Monday, January 26, 2009

You are talking too much

I have noticed that since we keep talking around Prisha , she picks up these one liners that she hears and uses very appropriately.Like when she is talking on the phone , she gives the phone to me and says..' mummy, baat karo." meaning mummy talk here. I love the use of this kind of language that she is picking up and using it without being taught.This confirms my belief that when I teach her a verb, I say it first and then do the action so that she associates that word with action only after hearing it. She did a funny thing the other day.She was arguing with her grandfather for a long time and when the conversation became too much and she had enough of it she piped in..." you are talking too much.".Everybody was in splits at this use of prompt language.She drags her voice and is unclear when she talks in front of her grand parents as she knows she will getaway.When I am around she is open to correction and will listen to everything I say. In front of her speech therapist her speech is perfect.The intonation, the voice quality and her grammar is all in place as she wants to please her.How smart kids are!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Meeting an ex-student

Yesterday I met an ex-student of Mrs.Hudlikar who was one of her bright kids with good communication skills.He was married and come for therapy for his 10 month old deaf child who was diagnosed early and was wearing hearing aids and doing well .The man's mom had come with the entire family to re- learn what had to be taught to the child as the baby's mom was also deaf using sign language and the responsibility to develop the language laid with the grand mother.
During the session we gave out our feedback to the grand mother and we interacted with the family.All was well till the father of the child opened his mouth to speak.I was shocked as the man's language was so not at all clear and we all found it difficult to understand even one word. We all tried to strain and wondered how he was one of the good students. Ma'am was at him again and corrected his speech and was upset at the deterioration of his voice and speech. The man's parents then came out with the real story.The man was married to a deaf lady using the sign language. So for the woman adjustments were made so that she could open the door if the bell rang [ a light was attached to the door bell].There was a lot of writing that was used to make everybody understand.So to make the lady comfortable , the whole family made adjustments with the lady instead of helping her to react to sound and use her hearing aids to listen. The man has done his M Tech and works in a firm where during the interview when the interviewer tried to sign to him , he asked him to speak in English as he could speak. He also joined a deaf club against his parents wishes where most used signs and lip reading.With time the man stopped using his voice and started to depend on lip reading. As a result his voice quality and speech deteriorated.I was so shocked.Prisha too looked at the man with horror.It did give her a bit of fear.It is essential that the deaf person is surrounded with hearing people so that he does not get an opportunity to use any other mode except -speaking through hearing and hearing alone.As the man stopped started to focus on lip reading, he stopped focusing on listening and so stopped speaking. It did give me a big push that with Prisha I have to make sure that she is always in an environment where there is use of spoken language.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Prisha is 5

Our 2009 speech therapy classes got delayed as Mrs.Hudlikar was down with a stomach infection .And at that age to recover and regain stamina to teach 50 HI children takes time.
Our 1st session of the year started with the concept of time.2008 has gone 2009 has come.She sat down with the calenders of the 2 years and then talked about how the old calender is of no use as the new year has come.The kids were asked to say the names of the months of the year.Well Prisha almost managed. Then we moved to the names of the days of the week. The teacher asked everybody for their birth days, I held my breathe as I had been talking about her approaching birthday. She said her date of birth and when asked about how old she would be, she proudly said 5! She looked at me for approval and we exchanged that look where she was happy to see my thumbs up look. Ma'am marked her birthday on the calender.
2 days later it was her birthday ie, 15th Jan. I packed up some popcorn, cake and sweets to give in therapy class.We got a surprise.Ma'am was celebrating her birthday. She laid out a beautiful table cloth embroidered by her ,and we laid out the goodies that she kept for the little party and I took out my stuff.A candle was lit and we sang happy birthday for Prisha.She was thrilled! A lil envelope with some money for Prisha was a precious gift from her.A very touching and memorable b'day for us.A good therapy lesson was taken where we talked about b'days.
Prisha was on a big high on her big day.This year she had been to b'day party and wanted 1 for herself too.She is realizing the fun and was on cloud 9 the entire day.I loved to see the zest for life in her.She told me what she wanted for her big day. we pulled out the entire wardrobe as she could not decide what to wear. She wanted balloons of all colours in all rooms, [to be blown by the same lady in a sari who had blown in her friend's house- but my dear prisha it was her neighbour who helped out] the cake, the chips the food, etc had to laid.She specified where the cake would be cut, how it would be served and how the presents had to be opened after everybody left.My God , I was trying to keep pace on my creaky knees and was falling off with all the running around.But it was all worth it to see her eyes light up at everything that I could do for her, which wasn't much.She makes me feel young and energetic.Her energy radiates on to me.I thanked God that she came into my life.She has given meaning to my otherwise ordinary life.The other day I told her that I need to do yoga so that I keep healthy and teach her to talk well.She looked up at me with a funny look in her eyes and hugged me so tight.I had tears....Her 5th birthday is the 1st birthday where she realized the importance of her birthdate.The day ended with all the fun , where her friends painted, ate well sang for her gifted her and gave a lovely memory for us remember.The hangover is still not over though.We look forward to the next one now.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A summary of last 6 weeks

I have not been able to sit on my blog last 6 weeks as 1st the Mumbai attacks took hold of my emotions and I was literally grieving and the depression took toll on my own personal work.My husband and relatives turned up and we had a lot of catching up.I asked all of them about how they felt had Prisha progressed in the time they had not seen her.The answers were encouraging.Her comprehension is great and things don't need to be repeated to her.She comes across as a normal kid.
Since she was the centre of attraction everybody wanted to teach her what they were good at.My husband's sister tried to tell stories and did some maths, my co-sister did a bit of her artwork and igniting her creative mind, my husband tried to pamper her and her grand parents gave in to her fancies. I took a back seat and after a month I am realising she has regressed in speech.She needs me to break down sentences which she echoed earlier without much ado.Yesterday in her speech therapy class she was shivering while answering as she was not confident and also since she is weak from her stomach infection.
But I would like to high light the things she has done in the past 1 month.She is aware that singing is not something she is confident about , yet she breaks into " we shall overcome", " God's love", "lakdi ki kathi"- a hindi song and does sing " Raghupathi Raghav Raja Ram" - Lord Ram's song.It is satisfying to hear her normal voice.When i teach her to say something new she juts out her lower jaw as she finds it convenient . I correct her immediately.
She does play school .I think all girls love it.She does become Manisha ma'am, her class teacher, and her grand pa is the student. there is attendance, colouring class, singing class, English class etc and he needs to be very attentive and has to follow or she gives him a dressing down.During the attendance she calls out her grandmom's name but is normally marked absent as she feels she does not cooperate .It is something to really experience and she does want me to go away as she feels I will correct her and she can't be her real self. We took a short holiday and she enjoyed the stay in a resort. she modelled for photographs and had her speech practice where ever we went.My sister's daughter has down's and so has problem with speech. I tried to do my bit of work to encourage speech and Prisha was most cooperative. The moment I left she would then take over and tell Kitu to copy her. She copies the same style. When she plays teacher , I know how her teacher talks, when she does speech therapy with Kitu , I feels it is a mirror image of me talking.With Kitu and a friend's daughter who is 9 ( with a bad job of CI) their voice quality is something I am always concerned about.I tried to sing ( aa...) in different pitches and with a little work and encouragement I was able to achieve it, much to my delight.I have worked it with Prisha from the beginning and so Prisha's intonation and voice modulation is great. I have taught the tricks to their mums, hope they carry it further. In the speech therapy class their is a boy 8 years old, bright guys but his voice is flat. I taught the trick to the mum and after a month she told me that after much encouragement from both of us, he was for the 1st time trying to sing along a cartoon theme song! Yipee!!!!I was thrilled. The kids may not turn singers but why deprive them of another part of speech!