Wednesday, July 30, 2008


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's,,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.
"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


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!