Saturday, October 10, 2009

Therapy with Nathalie at Memphis Oral School for the Deaf - September 4, 2009 (Ella Marie 4 months and 4 days old)

As always I learn so much from Nathalie at the Memphis Oral School. She is always so prepared and has a lot of information to share with me. Even though sometimes some of the things that we discuss are things that I know as an educator, it is nice to sit in the "parent seat" and let someone else remind me that these are some of the activities that I should be doing at home with Ella Marie. As a new parent I may have known that this is a good activity, but may have thought that it would be something good to do in a few months. Listed below are some of the things that we discussed:

  • If her hearing aids are falling out of her ears I can even put a small amount of toupee tape on the ear mold and it will help hold them in.
  • Baby massage is always a great activity to do to talk about baby parts with Ella Marie. Not only does it feel good to her, but it also is engaging her to listen and attend to my voice when I am talking about her body parts. She should be exposed to language through talking about body parts.
  • Continue using the peek-a-boo books. Ella Marie loves them. Also when doing peek-a-boo with her it is a good idea to use a sheer scarf to hide ourselves, her, or objects. This helps with object permanence. Since Ella Marie can see that something is under the scarf she knows that she should try to uncover it.
  • We discussed the importance of Ella Marie being exposed to different textures and talking about each of them.
  • Using tactile cards can help expose Ella Marie to different textures. Cards such as these can be found at Scholastic Learning, DK Publishing, or on Amazon. We ordered numbers, colors, shapes, animals, and first words tactile cards.
  • We discussed the use of hand puppets - these are not only a motivator for Ella Marie, but they are great to use while reading books to her. We can also talk about the the texture of the puppet. If we are reading a book we keep our face close to the puppet so she not only pays attention to the puppet but also looks at the book as well. If just using the puppet without the book, we should interpret what the puppet is saying. Other ideas for puppets could be to get a glove from Home Depot and put clip art on each finger.
  • Babies at the age can see black and white and possibly some bright colors. One good idea is to google black and white images for a baby and then tape them to a paper plate to show her.
  • We discussed the importance of going to the "sound source". For example, if the doorbell rings I should point to my ear and tell Ella Marie I heard the doorbell and ask her "Do you hear the doorbell?" Then I am supposed to take her to the doorbell so she connects the sound to what I am telling her. Children with hearing impairments must be taught even the smallest things that most children learn on their own. Other examples may include the dog barking, a loud sudden noise, the ice maker, etc.
  • Ella Marie can feel the vibrations by me placing her hand on my throat while I vocalize.
  • We should always praise her for any vocalizations that she makes. Again, we should point to our ear and tell her that we heard her.
  • We discussed the importance of following Ella Marie's lead. If Ella Marie is really enjoying a toy or activity we can stick with it as long as she will let us. If she is interested in something we should keep on because it is helping her build her listening skills.
  • We discussed different types of noisemakers to add to our collection. Some items that were mentioned were talking into a coffee can or buying an "echo mic" from the Dollar Store, place pennies in a can and shake it, and squeakers. We already had a lot of musical instrument noisemakers.
  • A jack in the box is a great toy to practice talking about up and down like we were with the suprasegmentals.
  • A great way to introduce different texture is through the sensory balls that you can buy various places.
  • Children love photographs. One suggestion given to us was to tape different photographs in the car so that Ella Marie could look at them as we are driving down the road. Then we can talk about who is in the picture.
  • We discussed open and close toys. This is taken from the Comprehensive Infant Curriculum. We are supposed to collect a wide variety of items that open and close. We talk about the object, shake, open it, look inside and tell Ella Marie what you see. Narrate everything you do with the object.
  • Another open and close activity involves getting a clear container and placing her toys in it. Talk about opening the box and getting each one out. Explain exactly what we are looking for. For example: I am looking for the brown bear. He is so soft. He is big...etc.
  • You can do the tweak the activities above and shine a flashlight on an object that you are talking about.
  • We were given a list of the first 100 words a child learns. This is helpful so we can make sure we are using a lot of these words.
  • It is important to not box yourself into your house only. We discussed going where other kids are. It is important to sit and just watch other kids since she is too young to play with them. Narrate exactly what the other children are doing.

We spent some time discussing FM systems. FM (Frequency Modulated) systems may be a solution for many students. FM amplification systems (also called auditory trainers) transmit the teacher's voice directly to the student at a constant level, insuring that the teacher's voice is heard above the level of background noise, regardless of the teacher's distance from the student. FM systems are good for all students because it amplifies sound, but especially good for students that are hearing impaired. Children do not have to wear these in all situations just when they are needed. Phonak carries a good FM system.

There are three companies that make cochlear implants. Cochlear is releasing their new Nucleus 5 implant and I will be going to listen to the reps talk about their product soon. Advanced Bionics has a resource on their website called "The Listening Room". This is a great free resource for parents to use with their hearing impaired child.

The AG Bell Foundation provides scholarship money for children who are hearing impaired. We have applied for the scholarship money and we will know soon. Thank y0u to those who wrote letters of recommendation for us.

Nathalie also suggested keeping a hearing log. We should write down how long EM keeps her hearing aids in each day. The goal is 10 hours or all of her awake time.

As always, Nathalie always has some wonderful handouts for us to take with us.

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