Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Meeting Priya

Yesterday I finally met Priya who is now 21 yrs or so running her own bakery from home.I had ordered some brown bread and buns.She arrived in a hurry , she spoke so normally and as she has recruitment [I hope the spelling is correct] where she is unable to wear the hearing aid as the sound is unbearable in that ear.She was , I think , a bit conscious as the class was on.We did the calculations and I paid up.I was disappinted as I was not able to meet her mom.Her mom was the one who introduced us to ma'am and changed our lives forever.So when she told me that she was in the car, I ran to meet her.I had got her a bunch of flowers , I hugged her and thanked her for what she did for us. I was meeting her after 4 years as I got busy with Prisha and never got a chance to meet her.It was an emotional moment for me.Thanks to her today with the correct speech therapy we lead normal lives.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Telecon with a deaf youngster

Today My speech therapy teacher Mrs. Hudlikar called up and said that one of her old students ,who is now integrated into mainstream, had called her up.The girl in her early 20's has done a course in baking and has opened a little bakery in her home.She makes all kinds of bread and would like her to tell other people to come and try her products.She told me to speak to her on the phone as she now owns her own cellphone! She wanted me to pose as a potential customer and ask her about her products, prices and make other small conversation as a customer to see how her interaction was.Just because she is a deaf person people will not just take pity and buy stuff.For them it 1st the quality and then how good you are at explaining.An outsider would not know she is deaf . And if she does not take the order properly or is not clear, nobody will be patient but will go ahead some place else.She needed to be polite, clear and very specific. I was so happy to hear her as she was so clear on the phone, she gave me her list and prices, the distance from ma'am's home, and we had the entire conversation as normal as it could be.It was so good to know how she is able to lead such a normal life.I have given her my order and will go and pick it up tomorrow.I really want to see how well she is integrated.It is so nice to know ma'am still goes beyond her therapy classes and is ready to take on her to make her understand the tricks of the trade.She wants to still teach her the skills required in the business.In this material world very few are like that . I am looking forward to it.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Describe

I have been doing a lot of description practice with Prisha.Well since a few days I have seen how she has become aware and has started to ask a lot of questions .It is almost a competition as to who will ask first.I had seen how she had given up noticing things as I was a bit too occupied with my stresses.I then started this pattern of asking questions...
1. what is this?
2.what is its shape/ taste/colour etc?
3. What is it made of?
what is the use of it?
I noticed this covers every aspect of an object.It helps to describe, so she learns the shapes/ various tastes/colours etc which are adjectives.She learnt lots of nouns, she learnt to notice things around and learnt all things that are man made have some use. She picked up verbs and action words which are most important in our daily life.I also never sit in a place and do do it as it feels like I am teaching.Whatever we do and whatever we come across at home or on the street and mall etc, we just talk about it.It gives more opportunity to talk and life is not boring .
I saw the benefits yesterday.Yesterday in the speech therapy class ma'am picked up a book where there were pictures of daily household things.She asked Prisha to describe a couple of pictures by guiding her through these questions.She got a hang of it and sure enough she started to rattle off.I was so happy and her confidence went up.She spoke 5 sentences on the iron, which were told by the teacher , and said them exactly in the same sequence.I really feel , early intervention, a bit of pressure in the 1st 2 years and persistence really helps the deaf to develop language.It is a never ending process but we have to carry on so that the child is easily integrated into normal atmosphere.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Another visit to the child welfare institution






Mrs. Alaka Hudlikar asked me to come and visit the institution for another round of discussion with the teachers of the deaf and parents about how we can develop language in the hearing impaired children.She had invited a few more kids with their mothers as examples to motivate parents and teachers.The lecture was as usual very interesting and informative.I have heard this so many times but each time I find something more to learn in it and also it re-enforces my learning of the subject.It was a long lecture where she talked about how language develops in normal children and the importance of language in the mental and intellectual growth of humans.There were people who listened to each and every word and took down notes.There were a few who were critical but it is a good way of starting a discussion.I was a bit touchy or should I say a bit agitated at a teacher who commented that she was lucky to have mothers who worked to develop speech in children.I felt it was unfair of that teacher to overlook her passion, dedication and hard work that she put in and pass on all the credit to the mothers.It is our teacher who ignites our mind, raises the bar each time, constantly corrects us , motivates us and is the one who is never satisfied so that we do not get satisfied and get laid back about the work that we need to do.It is the duty of the teacher to constantly light the fire in the mind and heart , set goals and examples and make sure that the target is achieved.Ma'am has never taken credit for the work , infact she always passes on the credit to the mothers but I feel it was very unmindful of him to overlook what she has been constantly doing for the last 40 years.I told him that as the teacher he needed to motivate , educate parents and be passionate about the work he has taken up to make the parents realise and work with him.Someone cannot be so lucky for 40 years.She has made the mothers we are today.All mothers from all fields are trained so well that they can teach any hearing impaired child.It is his insensitivity about the subject which I think is not able to make his students speak.Till he puts that passion and sincerity in his work there is no way that his students are going to benefit.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Maths sums

Well this month Prisha learnt to do a bit of maths.She has learnt simple addition , subtraction and also learnt half the table of 2, thanks to her aunt.She loves to rattle off.She has the yearning to learn and is very fond of books and stationary.All day her pals are these.Her zest for life keeps me amazed. I hope she is always this way.I can excite her into any activity.I was cleaning up this month and she was more worried when I was cleaning up her book cupboard than when I did her clothes cupboard.I could not chuck out even a lil pencil or piece of paper.She was relieved when all was in her cupboard was closed .Clothes cupboard was left to me.
Y'day was diwali, she loved to dress up and looked all dolled up.She has fetish for ear rings and shoes.I was worried with the loudness of sounds from the crackers.I kept asking her if it was too loud in the hearing aids.But I think the aids were working well for her.I am glad the settings of the aids was changed after I got hyper with the audiologist.I am still wondering why this setting was not given when we 1st bought the aids as she told me this time that she had given her the best settings this time.Well I wish I was able to open a centre where all this could be taken care of for parents who are less aware.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Visit to a deaf and dumb school

Yesterday was one of the most memorable day of my life.I was called by one teacher of the deaf schools on Sunday.She told me that she had heard me relate my story in children's welfare institution a few months back and also heard Prisha speak.She asked me to come to her deaf school where children from villages studied.Most of the 150 odd students were living in hostel.As the parents were coming to pick them up , she wanted me to speak with them to make them understand what hard work with the deaf child can do and inspire them.I was sceptical and as I wasn't well I was trying to excuse myself.But the way she pleaded I decided to go.
I was a bit nervous as I was not sure what I was getting into.I knew the visit to a deaf school where there would be only children who have no hearing aids, no speech and would be using sign language and there would be mostly sad stories. The other thing that worried me was the harsh reality would make me see how my life would have been had I not met Mrs. Alaka Hudlikar.
I drove down to the school and 2 teachers waited for me outside the school. I walked in and the school was clean well maintained and the children were mostly from villages.The teachers were very warm and gave me much respect.They asked me to relate my story and focus more on the importance of hearing aids as most people never bought them.The children used aids given by school and then left them back.Most could not speak and used sign language.I spoke to the parents about 50 of them along with about 15 odd teachers. I spoke for about 30 mins and really tried to go down to the level of the people who were mostly from the villages and spoke marathi language.I used the most simple examples and tried to touch their emotions to show them the importance of hearing aids, speech therapy and the need to communicate in the language of the masses which is certainly not sign language.They all listened but the expressions were mixed.Some genuinely understood , some gave me blank look and some listened to it as it was a lecture from school.It was really sad as these people have , I think given up and accepted that this was a way of life.To add to it life in the villages is tough.For them it would be unnecessary expenditure to buy aids and to spend energy on the child was beyond imagination.I told them how hearing aids are like spectacles of the ears and needed to be there as they helped them to connect to the world.I requested them to not to buy that necklace for the wife and paint the house this festival and instead spend 7000 Rs on aids to help the child.The teachers came and told me about their stories how children steal the batteries of pocket model aids, cut the wire, stole them etc.I felt it was largely due to the fact they were not used to the world of sound, it was unnecessary disturbance and it made no sense to them to hang them in the ears as sound has no meaning for them. The principal said that she would like me to come to them again and speak again to parents.I requested her to be specific to new parents that admission would be given to little kids only if aids were worn by the kids.I felt the place was being used by the parents to leave the kids there as they were a burden.The teachers work hard. I could get their point of view that if they closed such centres for kids , these kids would not have any mode of communication as in villages they had no education and schools for them.AVT does not exist in this world.It was a very heart wrenching and eye opening experience.I felt more educated than the teachers as Mrs. Hudlikar has taught us the art of AVT which has brought normalcy in our lives.The teachers talked to me of their problems and it made me realize how fortunate I have been. They gifted me flowers made of cloth made by the students.They wanted to reimburse my visit expenses which I refused.How could I even think of it when here they are waiting for donors to help them fund aids.The warmth and awe that I received was so over whelming and it was a very humbling experience.If called I would go there again.
I came back thanking God for showing me how much He loves me.I am in a position to buy the best aids for my girl, give her education in the best school, got speech therapy from the best teacher possible and above all for giving me the strength , the mind, intelligence and will power to work on my Prisha.It is because of Ma'am that I am able to stand up and feel confident of helping others.I feel it is my duty to share the knowledge that I have received.If it wasn't for Priya Kshirsagar,who showed me the way to ma'am's classes, I would have been still running around looking for solutions to my problems.The sight of empty eyes of some children and parents haunts me.I really wish government in India could do more and help bring light in the life of deaf children.I wish awareness of deafness was there, every child could be be tested for deafness at birth, hearing aids could be made available at subsidised rates, AVT was practised and every child could speak and there were more happy families

Friday, October 17, 2008

AVT

I found it on the net and thought should share with all of you. Click on the link to know more.
http://www.auditoryoptions.org/auditory-verbal.htm

Taking correction

I am having a bit of a problem with Prisha's speech therapy classes.She has started to get a bit of performance anxiety in the class.She gets a bit too hassled if Ma'am corrects her and then starts to cry when corrected a couple of times.It is not even as if she is strict.She has started to avoid my teachings too, but can't get away as I insist on it.In the class she had started to say "I don't know" for everything to avoid speaking as I think she had the fear that she may be wrong and will be corrected.She does look so timid but is actually quite a brat.I am worried about it but will actually have to work on it.God, something or the other is always there to think about.She is a good listener and if she gets down to it she takes correction and speaks well.She also prefers to sit on her drawing books and loves colouring.But she also prefers it as it is easier than racking your brains and speaking!The kids are smart and really know how to try and get away with things.If you are not smarter, then for sure you shall be fooled and they will have their way out.I am always on my tenterhooks and firm .Hope this problem also gets solved soon.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Stage appearance


Yesterday was a big day for me.I came on stage after a gap of 17 long years!It was such a good feeling.My son plays keyboard since the last 6 months and so his teacher wanted to have a performance in our housing complex.Well we had been practicing and he asked me to do a vocal and also host the show.I was nervous and I think after such a long gap you develop a complex and stage fright.But thanks to Prisha's speech therapy , I have the confidence to speak in public.Since I use a lot of language , it is not difficult to speak in public anymore.Mrs. A Hudlikar's classes have given me the trust in my abilities back.I used to sing , act in plays etc on stage till I was in college.After my wedding I got so involved in my family that my personal growth was on the back burner.I am coming of my own now.I called my teacher to take her blessings as I feel what I am today is thanks to her.

The performance was well received and for the 1st timer my anchoring was appreciated too.Prisha too spoke on the mike with so much ease and confidence that it was highly applauded.It was a great day for all of us.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Picture Discription







Picture reading or picture description is a pre-reading activity.It is given as a oral activity [reading] and a writing activity later.It is asked as "describe what is in the picture ". So the child must be able to interpret the picture before he can interpret the printed word. The child may or may not have had that experience ,may or may not know the things. But they must be able to say something about that picture. Its importance lies in the fact that our lives is very limited , we may not be experiencing or doing those things and also we don't talk about it even if it is happening , and so through pictures we can bring that experience to the child through picture description.Teach them exactly what is happening in the pictures.They should develop that much mental capacity where they are able to see the picture and say what happened in the past and what is happening now and what will happen next and to be able to say why it all happened. It is not that simple activity that we think. Parents give books of pictures to children to look and they do so mindlessly.There has to a motive to see those pictures and the children should learn to ask questions and think what a picture is trying to say.They should learn to look at pictures intelligently and say something about it.For that the parents have to sit with them and get them books which are meaningful.

There are 2 pictures that she talked about.I would like to show how she read them.
The 1st picture-
In the picture , there is a boy.There is a clock.The boy was sleeping in his bed.The alarm clock rang.The boy woke up.
Here she demonstrated how at night the alarm clock is wound and set and then how it rings in the morning at that time.The children were made to pretend play sleep and then when the alarm rang they all woke up.It was fun for the kids and the picture concept of alarm clock cleared to the children. The concept of "why the boy woke up?" was that he woke up because the alarm clock rang was understood by the kids.
The 2nd picture-
In the picture there is an elephant.There is a bucket.In the bucket there is water.The elephant is drinking water.
Now when ma'am asked the kids what the elephant doing , they all looked blank.I too was perplexed as to why Prisha could not say the word "drink". This where the transfer of knowledge is required.Maybe as they have never seen the elephant drinking water , they did not really know about it.
In picture reading initially make simple sentences where you break the sentence the way we did it above. With practice the child would learn to make complex sentence like- In the picture , there is an elephant drinking water from the bucket.Since they do not have language maturity , it is important to follow this pattern.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Another article in TOI

Today being world's deaf day, Mrs.Alaka Hudlikar had arranged for facts about speech therapy and the various courses to be published in "Times of India".I really hope things improve in India and we have quality courses that would improve the situation.We cannot have correspondence courses for this.We need to teach the teachers better and they have to be able to have AVT training where the focus is on listening and then speaking.Questions should be raised when these teachers , who are trained for the deaf, are not able to produce children who are talking and not using sign language and lip reading.If these methods are being used , then why have hearing aids and cochlear implants and AVT courses.I hope this article is able raise questions and answers are sought by the experts and we can look forward to a better life for the 3 kids in 1000 who are born deaf.
Click on the link to see the page.
http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Repository/ml.asp?Ref=VE9JUFUvMjAwOC8wOS8yOCNBcjAwNTAw&Mode=HTML&Locale=english-skin-custom

A long day

Today was a tough day between house chores, my son not keeping well and Prisha's tantrum.She loves to visit her grand parents and for me it is a good break.But she takes advantage as she gets what she wants ,then in front of them she tries to push her demands as she feels she would get away.They melt at her every word.So today when the tantrum started I put a foot down and walked away leaving her with them for good 6 hours.It was time to come back and I ignored her completely.She walked around like a little frightened mouse.After a while she started to look for ways to talk to me.That was it.I had serious talk with her and told her this wasn't working.The mom in you peeps in when you see the tearful face.I hid my smile and we made up.I did keep a straight face all evening and sure it worked.For the 1st time she played in the garden by herself for a good on and half hour.She really looked changed.
I realise how this affects her speech and learning behavior.When she is getting away with all that she wants, she carries this attitude to school and to the speech therapy class.She has to be coaxed to speak and acts like a princess.I have to keep levelling her down.Motherhood !its not easy.I need to pull my socks and start working on her.There are days when this feeling drags that I find it a chore to continuously be a teacher.I enjoy it though.She loves learning thanks to the stimulus she got through this speech therapy lessons from the time she was 1yr old.She tuned to anything new and exciting.Her aunt taught her to do addition.I wasn't so sure she would but no , she did do all correct.I too am learning with her how to teach kids.To think of it I never liked teaching.Well ,never say never.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A nice thought

I got this thought from a fellow blogger who is also a parent of a special child.I want to share it with other special parents.

Kahlil Gibran says
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let our bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Thanks so much for sharing .I am sure it might be good for all parents whose life is centred around their children.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Class presentation

I am sooooo happy today.Prisha had her class presentation , where they have a little programme to showcase their singing and learning in school and parents are invited.She was one of boldest and clearest to speak on stage.I had tears running down my eyes to hear her speak not in english but hindi! 2 years ago we were aiming at just some communication but today here she was singing away in Hindi. I saw her singing away other nursery rhymes taught in school. Go my girl go , conquer the world!
I loved the way she told me -"Mama you go home, I will come in the bus.". She kept throwing flying kisses from where she sat and I kept giving back too.It was funny that from this far we were speaking looking at each others lips.We do end up looking at lips and can understand since we were at a distance. So it is ok.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Class name

Prisha really got me on my nerves today.......Mrs.Hudlikar asked her a particular bird in the page of birds.She immediately said "peacock".We insisted on the full sentence and she did.Then her next question was "what is a peacock?" The kids looked blank.I was horrified.Damn it Prisha , we have talked about it so many times.Ma'am gave hints like...."Is it a flower?.....Is it an animal? ugh..no reaction.The bulb would not glow.I was fretting sitting behind her.Then finally she told them it was a bird.I need to work on the class name.There is never enough .I teach and she forgets.
Another important thing she spoke about was-reporting speech.She said ask her to report things to others.Eg, what did the teacher tell her in school.Teacher told me that I was a good girl.Or what did daddy say to uncle?Daddy told uncle to hurry up.It is important as not always do we talk directly.We speak in reporting speech.I have used it with Prisha and so it is not difficult but I need to make it more often so that she learns to listen to conversation around her and will integrate better as she will be more alert about talks around her which normal people unconsciously hear.The deaf children often feel left out in the normal conversations, whispers around which cuts them off from people.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

some pictures of Prisha's artwork






photoframe made from chocolate box-our happy family!!
Aship from toothpaste box and the scene from the sea shore.
Project file cover for school.She made the flower on the VCD and butterfly from the clothes tag.
An under water world!what colours!
Wow I finally could upload photos !Thanks to Deepak.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

GOOD JOB

For teachers' day on 5th Sept , Prisha had to be dressed as Dr.Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan and give a lil speech on the stage.Well, I got her into a pajama kurta with a stole and she had a turban tied on her head.We worked on her speech the whole week to perfect it.It went like this-
" Respected Principal Ma'am, teachers and my dear friends, today N-C will dedicate assembly to the teachers for their efforts."
There were many words which are new, difficult and not easy to explain.I was told by her grand mom that how would she speak.For a moment I too was a bit shaken up , but then I got after her .She would get stuck at " respected Principal ma'am" as there are a lot of tongue formations but with practice and corrections she said it so well.She spoke well on the mike. Her teacher sent me a -"thank you for the good job" message and I too got a smiley!!
Today's PTA went off well.Her teacher said her art work and drawing is good .She asked me to put her in drawing classes .To which I told her that her aunt is an educationist and we were advised that let her use her own capability to imagine and draw.We should not limit their imagination with the mindless coloring books and tracing the dots.I always get after her to draw things and situations around her which she does well.It helps her to be more observant and critical about her own work.As the timing of the school is long we do not get much done during the week.She even showed me her book where the children were given a surprise dictation of the alphabets.SHE HAD THEM ALL CORRECT.I was thrilled to see that as if she hears correctly she writes correctly.That means the hearing aids are tuned all right now.[Hopefully]

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Interesting reading

http://cochlearimplantonline.com/blog/?p=270#comment-5808

Very good reading!!

To You, My Sistersby Maureen K. Higgins -

Many of you I have never even met face to face, butI've searched you out every day. I've looked for youon the Internet, on playgrounds and in grocery stores.I've become an expert at identifying you. You are wellworn. You are stronger than you ever wanted to be.Your words ring experience, experience you culled withyour very heart and soul. You are compassionate beyondthe expectations of this world. You are my "sisters."Yes, you and I, my friend, are sisters in a sorority.A very elite sorority. We are special. Just like anyother sorority, we were chosen to be members. Some ofus were invited to join immediately, some not formonths or even years. Some of us even tried to refusemembership, but to no avail.We were initiated in neurologist' s offices and NICUs, in obstetrician' s offices, in emergency rooms,and during ultrasounds. We were initiated with sombertelephone calls, consultations, evaluations, bloodtests, x-rays, MRI films, and heart surgeries.All of us have one thing in common. One day thingswere fine. We were pregnant, or we had just givenbirth, or we were nursing our newborn, or we wereplaying with our toddler. Yes, one minute everythingwas fine. Then, whether it happened in an instant, asit often does, or over the course of a few weeks ormonths, our entire lives changed. Something wasn'tquite right. Then we found ourselves mothers ofchildren with special needs.We are united, we sisters, regardless of the diversityof our children's special needs. Some of our childrenundergo chemotherapy. Some need respirators andventilators. Some are unable to talk, some are unableto walk. Some eat through feeding tubes. Some live ina different world. We do not discriminate againstthose mothers whose children's needs are not as"special" as our child's. We have mutual respect andempathy for all the women who walk in our shoes.We are knowledgeable. We have educated ourselves withwhatever materials we could find. We know "the"specialists in the field. We know "the" neurologists,"the" hospitals, "the" wonder drugs, "the" treatments.We know "the" tests that need to be done, we know"the" degenerative and progressive diseases and wehold our breath while our children are tested forthem. Without formal education, we could become boardcertified in neurology, endocrinology, and psychology.We have taken on our insurance companies and schoolboards to get what our children need to survive, andto flourish. We have prevailed upon the State toinclude augmentative communication devices in specialeducation classes and mainstream schools for ourchildren with cerebral palsy. We have labored to proveto insurance companies the medical necessity of gaittrainers and other adaptive equipment for our childrenwith spinal cord defects. We have sued municipalitiesto have our children properly classified so they couldreceive education and evaluation commensurate withtheir diagnosis. We have learned to deal with the restof the world, even if that means walking away from it.We have tolerated scorn in supermarkets during"tantrums" and gritted our teeth while discipline wasadvocated by the person behind us on line. We havetolerated inane suggestions and home remedies fromwell-meaning strangers. We have tolerated mothers ofchildren without special needs complaining aboutchicken pox and ear infections. We have learned thatmany of our closest friends can't understand what it'slike to be in our sorority, and don't even want totry.We have our own personal copies of Emily PerlKingsley's "A Trip To Holland " and Erma Bombeck's "TheSpecial Mother". We keep them by our bedside and readand reread them during our toughest hours. We havecoped with holidays. We have found ways to get ourphysically handicapped children to the neighbors'front doors on Halloween, and we have found ways tohelp our deaf children form the words, "trick ortreat." We have accepted that our children withsensory dysfunction will never wear velvet or lace onChristmas. We have painted a canvas of lights and ablazing Yule log with our words for our blindchildren. We have pureed turkey on Thanksgiving. Wehave bought white chocolate bunnies for Easter. Andall the while, we have tried to create a festiveatmosphere for the rest of our family. We've gotten upevery morning since our journey began wondering howwe'd make it through another day, and gone to bedevery evening not sure how we did it.We've mourned the fact that we never got to relax andsip red wine in Italy . We've mourned the fact that ourtrip to Holland has required much more baggage than weever imagined when we first visited the travel agent.And we've mourned because we left for the airportwithout most of the things we needed for the trip.But we, sisters, we keep the faith always. We neverstop believing. Our love for our special children andour belief in all that they will achieve in life knowsno bounds. We dream of them scoring touchdowns andextra points and home runs.We visualize them running sprints and marathons. Wedream of them planting vegetable seeds, riding horsesand chopping down trees. We hear their angelic voicessinging Christmas carols. We see their palettessmeared with watercolors, and their fingers flyingover ivory keys in a concert hall. We are amazed atthe grace of their pirouettes. We never, never stopbelieving in all they will accomplish as they passthrough this world.But in the meantime, my sisters, the most importantthing we do, is hold tight to their little hands astogether, we special mothers and our special children,reach for the stars.

I found it on Learn2hear@yahoogroups.com and thought I needed to share it with others too.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Language development

I was asked by the school of my kids to write an article on "literacy".I thought it would be good to write about how language is the base for learning anything.Hope I am able to come across well.

Good Language-Foundation for Literacy

Language is a very important means of communication between people. Our entire development depends on language as it gives meaning to every action, thing, emotion and thought. There can be no development of the world if language did not exist.
Language is important as it is an important tool to communicate. It catches an incident, crystallizes it and then can recall, recollect and be related later. Otherwise without language the moment would just be passing moment. We even think in language.
Human mind is wired to acquiring language. The moment the baby is born, his vision is not clear but his entire focus is on the buzzing, booming and bustling world of sound. From birth to five years, the entire development plan of nature is such i.e. everything is developing, sensory motor, biological, psychological, emotional and intelligence and it is only focused on one aspect and that is development of language. Once it is done, the brain has done its most important function for the rest of the life. Because based on the language that we develop, all the cognitive development takes place on that foundation. All our academics are dependent on the development of language. Once you learn it , it is easy and one can learn math, physics, literature, etc.Though the mental, physical and cognitive make up is there to learn the language , we still need to learn it.For eg. If an Indian is adopted by a Chinese , he’ll learn Chinese as his atmosphere is that of language.To learn it otherwise , I would require a teacher.I don’t learn that language by just being born to that family.A brahmin’s son would learn the shlokas as his environment is constantly teaching him that as so is it for a musican’s child.A child learns language by the atmosphere he lives in.So our language environment has to be very rich in order to make sure the child has acquired the most important aspect of life.A child in a rich environment has more emotional , cognitive and language development than a child who lives alone in a languageless atmosphere.
There are certain essentials of language learning.It is the way we talk.Most of us talk so badly.We are so much in the rush of things , that we seldom stop and think of the way we are talking.How is it that some people are able to attract and get people’s attention for hours and there are some who we run away from as we don’t like to hear them.Our voices have to have the intonation, expression, inflexion and there has to be the right expression in the voice and on the face.It is this that will attract people to the most boring discussion too.The most exciting discussion can be a bore if the speaker is dull and expressionless.It is for this reason that the nursery and pre- school teachers need to have a pleasant personality so that they can attract little kids’ attention as their attention span is very small.A teacher who is able to modulate her voice, excite and use the correct expression and intonation will have children paying attention and doing very well in her subject.
It is important also to have our conversation using full sentences. These days people are rushing past and are not taking out time to talk.One should speak full and grammatically correct sentences and expect the same from the kids.Take time to stop and correct the child and help him to develop his language for him to have an all round development.Parents need to read books and inculcate good reading habits and clear conversations.Have discussions on varios topics.I have come across a few mothers who tell me that their 3 year old is not talking.I first ask them how many people are there in the family and then how much time are they spending with them.Some living abroad complain their children do not talk.As it is there are few members in the family and then they are busy cooking and doing household chores and the child is either left alone to play or left to play with the maid.What type of language environment is that?There is no language input.how will the child learn?Then there are people to keep the child busy they put on audio and video cassettes.But let me tell you there is no substitute for a live conversation!
The next question is “what do we talk to the child?” Well everything!!If we see from the child’s point of view, everything is new and exciting and fresh to him.Go down to his level.Be a part of his curious world.Change things around the house for him to notice,give answers to his whys and hows. Use a lot language to be part of his excitement and you too will dicover joy of reliving a new life fresh from his eyes.It will increase his awareness and it is curiosity that will make him more observant. The most important, effective and accepted means of developing language remains its use in real life communication situation. If you don’t dust your home one day , it is okay but spending that time with the child to show things around in your surroundings and talking about it would go a long way.Better still , take him around and do your daily chores and take your toddler around asking him to pull the bed sheet there and pushing the chair there and see him happily oblige you.He is happy, occupied,close to his mother, mother is doing her daily chores and the exchange of words helps him to build language.Language is learnt by listening, understanding and then applying it to other situations.When the child does not have language around him, how will he listen, what will he understand and where will he apply it?Parents are busy and send little toddlers to schools and pre-schools when it is essential to be with parents to learn lessons of communication.At home left to maids, when they do not speak, they expect teachers in school to develop their language.A teacher in school has to look after the needs of 30 odd students each with a different language.How can the teacher teach each child to talk?This is the duty of the parents to make sure that when the child goes to school , he has a foundation of enough language from where the teacher can take off and develop it further. Create an atmosphere which includes all kinds of speech which means not talking sweetly all the time. There has to be a difference between your tone and expression when you are angry, excited, sad, happy, questioning etc.
We as parents are responsible for the groundwork and should help the children to build a strong foundation of language for them to acquire greater heights and achieving their dreams.

Ruchi Goyal
http://www.impemp.blogspot.com/
Pune.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Testing times

Well my brush with difficult time after the audiogram was not over.After we got the settings readjusted [I did give her a bit of a dig for not telling me she had changed the settings-as I depend on her I need to just do it diplomatically.I can't go head on as there is not much option around.I would have to go to Mumbai then which is 5 hours of travel one way.] Prisha and I got on talking all the time to see if new settings are better.After school the next day she told me she had a problem hearing in the school.I was nervous and contacted the audiologist.She played on our emotions and told me not to worry my husband who lives in Austria but she would help me when I needed.She knew we were nervous and told us that as her audiogram was very bad, and the new settings were also not alright, she must have developed more hearing loss due to the cold for a month and the retracted eardrum.You can imagine it was like a ton of bricks that fell on me!!I cried so much, could not eat and drink and went through the same trauma as when we discovered Prisha was hearing impaired.my husband in Austria too was constantly on the phone trying to console me calling up people and the audiologist as to what to do next.She told him that she would try new set of higher power hearing aids!God damn it I just bought a new set of aids last year after we found that she prescribed the wrong aids the 1st time!!How can I keep purchasing aids worth 1 lakh rupees every year!I took control and then decided to talk to a few people whose kids went through the same things.They told me that there condition was worse than Prisha's and nothing happened to them.One lady told me that every year for the last 4 years the audiologist has been telling her to change her daughter's aids for the same reason as her daughter suffers 3 months of cold due to a particular season and yet nothing has happened.She really talked to me and a sort of peace came on to me.
I had the appointment this morning with the audiologist and I decided to cancel it and 1st talk and clear out the aspect of hearing loss due to cold with a friend ENT specialist.When i told the audiologist about my decision she said that I must show the bad audiograms and tell him that she was saying that Prisha had suffered more hearing loss due to cold.She even volunteered to talk.I told her that I was going to a friend ENT and that I did not want Prisha's setting to be changed so often as it takes Prisha too 2-3 days to really get used to those settings and that I would decide only after her total cure of cold and after advise from my ENT, she was a bit ...eh eh...I could get a message.
I broke down in front of my ENT specialist and he told me she was a bit commercial and erased the myth that a cold could affect sensori neural loss.He explained how due to the cold , the middle ear is wet and the constant sniffing retracts the eardrum.You treat the cold, and within a few days the middle ear dries up and the child gets her hearing back as the eardrum comes back to its position.I WAS SO RELIEVED!He also checked her ears and said there was so much wax in her ears and so b'coz of the cold and the wax the audiogram was bad.In fact before the audiogram her ears were checked.Did she not see the wax?Or was I in an ideal situation for her monetary benefit?
Now we are treating her cold, will get her ears cleaned, after 2 weeks get another audiogram from 2 places and then get her settings.God , how much stress a person in India has to go through as there are people who think for just themselves.We are educated and so we run around , do research and then take decisions.What about lakhs of those people who are not that aware, educated or not in a position to do so?Is there an end of the tunnel for people who are helpless and unfortunate or will they be the soft targets those who are supposed to be experts ?There is a vicious circle.As the numbers are too large, no awareness, few experts in high positions,no support from anywhere, these people make their money at the cost of someone else's misfortune.I wish I had the money to open a centre where people could get the right advice and correct direction and close these money making practices.I hope I am able to at least reach out to someone who may have gone through this.Ask questions, do research, do not accept any advise which you find suspicious.Educate yourself about the problem is the only way to wriggle out of the clutches of the wrong.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A visit by the teacher of the deaf

Today we had a guest in our speech therapy class.She was a principal of a deaf school who use mostly sign language.She said we try to make them speak but they do not .How will they?The language atmosphere is not there as they are surrounded by similar kids and as there is not much conversation , they end up signing.They do wear hearing aids, but are they really focusing on speech or they are mere things hanging?they still lip read as they are not taught to depend on hearing but still depend on visual input.in our class from the very beginning we were focused on sound alone and not on looking and seeing.In the dark the lip reading and sign language will fail.Once a person wears aids,he should be made to be attentive to sound and sound alone.
The teacher was surprised to hear Prisha.She said that what surprised her was, Prisha never looked at the face while being showed something, she picked up 2 people's conversation and learnt from them and that even from behind when she was asked something she responded.But that is what AVT is all about.Learning through listening.Listening and then speaking.The focus is on listening alone.
She told us that the school was a residential one.All the more there is a problem.There is no input from normal sources except the teachers.Each teacher has 15 deaf students.How much can she focus and how much will she talk and what.In such cases individual attention is required at least in the form of family who would make them feel like normal people.At home listening to normal conversation and a variety of discussions would give adequate language opportunity to the child.
She mentioned a thing which is so typical and so education and academic oriented.She said we teach the children , give them answers to questions required for the curriculum, but after they were told to learn and answer them , they looked blank.To this I put forward my view that when the child does not have the basic language to understand concepts, how will he remember the answers?The knowledge is ABSTRACT for them!To learn a complicated thing we need to understand simple things 1st.They are not able to converse as they don't have the language, then how can they remember the answer as they cannot understand it.It is like this......I don't know french, then if I am told to remember a write up in french, how can I just rattle it off?Even if I memorize it I would not be able recall it and say as I don't have an understanding of the language.It just made sense to her.My heart goes out to those children who are not able to speak because of non availability of the right infrastructure , right teachers and correct speech therapy.I wish there was a revolution in India and people had a heart to help and not focus on their own monetary benefit.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Phone no.

Prisha had to learn her parents name ,her full name and her phone no.Today we learnt the 10 digit mobile no in about 5 minutes.It was the "eureka" moment when she was able almost rattled off the nos.I was a bit nervous and anxious about it.I think I was not trying enough and so these feelings were there.I felt stupid later to doubt her learning capability.In this effort I broke the nos into 4 parts and then said them rhythmically.She picked up the rhythm and the nos and there we had a job well done.I am teaching her the home address where she still is trying to figure it out.I need to trust her more.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Audiogram

Yesterday we went to our audiologist to get an audiogram .Prisha had a cold but we wanted to do it as it had been over a year since we did it.In India we decide when we do things.Nobody sets guidelines and so if parents are not aware themselves and do not question things , the child looses the most.Prisha performed very well and she did all the sound tests very well much to the amazement of the people around.Well I work hard with her....The audiologist decided to then check and reset if required the setting of her hearing aids.We also got the impedence test as she was not responing to some sounds which she did earlier.It was found that due to her cold the right eardrum was retracted.So she needed medication and then we would test again.We discussed other problems that I found in certain sounds and told her my observation.The audiologist changed a few setting to understand if it suited her better.I told her not to change the settings and would do so after the 2nd round of tests.I was disturbed about her eardrum and was concerned as she has been slurring and I need to keep pulling her up.This morning I noticed that she was mumbling, mixing up words, misinterpritting sounds, not hearing her name well, not responding from other room etc.I was so disturbed and broke into cold sweat.We kept trying out all techniques and I lost my cool and really thought that her hearing has got affected due to cold.I even thought that her loss has increased as her eardrum has got affected.It was a nightmare of sorts that I was going though.Then a ceratin brainwave occured to me.I increased the volume of the aids and lo....her eyes lit up!She shouted..."mumma I hear!"i was aghast!She responded to everything and repeated everything.I was suspecting earlier too that maybe the audiologist has changed her setting but since she had told me she wasn't ,I was imagining everything else.We called up our audiologist and informed and asked her if she did change the settings.To which she said yes as she thought it would not make a differance.My GOD, I was so full of mixed feelings, relaxed[as her hearing was not deriorating], bugged [as she changed the settings inspite of mt telling her no, happy[ as my reading of prisha's reaction to my queries to her was correct] and angry [as I need to now be more aware my self when I go to her otherwise my lil girl looses due to someone else's carelessness].The audiologist was surprised at her speech.But why?Isn't good hearing aid, correct setting, good speech therapy after early intevention supposed to give every hearing impaired child language understanding, a good voice and correct speech?In India the situation is such.Not everbody is lucky.Thanks to Mrs.Hudlikar I have become very aware and a hands on mom.She has trained me well and I am able to read my child like the back of my hand.I realise I cannot depend on anyone but myself and my child.I hope to be more on my guard.It was a good lesson learned .One more experience added to my book of journey of hearing impairment.

This experience has proven one thing that awareness is the key and some norms need to be put in place to the customers rights (read hearing impaired person) to get complete transparency of data from the audiologist like programmes, informtion etc. about each change. I only know how I have managed this herculean task of giving speech to my daughter. Thanks of course to God and Mrs. Hudlikar that we can differentiate between the good, average and the bad speech therapist, audiologist etc.

One final word of caution to parents of hearing impaired children - Educate yourself in all that has`to do with speech, audiograms, Bera tests, Auditory-Verbal therapy. Friends, it is a continuous process and you can never know enough. God Bless Mrs. Hudlikar.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Independence day

Today Prisha had to dress up like a Delhi girl as they have Independence day celebrations at school.She is going to speak 2 lines on Delhi."Delhi is the capital of India and it is very clean and beautiful" was the only thing that we could manage last minute.She had a problem recollecting "capital" word but hopefully she should remember.She was excited and kept asking me if they were being taken out to a restaurant after speaking and the party.My prisha loves going to restaurants, but eating is another story!She has been down with a cold last ! month and it has affected her speech. She is giving less nasal resonance and is slurring a bit, much to my heartburn.Plus daddy dear is here for 8 days and we love being daddy"s lil girl.So both are at the receiving end as far as speech correction is concerned.I wonder if all speech impaired children go through this.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Early diagnosis

I found this article about early intervention on deafvillage.com.In India the situation is pretty pathetic with parents having no awareness about deafness and also most experts too are not able to give the right advise.I strongly feel the child should be checked for deafness just after birth as it would help the child to get the required help in the form of hearing aids,speech therapy and would not go through the malpractices and wrong guidance most children go through.The child would be habilitated and not re-habilitated.My teacher had got a 2 month old child fitted with hearing aids as he was found deaf [ born to deaf parents]and the family is sooooo happy as he is already responding to sounds and is gurgling away at 3.5 months!The grandmother had trained under Mrs.Hudlikar for her son who is an oral deaf and the mother uses sign language.She feels aweful that she can't talk to the baby as much as her husband and grandmom.
http://www.aafp.org/online/en/home/publications/news/news-now/clinical-care-research/20080807hear-screen.html

http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Repository/ml.asp?Ref=VE9JUFUvMjAwOC8wOC8wMiNBcjAwNzAw&Mode=HTML&Locale=english-skin-customComment:

Friday, August 8, 2008

Sentences

Well in this week's class we had quite a bit of learning to do.Mrs. A. Hudlikar asked us to ask a few sentences every day....
1.what is the day today?
2.what is the date today?
3.What is the weather like?
These help the child to develop the concept of time.It cannot be taught in a day.With regular feedback you will see the difference.Now prisha is able to tell me the day and what we have to do, like going for speech therapy on tuesday and thursday, saturday sunday are holidays,wednesday is the 3rd day of school etc.It is exciting to see her calculating how many days she has to go to school in the week.As for the weather it gives you the chance to forward and talk more about it like ....
it is a rainy day today, what happens when it is rainy day, there are puddles on the road, everything is wet, there are storms, etc.then go ahead explain what is a storm, puddles etc.
The difference between a "birthday" and "birth date" was highlighted.Birthday comes every year birth date is the date , month and year you were born.
Then we had found a beehive in one of our potted plants .we took it to the speech therapy class and talked about the bees and where they make hives and how,the birds make nests with twigs and grass,the difference between a twig and a branch.It was fun to hear the reactions of the kids to how honey is made and the different pictures that ma'am showed to the kids in relation to the subject.She made the kids speak sentences on the subject.It is so good that because I have followed ma'am blindly that Prisha was able to recollect and speak 4 full sentences that she was asked to speak.Now I saw the connection of the fact why ma'am stressed upon narration.It helps the child visulise the situation and give it out with the language she has.Prisha has started with talking 3 -4 word sentences to full sentence and at 4.5 yrs she was able to rattle off 4 sentences in correct order and grammar.It was very encouraging for us.We had done picture description with ma'am and she would ask us to predict what would happen in the picture next.It kept Prisha very active and most times she is able to do it.,Now everyday I have been asking her about what happened at school[ much to her annoyance] but it has helped her to be able to put correct sentences.I give the language where required.I don't ask my son when they fight, I ask her to tell me and then I get a chance to correct her.I will now say 4-5 sentences on any object. Basically description is very important.I will describe in 4-5 sentences to show her the method and then ask her to describe once she gets a hang of it.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Pray

Yesterday Mrs.Alaka Hudlikar talked about the word pray and everything attached to this word.I have spoken to Prisha about praying and our Gods, but I realised I needed to talk about other religions as well.So the class was about the class name " religion" and the religions are many...Hinduism , christianity, buddhism, Islam,jainism, etc.We went ahead with their places of worship, their Gods, the various activities and various rituals that we follow.Religion is very close to our heart and our language should include every aspect of it while we are following it to clear it to the child.Like I Austria we had gone to a Church and we recollected the experience of how we went to the church , we saw Christ and lit candles.As I talked of it at that time Prisha was able to recollect it.
Ma'am told us that we need to ask the child everyday what she did in the school.Normally the kid would say I don't know, can't remember, etc.Don't stop at that, but take it further and tell her-"were you sitting there doing nothing, looking at the board and teacher."Prod her and give her hints and soon in a few days she will come out with information that will entertain you and it will open a line of communication with you in future.I had done it earlier, now she comes home and over lunch we discuss who got a shouting, what her partner got for lunch, who was fighting, etc.We have a whole lot of stories and as a result I see her telling her speech therapist a lot more things.She has opened up and keps telling her about whatever she thinks is important like an ant bit her eye, mom fell in the mall.As a result it give a chance to speak out and get corrected by the therapist and a good language lesson

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Some singing

Prisha has just picked the famous hindi song in school..."nani teri morni ko".I was wondering what she was singing but soon I realised she had her few words in place and rest she filled in with the vowels and sylabols.I was ecstasic as when I corrected her she now sings the 2 lines clearly and in tune.Yipeeee.
She saw me peeping through the window and asked me what I was doing I told her "peeping" she found it funny and loved to use it.Another word she picked up was "grumbling".I made sentences with this word to explain to her and soon she was heard telling everybody specially Rishabh , her big brother not to GRUMBLE.I love the way she uses people to her advantage.It is funny.When she needs to play with grand parents she will tell them she is missing them and ask brother to drop her at their place and then she will use him to fight back with them when she has had enough.How the kids learn with their own experiences and develop their personality is amazing.
Yesterday we went shopping for my hubby's clothes and I had a bad fall , flat on the face.Prisha was following me when she fell.I could not move and really saw the stars.She was shocked and people tried to help me but I had no control.I was scared for her and gathered my strength to get up and hold her as my hubby was far.She screamed for daddy and then came running to me and told me ..You are a strong big girl.Really the sight of her frightened face gave me the strength.All evening she held my hand as I limped so that I dont fall.I had tears!I really feel she is my strength.I am strong and back to my own real self [which I had lost after marriage and a son] thanks to her.She has made me believe in myself .It is thanks to my therapy lessons that I take from my speech therapist Mrs.Hudlikar that I am fearless and can speak my mind.There is clarity of mind ,speech and thought, thanks to these 2 important women in my life.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Testing your skills

Yesterday I visited a friend whose lil boy is hearing impaired.I had guided him last couple of years when she suspected that he was deaf.I had been telling her all along that she needed to work harder and be firm about him giving results and all along she would tell me he does not listen and he tries but he is not able to, etc.I was so convinced that something was amiss.At 2.5 Prisha was speaking a lot.So I went with chocolates and started to communicate to him and the family tried to do that for him.I told them to stay away and to let me try and get speech out.
The family is always protective.I too was , and still make excuses for her behavior at times.It is normal.The kid refuses to ask for chocolates and I refused to give without his vocalization as at that age I expected him to speak something.After a couple of roleplays where the mom asked me and I gave her the kid got around and finally asked me !!What a relief.
After that I started to interact and he would not respond and the family was saying he tries and he can't.I felt that with Mrs.Hulikar's speech therapy noway a child could not talk.I told the family to back off and started my interaction and he soon became friendly.He looked bothered at the melting chocolate, and to test him I asked him to keep it in the fridge.To which he walked to the dustbin.I corrected him and said it was not a fridge I took him to the fridge and told him several times that this was the fridge and to keep it and it would be hard.I found it so easy to get across to him.Soon enough he got a balloon to play and said it was a ball.I corrected and the mom said he calls it a ball.[was she not supposed to correct him?]I got him, with a little work, to speak balloon and soon enough I made him realise the difference between a ball by asking him to get one.To this the granny complied ,much to my displeasure ,as I wanted the kid to tell me he couldn't find.Soon enough we were playing with the ball and I made him say....."kick the ball, throw the ball and bounce the ball" which they thought was difficult for him!!YES! it was a great moment for me to see the family looking stunned as they were not using the kind of language, expression ,intonation, etc that I was using.I felt it was a good test for me, that I passed.It is possible as a mom to teach your kid as you know them well and you know their abilities.But the test is to try your teaching technique to a child who has not known you and complies with your commands.I was able to perform where his mom felt it was not possible.I made them realise their mistake that the efforts they were putting in were not enough.Our therapist has been doing a good job, she has been teaching us the same things as she has been doing this last 40 years, but it matters how a mother takes it forward and works to get results.A therapist can guide ,she can't do much in 2 hrs a week but we need to carry it forward and expand on that.I am sure in so many years there must be mothers who have done more than me,but it confirmed my belief that ultimately it is the mothers job to get her kid around. I think it is a good idea for mothers to try their speech therapy skills with other kids of different age group to test their own ability.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A visit to Child welfare institution

A very good thing Mrs.Alaka Hudlikar has started is meeting up and talking about her work 2nd Saturday of every month.She had gone for 1 session and many mothers and teachers of the deaf had turned up.They requested her to hold sessions for them and give them guidelines to follow since she was not able to take them in her class due to lack of time.I too was called to talk about my experience.
The session had the teachers in a state of wonder as they have read the theory but seemed so unaware about how to teach the deaf.They nodded and looked amazed at whatever she had to say.She gave out details about all the methods she followed and they were surprised at how logical and correct her method was and any body could follow and make a hearing impaired child talk.It was nice to see them look at amazement as all the students of ma'am talked on the mike some in English, some in Marathi and some said shloks in Sanskrit.I too was called on the stage to talk about my experience and after the 15 min talk I hope they realised how important it is to work on and integrate them through AVT.They seemed to understand what I was saying and connect.I hope this effort of Ma'am works and more people gain from it.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Reality and pictures

This week's speech therapy class was an eye opener.We take it for granted that the child knows pictures in the book, knows the real thing too.But we were surprised that when these hearing impaired kids were shown photos of the very thing they refused to recognize them.Mrs.Alaka Hudlikar has a beautiful garden and she clicked pictures of the flowers ,vegetables and even pictures of fish in her garden.As the pictures in books specially in India look pretty unreal and she felt the kids could not identify most of them she decided to show them photos of the real thing,the most comman things were passed off as "I don't know "by kids.It was an eye opener.
It is true,a picture cannot replace the real and nothing can beat an experience.She had always insisted on showing and talking about things around us rather than sit with books.Using photos to talk about past experience or talk about people we have met.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A brief to parents-2

A disturbed parent would try everything to cure deafness-e.g. allopathy, homeopathy,unani,ayurved,acupressure,acupuncture,holy water,expensive petition to Gods, and so on.Sadly none of these are of use.
It must be understood that congenital deafness is not a disease which can be cured by medicines or surgery.It is a condition which is for life.Therapy can only "address"its consequence - "mutism".
The 1st professional the parents seek is the pediatrician ,who will direct to an ENT specialist.It is his duty to alleviate their anxiety and suggest a plan of action.He can assure the parents that the baby will definitely talk provided the parents are able to cooperate & work with the a team of professionals on a long programme.He should stress that even if baby is deaf ,it does not mean he will be dumb.He should assess the loss.Is
1.He should conduct tests to find out if the child is deaf.Tests like B.E.R.A. and O.A.E. are awailable.O.A.E. can be done on tiny infants.
2.Is the loss conductive or neural-sensory.IMPEDANCE test will tell you that.
3.Does the deafness exist from birth or for some reason happened after birth.If it is acquired, then then at what age.
4.Most important-the FREE FIELD AUDIOMETRY and PURETONE AUDIOMETRY [PTA] will tell us how much hearing he has in both ears.STONE DEAFNESS is misleading.95-98% of deaf children have some residual hearing and that can be tremendous advantage.
No matter what the child's age is, once the loss is ascertained, the child should be fitted with 2 appropriate hearing aids.{proper binaural fitting}Sometimes if the loss is more than 90 d.b. it is said that hearing aids will be of no use.THIS IS WRONG. With advanced technology and insights in language learning and improved teaching methods even profoundly deaf children are able to acquire speech and language.
The speech therapists role is most important after that.Right from building up the confidence of parents to establishing a rapport with the mother and child ,getting the child to wear the aids consistently,to developing awareness and meaning of sounds in general and paying particular attention to voices and sounds of speech, the therapist has to work through the mother.To make the child enjoy listening of conversation, the mother has to be guided step by step and actually shown how and when to put on the aids, what to say when and how ,she must say it.Her voice should convey FEELING.{in sanskrit the feeling means 'bhav'}.She has to be explained that her speech should be excellent.The therapist has to treat the mother's speech.She has to be told again and again the following-
1.To speak grammatically correct sentences.Single words do not contain a thought.
2.Verbs are very important without which the sentence is incomplete.The verbs must take the correct form ,conjugated accordingly and nouns must be properly declined according to grammatical case, number, gender.The various word endings are important for meaning.eg...'s,..es,etc.Normal speakers do follow the rules automatically.
A quick recap..
-Deafness is not a sickness, it is a condition.
-Progressive deafness is about 5% in deaf population.
-Mutism in deaf people does not have an organic cause, it is a result of soundless environment.
-Hearing aids help even profoundly deaf people.
-cochlear implant does not restore normal hearing.It is only a vastly superior hearing aid.
-Speech therapy is vital ,more important than the surgery itself.

A brief to Parents about hearing impairment -1

This article has been given to me by my speech therapist Mrs. Alaka Hudlikar to be posted in the hope that it will give directive and relevant information to parents who are devastated with the difficult task of coping with diagnosis of congenital profound and sensory neural loss for their cute little baby who otherwise looks normal.I hope some parent will find it useful.
The most frightening aspect of congenital deafness for parents is the ingrained notion that deaf children cannot talk-they are dumb.They have to go to special schools.There all that they would achieve is to make candles, repair stove and do carpentry and plumbing.There is nothing wrong with this work but even plumbers and electricians do need to talk and have full quality family life and social life.It is imperative that every human being learns spoken language.It is a bare necessity for fulfilling life.It is very possible with knowledge and research in linguistics , improved methods of teaching and modern technology for even profound deaf child to acquire speech and language and lead a good quality life.
SPEECH THERAPY FOR HEARING IMPAIRED CHILDREN
"Congenital bilateral severe to profound sensori-neural hearing loss"A devastating diagnosis pronounced by doctor-audiologist for a cute 6 month old baby who otherwise looks normal.The most frightening aspect to parents....."Oh my god,my baby is deaf ,so he will be dumb".All the languages put the 2 words together and suggest the same thing.In English it deaf-mute ,in Hindi "gunge-behere" in Marathi "muk-badhir".Parents cannot imagine how to give him normal life."Should it be special school,maybe lip reading he will learn few words,maybe sign language-but we don't know sign language.Along with the baby even our life will be so difficult and complicated".These and even worse negative thoughts throw the parents off balance.They are desperate to find a cure for their child's deafness, and in their desperation they are ready to try any and everything.Will continue on the next post.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Assessment

Today is a happy day for me as prisha's teacher sent home her book from her class where they do a bit of written work.....likesleeping lines,standing lines, a few alphabets and she has got remarks like..neat work,v. good ,well done,etc.For her holiday homework , she had done entirely all by herself under my supervision , she has got A+, star and a smiley.The cover was done by her with waste material like the flower from CD and the butterfly with a clothes tag.The concept being butterfly is drinking honey from flower.It looks nice!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

A star

Prisha got a star on her cheek for singing "God's love,is so wonderful"She has just picked up the 1st line but she sang it all day.I had tears as I remembering in school I too had learnt it.We sang it together.
I spoke to her teacher in school and she was very happy with her.She was amazed how responsible she is with her hearing aids.As it is monsoon time in India I have made Prisha wear a linen scarf under the raincoat so that not a drop falls on the aids.But teacher said that prisha asks for help with raincoat, when it is raining .She is so tiny , yet how grown they are as far as their needs are concerned!I just told her if the aids get wet you cannot hear so be careful, now she is cautious.
For her holiday homework we have made a file where we have stuck some of her artwork she did all from waste.The teacher is excited about it .

Friday, June 27, 2008

Back to regular life

So here we are back home after a nice long European holiday.It was nice to be home .All the experiences are etched in our memory.We really went around site seeing, eating , shopping and seeing the country side.Prisha loved the shopping in super markets ,trying out dresses in the trial rooms before buying and above all the flower girl she is ,she loved the flowers.It was so funny the way she stood hiding behind the curtain waiting while she asked me to get more clothes for her to try.The moment she would see flowers, she posed perfectly for that perfect picture.

As we were all the time together,my son and Prisha ended up spending all the time together as there was not much TV and outing during the day.She learnt to irritate her big brother and learnt to give pit pat answers as I never got involved in their fights.It really helped them to bond as he too realized she was better company than no company at all.They would play hide and seek, do pillow fights,have some funny conversations and laugh out or simply fight.I have noticed it has made her conversations more clear and she uses a lot of her mind to make proper sentences.My friends found a great change in her level of confidence.She is going out to make more friends,trying to understand what they speak,and is actually mixing around a lot more.Problem in India is the number of languages she comes across.Many kids do not speak english and so closes up to talking with kids.She will come around I am sure.Back to school,speech therapy classes and pressures!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

A funny incident

We are in Austria for a month and having a chilled out time.As not too many Tv channels are there , we end up watching only english news or the 2 hindi channels .all that we watch in hindi language ends up in a lot of melodrama, shouting , crying etc.Prisha has ended up watching all that and asks me why is the woman crying or sad or shouting etc.I try and give her logical answers.Last night she removed her aids and was preparing to sleep while I watched TV.There were 2 people argueing and Prisha watched intensely.After a while she got a bit worked up watching all the drama and she held her ears and shouted__"aunty is shouting, my ears are paining". we laughed so much as she never realised she wasn't hearing.I am so happy as she reacts very normally.
In fact this morning the house keepers came to clean the house.The father son team come every friday to clean the service appartment.The old fellow speaks the local dilect which is not easy to understand and to top it he has a drawl.He got us some sweets and Prisha was thrilled.The old man started to change the bed linen and I decided to help him.Prisha too started to pitch in by doing the buttons of the blanket covers.She started to blabber with him and he too started to chat up.My son and I laughed so much at the normal converstion that was going on with prisha blabbering with a few words of english thrown in between the gibberish and the old fellow yapping in german.It was a very nice thing to experience.Nobody could tell that they were blabbering and not chatting up.
she is having a good time.She loves going shopping to supermarkets.For that she prepares a list,and she reminds me what has to be picked up.There so many different things and the kids are enjoying this way of life

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Gayatri mantra

Prisha has gone to school for about 3weeks.They have to say the prayers which are a combination of sanskrit and hindi prayer.Well she has mastered the 'Gayatri mantra' and the hindi prayer- 'itni shakti hame dena datta', she has got a bit of the tune and a few words.I was so excited when she just rattled it off.I did not want to teach her as I can get the understanding of how much she depends on her hearing.She is just listening and rattling off.
These days she is into a lot of art and craft.I stimulated her with a small box into making a landscape and then an engine.Now she gets so excited looking at any thing that we think is waste--soap cartons,tags,chocolate wrappers,etc.It is fun to see her getting engrossed.She has made flowers with old VCDs, a fan ,butterfly with a tag, a ship with stones and a toothpaste box which stands on the beach with a light house.We ask what to make and I lead her to her idea.
Next week we go to Austria with family for a holiday .we'll be away for a month.It will be good for all of us and specially for the kids to see a new country and see speak about it.Happy summer vacations to all!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

concept of" made of"

A very important lesson on "what are things made of"done.It is difficult to explain the concept of "made of".How do you explain to a 4 year old -what is a table made of".I felt it difficult to put it across to Prisha this complicated thing as she looked pretty blank.Then we hit it off at an answer.She has seen cake being made roti being made.I asked her what is roti made of?she looked puzzled.when I put it simply as ...roti is made of atta.She looked educated!!I am now going to work on this .show her from things around and take her to difficult concept. to which Mrs.Hudlikar put across rules of teaching.We know them but it was only after she spelt them out that it struck us how it was so important.She said a good teacher teaches with the concept of teaching the child from simple to complex, from specific to generic and from known to unknown.How true.From simple things we learn difficult concepts,from a specific thing eg. a red apple ,golden apple , green apple,etc I know a generic or class they belong to..i.e . apples.So specific to generic and from known to unknown.If I know that what a living thing is I can learn what a non living thing is.What a way of learning.we are blessed to have her in our lives.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

inactment and drawing

Mrs Alaka Hudlikar gave us 2 very important 'must do' with the kids.She told us that the kids must be able to act out or be able to dramatize things they are not able to talk about.It is not SIGN LANGUAGE.It is dramatization which even normal people use to express their views when they are not able to express in words.They will be in situations and they need to act out and find solutions.
The same with drawings.Teach them match stick figures doing various things. Prisha loved it.she drew man on a swing, girl sitting on the laptop, etc.It was amazing the eye for detail that she has.Now we are going to put these cutout on a black sheet and write the verbs under it.These will come in handy for kids.
Last week we had a lovely class where the kids were given paper, colors ,pencils.Ma'am gave them oral hints and instructions like -----draw a mountain, draw 2 birds flying in the sky,draw a house below the mountain, draw a mango tree on the side of the house, in the house make a chair and table etc.the kids learnt the prepositions, nouns,verbs,colours through drawing .we too were less stressed out.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Letting go

Last whole week has been very trying for me, particularly the last few days as Prisha has started a proper school from today.I have been a lot nervous and looking at her excitement about going in the bus made me happy as for now.The whole night I could barely get sleep and in the bits of naps I dreamt of her going to school and those long 6 hours she will be away.I had lumps in my throat , churning in my heart and tears in my eyes all of y'day.Does it happen to all the moms or it is more with this special child with who I have spent every moment together in the last 4 years.I understand every thing before she speaks.Will she be able to communicate well?Will my hard work pay off?I have dreams for her to be able to lead a fulfilling and happy life and I am working towards it.Why is motherhood so difficult?I had difficulty letting go my older normal son but letting go off Prisha is tougher .Being hearing impaired I have spent more time and energy and emotions on her, so maybe it is more emotionally draining.It was like opening the cage to let my little bird take her 1st flight of freedom.No more protection, only her own personality and her communication skills will see her through.I have given a list of instructions and a very motivating letter to the teacher. I hope she cooperates and helps my Prisha to be confident and lively child that she is.Are all other moms with special need children going through the same thing?Today I was lonely and no one to share my thoughts with after I sent her off in the bus, as my husband too has shifted to Austria for a growth in his career.She was running to go off in the bus and when I told her "i will miss you" she said " don't worry I'll come back.".After leaving her , entering the quiet and dead house was so depressing.Ther were things all around which remind me of her liveliness.She drew an insect that she saw on a plant in our balcony and I kissed it.I hope I am able to cope with this phase of my life.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Activities

This tuesday mrs. Alaka Hudlikar made all children stand in a row in her garden and we had a fun time.She gave them activities keeping in mind the use of the verbs and their uses with various nouns, the loud open voices to be heard of the kids, the ability of the kids to remember the verbs and their actions along with having fun.Well the kids loved it from the sit down classes for a change.
Fly like an aeroplane.......the kids had to open their arms and fly around making loud sounds-ooooooo...........
Fly like a bird
Fly like a butterfly
Clap your hands
turn around.
turn your hands round and round
walk fast and slow
wave your hands
skip
hop
we even told the kids to repeat what ma'am was telling them to do.well I would do at home with Prisha more things like roar like lion, bark like a dog,etc

Places we visit

Today with our kids in the hearing impairment classes , Mrs. Alaka Hudlikar did an interesting speech therapy class.The children were asked simple questions which are very commonly come across.Eg.-If you want to catch an aeroplane, where do you go?If you want to take a train where do you go ?And if you want to take a bus , where do you go?
Most kids could not remember the places though they knew what she was talking about.A kid put her hand in front of her mouth and hooted.Then she explained to them all about these places and told the places - airport, railway station and a bus stop.I took it up from there and asked Prisha few questions and gave her the answers.
If I want to buy vegs where do I go......Veg market{sabzi bazaar}
If I want to buy medicines , where do you go........medicine shop
For books ,pen paper etc.......stationary shop
If I want to pray......Temple
Like this one can go on endlessly.For the child it is fun to recall all the places and they are able to revise the names of these places.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Tantrum control-2

After 6 weeks of trying to train Prisha to behave and not to throw a fit in speech therapy class , a break through was achieved.I had been wondering why she was so adamant about not talking in class and crying the moment Mrs. Alaka Hudlikar looked at me or crying the moment she corrected her .I was going through a typical low period as I could see that it was affecting her performance in speech.She would , at home too, run to her dad the moment I corrected her, or run to her grand Parents whining and giving a false cry with no tears just to get their sympathy.I tried to get control by bribe, coaxing and pleading her to attend the therapy and she would show her eyes and ask me to be quiet.I was at my wits end and decided not to go for therapy as Ma'am was upset about her behavior and I was the one who was not able to correct her.Today My hubby too got wild and she got a dressing down from him.SHE WAS SHOCKED....well dad never yells!!I took over and in a commanding voice I told her that I did not want any crying in the therapy and she has to go there even if she did not want.She immediately looked like she would break out into the ugly cry and I took cue and warned her if a tear fell out.Well well the trick worked We kept a straight face with a certain firmness and for the 1st time she ate her lunch on her own, went for therapy and was a perfect student.All was well.
From this I have realised that she was testing our patience and was getting her way out of situations as she knew we would melt as we love her immensely.She reacts to me when I am alone differently.I realised my hubby was a cushion to her.The moment she saw that he too can be wild with her for wrong behavior she knew she had no one to manipulate , she controlled her emotion and was ready for learning.An emotionally strong person is a good learner as they have nothing to fear. The moment she knew I was not supporting her crying in the class, she stooped her whining and the insecure behavior.We have decided to not let her control us and our emotions. It needs a strong will power and keeping the stiff face when you actually would want to hug her, is difficult.But then who says motherhood is easy.Having a hearing impaired child and a teacher like ma'am has changed my life.Today she is able to stop her crying the moment I ask her to just stop the big tantrum.I hope to keep it going for a few days till it is reinforced that I would not allow bad behavior and her manipulative power play. I know many of you would not agree to this but I feel being firm and being consistant is the only way of training a child.Today Prisha behaved as their was no one to support her wrong behavior and as there was no cushion she stood for herself and controlled her oun self.I have to prepare her for all kinds of people she would come across.She will have to fend for herself when I am not around.She has to learn that life is not easy and we need to take care of ourselves.

Friday, February 29, 2008

homes

Today was an interesting lesson with Mrs. Alaka Hudlikar.It was about homes of living things.It is surprising how in school , year after year people just learn mugged up answers and a bit of a specific question is asked and the child goes out of gear.Ma'am asked " where do the fish live". A normal answer went like..Pond.She said it was wrong .I too looked a bit puzzled.After a lot of cross questioning a very simple answer"water"came up.She went on to all types of water that we find fish in -sea, pond, lakes, river, aquarium, fish bowl.....where ever there is water .Normally we do this matching ...fish-lakes, rabbit-burrow. etc.We need to lead the child to the correct answer.She told us about the birds living in nests, the types of nest.She even had a nest of a tailor bird saved from her garden and she demonstrated how the tailor bird came and made it.The kids were fasicnated.I love the way speaks as it is exciting the way builds the whole experience into a movie only through language and the things she has around her.She is an artist no doubt about it.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Holiday

Oh my god , what a nice break we got last weekend.It was my b'day and I had a friend drop by with family.We packed ourselves for a weekend at the beaches of Alibaug near Mumbai.Prisha is now 4 yrs and I was keen to give myself a break as well have a speech therapy lesson with a difference.Few days back she had seen the sea and the fishes swimming on TV and she had drawn a lovely picture and made it really colorful.I then gave her play dough to make the fish swimming in 3D and there the artist that she is she loved to oblige.So the day at the beach was the ideal thing to show her.
My sister joined us at the jetty and I showed her the boats and how the people came the boats of all shapes, the waves, the sea gulls,etc.Next day we were at the beach and as she does not like to get into water we gave her the sand set and there she was having her bit of fun.We talked about the sea and I made her recall her painting that she made and that there were fish under the water swimming just the way she drew.She seemed to just take in all the information and look at the vastness of the water body.I showed her a dead fish and the waves and lots of shells.She was fascinated with the shapes of the shells and the way the snails moved.I decided to give myself a break and we played around the water.We ran with my down syndrome niece and just enjoyed.
The speech therapist in me got a little annoyed after a while and while others played cricket I got down to Prisha and we had another speech therapy lesson.We discussed the beach again and made castles in the sand and then I started something she loves.........drawing on the sand!There we had endless patch of drawing sheet and she wrote her name , mummy, she drew things she wanted to.She drew ice cream, goggles and flowers.etc and we talked so much about it.IT WAS SUCH FUN!It was a good change from the run of the mill talk we normally have.I got the recordings and took lots of pictures. will use them to recall the experience on the beach.Hope to repeat it again.
One very funny thing she did.My son was "ugh mom grouse ".But we laughed till our tommy ached as coming from my hearing impaired child it was funny.The way she applied her brains to get us to laugh.Well we were driving back home when she wanted to use the loo.As there was no loo around and were 15 minutes from home my hubby told her to hold on.To get my son to irritate she started to say" Rishabh I will do susu{loo in hindi language} on your face, I'll do susu on the car ...yellow color,etc" we just burst out laughing ...of course I told her to stop after that but I just loved her use of language to crack a joke.Her laughter still rings in my ears.