently has begun to orally mimic it as  “buhbuhy” and is sweet kisses to my ears.

She was stubborn on ASL for a while, just watching the signs (of novice signer, Mommy), with a smug look on her face. Now, she is excited to sign, “ball”, “hat”, “milk”, “more”, “eat”, “water”, and “want”. Her favorite, is “hat”, she loves hats! So, if you make fun hats, I’m sure she would love to wear it.

 

We have officially begun ASL as a second language, as a family. We are very excited to begin this journey to have alternative communication with our children, and to help when there is struggle with relaying orally. I have a head start on daddy as I have had more exposure and am a tactile/hands on learner, but he will do great, and as a family, we will succeed! We can also thank Rachel Coleman of Signing Time for bringing ASL signs into our home. It is an amazing series, that we have been blessed to receive as a gift from a family member, and I cannot give enough praise on how wonderful it is as a tool for families of all children with any ability or disability. It provides opportunities for children to learn and to sign as a form of communication, with or without speech delays. It has even helped Miss A, learn all the colors of the rainbow by 2.5 years of age!

What were the first words spoken or signed by your child? So beautiful, isn’t it, until they don’t stop talking? 😉

talk with me

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.

 

All images are copyrighted to hearinthemiddle.

Some fun after learning
All images are copyrighted to hearinthemiddle.