Sunday, January 7, 2018

A feedback from a deperate parent

A feedback
 I love it when parents write in to me with the desperate expectation of finding solutions for their child who has issues either with hearing or speech. Last 10 years of writing has brought me across many desperate parents and its always a humbling experience to be able to support them in their desperate attempt to find help. Not all have deafness issues, few even have just speech corrections which with my logical explanation, the parents find it helpful and they get it right with guidence over a period of time over regular phone calls. One such recent ones I shall write about.
    The parent found my page named "Mrs. Alaka Hudlikar". She reached out saying her 7 year old son has issues with saying "K" "G". It affected everything he said that used these alphabets. She has been in touch with many speech therapists in Mumbai who said he should gargle, blow bubbles, sip through starws and do all kinds of exercises that shall help his throat GAIN STRENGTH !!! It blows my mind truly! What are these therapists learning and which university is teaching them this? Little kids often misprounounce and do we give them throat strengtheneing exercises? Or do we just laugh it off and say it correctly and kids correct it eventually? I really get upset at this. I don't know how many parents just do what is being told and stop looking for answers and how many like Charmi, still keep seeking.
   Charmi messaged to me on the page and we sceduled a call. We talked in detail about his issues and I advised him on corrections with tons of examples which is my speciality. She promised to work on it and get back in a week or so if she finds improvement. It gave me immense happiness to see these few lines. I owe it to my mentor and I dedicate each one of these feedbacks to my mentor Mrs. Alaka Hudlikar, she gave me what no other could have probably given me. I hope to continue this work for as long as I can.


Monday, February 6, 2017

Girls are beautiful

Sunshine happiness
One of the most profound statement made my Prisha today. She is studying about population in her school. I told her about female infanticide and she was pretty shaken and shocked to hear about it. She said that's really mean thing to do. Why should people do that. We discussed it in the Indian context. She was quiet. I then realized ,she being a thinker and a deep person. would be a bit sad inside. I then told her how it's changing and not everyone does that. I moved on to telling her how I prayed day in and out for years for a little baby girl with curls and dimples. And when she did come in we were rejoicing and so thrilled. She was so touched, went awwwwww and we hugged tight. It just felt so right.

She moved on to study. At the dinner table she again brought up the topic. Suddenly she says.... " hey why should they kill the girls! If girls are not there how would babies be born!! Boys can't give birth and girls are so lovely!! 

Just brought a smile on my face. She is our bright sunshine and blessed to hear her chatter and thoughts. Girls indeed are beautiful and hold a whole life in them. They give life and nurture and show the world what real pure love is all about. Girls make the world beautiful. She makes ours beautiful and complete.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Picture of perfection.

Image of promises made and worked on.

This writing made me stop in my track. What a statement on the wall!! A reminder and sense of responsibility....a sensitive mind and a conscious soul... a promise to be kept and a want to be controlled.....self control and love for family values... I think I could think of many things that came up as a mind map in my mind. I felt immense love and respect for my 13 year old. I felt pride and had welled up eyes. I also felt happy that somewhere I did a decent job of raising conscious kids who understand what we say. In a world where I often hear parents crying out or nagging " my kid doesn't listen" " he sits with his gaming often" etc etc... this came as a respite. All those hours of talking to her and drilling sense, all those small instructions to raise her awareness are looking so right.

We underestimate these kids. They love to be responsible and good people. It's our duty to make them receptive to the language we want them to talk. They have a conscience, we just have to make them aware and help them listen to that inner voice. It's a part of growing to repel and revolt and it's our duty to help them realize what to fight for and how to turn it around to help them do it. At the end it's us parents who are responsible for the behavior of our kids. They reflect us and never blame them but reflect inwards where we went wrong. 

We have had our winter break and had enough of quiet time and lazy time in front of the TV or just the couch. It happens and it did happen to us too. Tired of the marathon of school life and hectic days and weeks she too regressed. Bringing her back to be aware of it took a couple of days but she did come back and how! She still watches YouTube videos but they are now for helping her hear better. Train her brain to understand more. It's a long and slow process. But in this journey we have learnt to be patient and work diligently. It's not as much of sitting with her and supervising it, no teen likes it and she is no exception.  But it's about raising her awareness and helping her to make better choices. This is one way of making her independent and making her wings stronger so she can fly stronger and higher. 

As a mum this picture is precious. It's a belief in what we do, belief in what we did and belief in what she would do. We just need to hold her and help her steadily walk up to the future with steady strong steps. Thankful and grateful for this moment where she reminds herself each time temptation steps in and choose between the right and the wrong.  Can I stop beaming? Can I stop tearing up? Can I stop feeling proud? Can I stop feeling overwhelmed with love ? Answer is too easy and predictable, isn't it?

Monday, January 30, 2017

Sound of Iphone keys

Together we can
Small happiness for us mums of deaf kids is to share small victories around how our kids manage their hearing issues. This morning there was one such incident that made me realize how early intensive speech therapy can help them hear better which I need to share.
      I was typing on my iPhone and Prisha turns around and says I can hear your tik tik. As usual I refused to believe it. She was 2 ft away. I tested her trying to fool her but each time she gave me the correct answer. It just made me want to thank my mentor one more time. We mums find these small happiness as real big in our lives. 
        Ma'am had trained us to help them listen to softer and softer sounds. According to her you can train them to pay attention to softer sounds early. As little as 1 yr old I would do many exercises helping her to listen to mustard popping in oil , water tap sounds etc. Perhaps those early pressures and training helped her to listen n talk on phone , waves of water on beach etc.Auditory training early n intensive helps to condition them and she was v good at small details. Feeling thankful and empowered.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Our silent world

                As I sat one day thinking about my journey with Prisha, words just flowed and as did my tears. I can never forget at least those days. Much has been forgotten trying to deal with it, trying to cope with a loss, horror, nightmare and every word that comes with such moment. But these emotions are raw even today. That one day changed our life forever.
                Here were words from my heart as they poured and they have no format or rules, yet they tell a story of many mums like me. Its not my fault , not anyones' yet we hold ourselves responsible. I hope this poem resonates with mums like me as they are written from my heart and are "From my heart to yours". Sharing them makes me stronger as I know I am not alone. I fought many odds and today can stand taller with her hand in mine just like I promised her 12 winters before. May God give every mum who shares a journey like me a strength and will power to make it there. So here is the day of detection to the day I decided to fight it and make her speak and also sing. Hope it touches few hearts and inspires mums to never give up as you are your child's strength.

                                                   Our silent world

A promise I shall fulfill
It was a day our fears came true
She looked grim, shook her head
Told us about your silent world 
It hit me like a bolt from blue
Ton of bricks or was it a whirlwind
I felt the land below me slide
Every step falling into a ditch
My beautiful girl a gift of God
Fragile, puzzled , twinkled eyes
Your dimpled smile judging me. 
I clenched you tight 
Tears streaming down 
As I left that room
My world shattered 
My dreams now nightmares. 
My heart pounded in its case
Wondering at things that happened 
All my songs gone into the wind
My world suddenly silent
My laughter, chatter and music
Replaced by a silent gloom
Clouds of misery and darkness
Oh future, take me back in time
Tell me please it's all false 
Nightmare, curse or karma
Shake me , wake me from this all
Give me a miracle 
That shall end this all. 
Doesn't work that way, does it?
Reality bites and hard it does
Denial , crying, sleepless nights
Nothing changed the puzzled gaze
Dimpled smiles gone into past 
Pouted lips dying to smile. 
Hugged you close to give you hope
I am your mum and shall fight it all
You will hear, sing and laugh
Come what may in our path
Shall fight fate and give you sounds
Shall give you my songs, 
Will share our dreams
Will hold your hand tight and strong
walk together till end of time
You are my soul, I give you my voice. 
Held you close to my chest
Wiped my tears and I smiled 
You smile at me and lo behold
The dimpled cheek, pouted smile
Kissed your face and your nose
My fingers in your curls
My wet cheeks on yours 
I hold your heart tight to mine. 
Walk with me my little angel
Know not what holds tomorrow
Through thick and thin
I shall be your shadow 
Change the destiny 
Or just make another. 
A journey we partake henceforth on 
My gentle soul, my little love
This is ours and we shall win
A promise I know I shall fulfill. 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

What are possible reasons for delay in correct speech.

The most common challenges and concerns of most parents are about delayed milestones and repeated corrections. Where do you think is the gap and why? 
1. Is the hearing device programmed well?
2. Is the speech therapy part missing?
3. Does the speech therapist make efforts to bridge that gap?
4. Does she involve the parent so it can be carried forward?
5. Has the parent understood what is to be done and how to expand it more or customize it further?
6. Why do you think the child is not responding or getting it?
7. Is the parent spending enough time?
8. Is the parent saturated, demotivated, too busy, etc etc?
9.  Is the child taking advantage of the parent?
10. Are we postponing the issue or hoping one day it would be alright and not driving enough to find a solution?
11. What are we doing as a parent to help solve this issue. 
      Would love to know what parents are doing about their challenges. When I found she was struggling with concepts at school we worked st home a lot more, lot of extra work on weekends, new vocabulary, talk about different things and show around. We felt she needed extra lessons from qualified teachers to support her studies. So we moved here and found good extra classes, text books and very supportive teacher group to help her. We had meetings at school before the session started and educated the teachers about hearing loss. Can see her doing so much better now. Doesn't take much help from us for studies now. Each day is a milestone for us all. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Prisha's leaflet for her English class

Leaflet for English class
Prisha has ben made aware of every bit of her journey since she was little. Right from taking care of her hearing aids to, changing batteries to how to cover her ears when in sudden rain to keeping her kit ready for travels. She takes it all in her stride. The hard work with it, the bullying and people's attitude to her limitations and struggle to prove herself is a tough job and she handles it well since I was clear about empowering her. It makes life easier for them knowing well that they don't live in the bubble. We have our discussions often on various topics around it including how she wishes for a miracle when she wakes up to hearing everything naturally !! Her happiness at that moment is something I could die for. Her next thought of course is who she can donate the hearing aid to. Only they can think like this for others since they know what " not hearing" is like!

     This week at school they needed to make a leaflet and she chose on hearing. This is something she has been wanting to do but could not. I see her face filled with pride and it it's so wonderful that with no inputs from me she just came to show it to me for a feedback. I felt happy to see her work. She thought of all angles and has drawn the hearing aids herself. I am hoping to hear good things from her lovely English teacher. Meanwhile I swell with a sense of pride of a job done well.  

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Prisha's audiogram

Prisha's aided and unaided audiogram done in Germany

        Many people tell me Prisha doesn't look deaf. People don't "look" deaf. they are deaf and you only know when they communicate. If they are oral aural its harder to make out if the speech is good. When I say she has hearing aids and has severe to profound deafness many ENT and audiologists don't believe it till they see her audiogram. We worked very hard to get her here. Perhaps with a CI the journey would have been easier but we are happy with our choice and don't feel the need for anything except better hearing aids every few years. She is very supportive and works hard at school, has good grades and is a favorite with her teachers for her sincerity and concentration. I guess these kids learn this art of working hard early in life.
      Here is her audiogram that we took in Germany and she wears Naida III UP for both and loves them. We tried to upgrade but she didn't like it much as it had a RRRRRRR sound when she sang songs specially when she stretched her voice. She loved the new aids for their clarity and loudness though. She has been on AVT since 1 year of age. 
       We hope to soon upgrade to Phonak Venture which I think is a great hearing aid. Just looking forward to the right opportunity and time.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Creating "repeat" opportunity for deaf child to pick language

A recent vacation to Thailand taught her lot of new words and experiences 
       Revisiting is an important tool for the children with hearing and speech delay disabilities. The revisiting helps them go back to the time the event occurred. Its a tool that helps them reinforce what they have been through earlier. The language associated would help them recall the event and that's only possible through using the vocabulary and expressions appropriate for that event. A normal child learns this normally as s/he keeps hearing this through the normal hearing. The repetition is happening naturally since parents and other friends around are talking about it, its falling on the ears and subconsciously the brain is "hearing" it. While the child is playing around , he still "hears' it. With a child with hearing aids, its limiting and most times you have to draw the attention towards it. The HA could ignore it due to various limitations which we are aware of. Hence consciously the recalling is done.
      I have done this very regularly and consciously when she was little. The brain gets automatically trained to do this. It was so normal for us to constantly talk about things happening around us. We never faced the dearth of subjects and discussions. Never got bored as we made it interesting. I learnt from Prisha as I started to learn from her point of view rather than enforce my ideas on her , limiting her creativity. We discussed the event many times hence "revisiting". The steps that work are simple.
1. I foresee and upcoming event.
2. I start to tell her about it using new words and vocabulary associated with it,
3.Start discussing and clearing her doubts.
4. ask her to repeat the order and encourage the new words, repeat if needed.
5. At the event start talking about it again. Use those new words again so its fixed in her brain.
6. Use more language associated with it. It may mean I am away from the crowd and family or friends but then its my priority.
7. Once she is settled with it, she goes around experiencing and fixing all that we discussed in real time. I am still around to help her, giving her priority over everything else.
8. Once event is done, we start to discuss again and see if we are using those words and new vocabulary and expressions.
9. See how much we are progressing on it, make changes or add what is forgotten or slipped.
10. Go and relate to all those who are around at home. Mindfully keep a watch on your child to see if s/he is using the words and expressions you have used earlier.
11. Without making it obvious add your bits to the conversation where the words and important parts are missing.
12. Correct the language, sentence structure, pronunciation, etc.
13. Ask them to create visuals of the event. Can be in a form drawing, digital medium, 3D artform, waste material recycling or even a song.
14. Display and show around your prized trophy.
15. Few days later, recall the event again and see if the words and tit bits of those are in memory still.
16. Most important don't get too busy for your child. If you dont have time for them , they cannot have language just from out of the air. Unless as a parent you are commited don't expect miracles.
      I hope these pointers will help you help your child. Please know that its a life style and you have to keep working on it. It seems hard and isolating but its not. If done well, you can balance your lifestyle with this work. When you see your child coming back with better language with ease and happy smiles, all this effort shall look small. I often talk to parents and demonstrate how I did it. Giving plenty of examples and ways of making it as a part of everyday life. In few years it becomes a way of life and easy to manage. talk about school, homework, birthday parties, weddings, funeral, vacations and everything else. Don't get disheartened. It sounds a lot of work but it isn't if you do it in the right spirit. I hope this is helpful. I am open to feedback and any help needed to understand this. This helped us immensely and I hope it helps you all too.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016


Its just too exciting when a mum who is desperate finds you and bombards you with questions of all kinds seeking help for her deaf child. She is unstoppable since she found me & has questions that makes me believe more in my putting up my posts up constantly. I only want the best for each deaf child. Will she take the pressures that come with it or will she leave it & give up. Will she hear what I say & take the pressure i give...wait & watch! Another deaf child's destiny is in the hand of the mother. Will she work endlessly or find an easy way out? Will she fight odds and give importance to dreams for her child's life and career or will it be her own? Many can't take the pressures. I believe in perfection and we are still working on it. Life with a deaf child is a commitment for life! Will her dreams be hers or left to destiny? Every new case comes with hope and I don't give up unless the mother does as its only the mum who has to walk this journey. I can only share my experiences and help empower. There is so much wrong advise going on and so many malpractices. Will the mother believe me or buckle under pressure from the specialists who often advise keeping in their own monetary gains.... let's hope for the best. #deafness #hearingloss #deafcanspeak #speechtherapy #AVT #hearingaids #cochlearimplants #rouchi6