Monday, December 10, 2007

Introduction to the sounds

When I first started my speech therapy lessons with my teacher I really wondered what she would teach a 1 yr old child who was soundless and speechless for so long.I was not too sure as to what she planned for me.It was a small group of 3-4 children is various age groups and I honestly doubted her.Little did I realise that it was an introduction to the classes to come.She wanted me to get used to her firm ways and understand her interaction with the children.

She told me about how the child had missed out 1 full year and she had no idea of the things around her.She knows things visually and had no idea of the name of the things.We do things and we think of everything in language.It is the most important part of the human beings.Language development is a very intellectual activity of the brain and all human beings are designed to function with it.It is so important as even to think we need language, to recollect ,to store in a memory we need language and if we don't have language of things around us ,they just seem to happen in front of us and they pass away as the moments go by. We can never describe it to anybody and nobody will understand with out the proper use of language.Also it has a system.we just cannot use words, we need to form grammatically correct sentences for others to understand .So it is important that speech therapy is conducted and it has to be done systematically.
I feel as the child has lost out time , we need to introduce her to the language the moment the hearing aids are put.It is essential the the child should were hearing aids 1st thing in the morning and wear it the entire day and should be removed the last thing at night.The moment the aids are on start to talk about things around you but it also has to be age appropriate.Most audiologist will say talk something interesting or talk lots.The question by most mothers is TALK WHAT?
Well the answer is talk of things around you.I remember talking all the time to my girl of everything around.I would wake her up and say very pleasantly of how the sun was out and it was time to wake up.We would talk about how she slept through the night and then she would freshen up , milk time, potty time and kept nothing in mind but I just used a lot of facial expression and my voice had to have that excitement to excite her to listen to me.I needed to draw her attention and only way of doing it was by talking in a way that would make her interested.We too would listen to a person who talks well with a certain expression and really ignore a person who is just droning off.For the child everything is new and for us it is boring and experienced but once we realise that the child has never felt and seen these things, we can go down to their level and feel the same excitement.Automatically thing will start flowing.We need to excite ourselves and see things from their angle and surely nothing is boring.
Secondly we were introduced to 2 very important words my ma'am.......LISTEN and LOOK. It is so important that the child learns these two words. They help in drawing the child's attention and their reflexes also sharpen up.This a tried and tested experience and I feel I owe a lot of my girl's learning to these 2 words.I would hold her in my arms and show her things.Being close to me I was sure I had her full attention and with my other hand I pointed out at things to associate sound with the,"Baby look"[ pointing out at an object-she would look there immediately] "look there , a cat is climbing the tree"I would let her soak it in."did you see?O look that cat, it climbing up slowly, up up the tree."the whole time trying to enact out the climbing and using a lot expression and using the appropriate intonation depicting excitement.She would love to listen and get so excited.Or"look baby, look at these flowers,so beautiful."Slowly she and i got so good with this that whenever I point anywhere and say look she leaves everything and looks there.If she did not listen to me I would tell her "Listen, I am talking to you"It takes a while but believe me it really works.I will expand on this more in the next post.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


It is amazing that in this age of communication and technology , how 'sign language' is still so popular.Why is it that we are not not making people aware that children are talking?They can be integrated into normal life with absolutely no use of sign language and lip reading.Why are the audiologist not spending their energy and resources into bringing in "AVT"?Auditory verbal therapy has given my daughter and my family a fresh lease of life.When I hear of sign language I shudder to think of how I would have lost the chance of hearing my pretty daughter's voice and her singing. We do not feel her hearing impairment many times.Her speech is clearing and her thoughts come out in her own language without my prompting.I do correct her when she does not get her thoughts right at times though.
Y'day my teacher had gone to a child welfare association's programme for the handicap.She was so disappointed as all they did was put up programmes by the DEAF AND DUMB kids.Yes it is encouraging them and motivating them to live , but are we not restricting their life by giving them "sign language'?Do they not deserve to live a normal life? Today they are in the care of the centre and are able to manage within the protected environment of centre, home and family.But what happens tommorow when they are adults and have to lead an independent life?How many normal people will understand them?How many will pity them, isolate them as it is a botheration to understand and make yourself understand and actually will they not feel "different and handicapped"?Why are we not working towards getting them to be accepted by making the effort.If their are people who are talking and their is a technique to make them hear and talk and understand , why are the audiologist still not working on that.Why are we still cochlear implanting people when people like my teacher are making deaf children talk despite their profound loss of hearing and that too with ordinary hearing aids?Are we not still encouraging the old system when we are able to through internet find out all the information.Through blogging and "youtube" I have listened to so many children talk and sing.
People wake up.We need to integrate the deaf people into normal lives.Do not make them 'different' and isolate them by giving them a different language as how many people would have to learn their language in order to let them be independent and make them feel normal. Let us empower them by giving them the language of the masses.Once they understand the language of the masses they are no longer DEAF AND DUMB, they are not even DEAF, they are just hearing impaired as good hearing aids have given them the power to hear and AVT has given them the power to understand and speak.They are just left with a condition of 'hearing impairment', they are no longer HANDICAPPED.
I want to share an incident that one of the moms of hearing impaired told us.Her teenage daughter was told to take part in a drawing competition in the handicapped category.Promptly the gutsy girl replied 'I am not a handicapped person, I can hear and understand and speak everything so why are you putting me in that category?'Hats off and what an inspiring tale.Irony is why should a hearing impaired child be in the first place be put in a handicapped category for a drawing competition.Their hands and feet are all ok and they can draw using their fingers. I am glad that that girl does not think she is a handicapped person.
The down side of this is that such children go to normal schools and so are not aware and are not able to avail a lot of aid given to deaf and dumb children.The institutions for such children put up shows like this and all the government aids go to such institutions and not always does it go to the deserving people.I wish their was more empathy and tranceparency in India.