Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sound Beginnings Visit at Memphis Oral School - September 17, 2009 (4 1/2 months old)

Today we went to see Nathalie at the Memphis Oral School. As always, she provides us with many great activities to engage Ella Marie in language acquisition. Below are some of the things that we talked about:
  • We should go on a "Listening Walk" through the house with Ella Marie's hearing aids. We have something that we can test her hearing aids to "hear through them". When we are walking around the house we can see what all is amplified. It will actually surprise most people to hear everything that is amplified.
  • We discussed how most babies hear better in low frequency tones.
  • We should continue to mimic her sounds (turn taking). Turn taking is a prerequisite for conversational speech. Also when we are trying to get her to mimic our speech like ba ba ba, or ma, ma, ma we can use tactile clues such as quick taps on her. The tactile cues would be short because the sounds ba ba ba are short. etc.
  • Ella Marie should have books read to her for at least 20 minutes a day. Children love books with photographs in them. They also love books with pictures of other babies in them. A great book is Margaret Miller's Baby Faces. At this age Ella Marie does not need to be overwhelmed with pictures. Picture albums are great to talk about what is in the picture to Ella Marie. You can talk about body parts from the pictures. Other great books are Baby Einstein Mirror Me and First Words Book. Ella Marie should also engage in tactile books and cloth books. One book we read today was called Little Blossom. A couple of suggestions for reading aloud to her include reading to her while she is on her back on a blanket, let her sit in a bouncy chair while she is read to, or in the glider right before she goes to sleep.
  • We discussed how many great toys for therapy can be found for cheap at TJ Maxx.
  • The Memphis Oral School invested in something called a "Lena System". This is a recorder that records what the child says and the parent says throughout the day. Then it is hooked into a software program and it will print out how much we are talking to her throughout the day and how verbal she is. It will compare it to a hearing child her age.
  • We discussed the importance of keeping Ella Marie's hearing aids in. Nathalie told us that soon she would most likely be starting to pull them out. She also said that when babies teethe they start pulling their hearing aid off. Pilot caps can be worn to help with this. We also received a sheet on hearing aids that had some great points. This sheet is from the Listen Around The Clock Program. "A normally hearing baby listens for about 10 waking hours per day, 365 days per year. That adds up to 3,650 listening hours per year. If your baby wears amplification only 3 hours a day, it will take over 3 years to give your baby as much listening experience as a hearing baby or a baby who wears amplification all waking hours. The normally hearing baby listens for 10 hours a day to develop speech and language. The baby with hearing loss deserves no less."
  • We disussed the affect on speech development with speech composition and intelligibility. Since some sounds are not clear vocabulary must be taught ex. clown and crown.
  • When/if Ella Marie receives cochlear implants we will not see a lot of changes in the first year. She will learn to detect sound. Her "hearing age" will start over. She will be expected to do what a typical hearing baby would do as an infant. Our goal will be to close the gap from her chronological age and her hearing age as fast as possible.
  • We discussed the importance of doing finger plays with Ella Marie and songs such as patty cake. We should pick 2 or 3 and do them over and over with her.
  • Songs are so important in developing language with Ella Marie. The Wee Sing Series has a great songs to use with Ella Marie. We should also do a lot of movement with the songs. Manipulate or change the verbs that you use when you are singing, ex. dance, jump, walk, etc.
  • Use the outdoors to our advantage - When I have Ella Marie in her stroller out for a walk, we should point out everything we see and talk about it. We should point out all of the sounds we hear and we should pick up things like pine cones and feel them. We should use as many of her senses as possible.
  • Again, it is sooooo important that wherever we are we narrate what we see and hear.

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