Thursday, December 15, 2011

Improving vocabulary

     Prisha's reading has improved drastically thanks to the reading that she does and we are with her constantly. Yesterday at her after school activity reading , she read very well and her teacher told us that he was happy with her reading, spellings and her ability to fill in letters in the guessing the word game. But yes , her speech does lack usage of any new word till we force it down her or we don't remind her. Today I got a sudden brain wave. I think it should really help her remember new words and also help us make an extra effort to use new vocabulary. When she uses her simple language, we are going to substitute the simple words for her in her daily language then and there. If she says "I am sad", we would say "you are disappointed/frustrated/upset/etc" the many substitutes she can use as she mostly uses "sad"  to describe many feelings. I think it should help us and her as well, making our daily language broader and bigger , holding more So geared up for that, would keep my blog posted about results.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Speech therapy made me strong

Talking about India

Some fried snacks to share

Henna for all

They loved the tattoos 

Class picture
      I have been with Mrs. Hudlikar for speech therapy since Prisha was a year old. She is strong, pushy and very focused and has a very all rounded approach towards learning language for normal living. Most speech therapist practice with just the child inside the room and mothers are asked to come an hour later. Mothers are a vital part of child's life in early years. She is highly instrumental in teaching the infant to learn language as he spends maximum time with her. So Mrs. Hudlikar makes sure she has all the mothers in her class to see her approach , pick up the skills of speech therapy and apply in daily life of the deaf child. The mothers have a one to one interaction and since each class has at least 2-3 kids, the kids learn faster listening to the other kids answering. All her cases have had 100 % results and all kids have been leading a very happy and normal lives.
      The other beneficiaries of this style of speech therapy are mothers. As they see hands on the intricacies of teaching language to the deaf child, she gets empowered and teaches her kid in any circumstances and any place without feeling the pressure of people around or the place she is in. Her only mission is teach the child through language about what is around him. She gains a lot of confidence and is not scared to speak her mind.Since she teaches her child all the time, her command over her language is very important. Her grammar, vocabulary and diction needs to be very strong along with her intonation, flow of speech and the tone as all these are going to hold the attention of a small child, which can be difficult for too long. But through Mrs. Hudlikar's therapy, all mothers master it. Result......strong, happy mothers with immense knowledge with power of speech. I am one such mother, gained immense strength, happiness and normalcy in my life thanks to her.One example I would like to share that made me very happy.
       Last week a mother of Prisha's classmate , who is a teacher at high school of a German school , asked me if I could talk about India to her 25 students who are about 15-16 years old. I was excited being a proud Indian that I am. I made a power point project and a few pointers to talk about, some henna, some snack made at home and dressed in a saree, I was ready to go. I did get a bit nervous when I saw 3 teachers and 25 bored looking students. But then, took off, a bit shaky inside. its not easy to hold the attention of that age who also do not have great command over English. I gave an hour and a half lecture, made henna tattos on the girl's arms, shared the snacks and answered all their questions. It was one of the most beautiful days of my life. All the 15 yrs olds stayed through the lecture, and later complimented me on my lecture. they said they enjoyed every bit of it. The teachers came down to tell me how entertaining and interesting the lecture was. Soon word spread and couple of teachers came down to tell me how horrid they felt as they missed the lecture. I was overwhelmed by compliments and in my heart could not thank Mrs. Hudlikar enough! Some asked me to come down again as they would love other classes to hear it too. It was such a wonderful experience and made me beam from ear to ear ! What was most humbling was some telling me that I should be a teacher as I was very interesting and entertaining and that they had never had any lecture that interesting ever in the school !! I came home and called up ma'am and thanked her for all that I received that day. It was thanks to her that I developed that art of holding attention of people through language and this is one thing I would never forget in my life.
     Thank you Alaka ma'am, I owe it you  , thank you for being in my life and changing it in more than one way. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Update of student led conference

       Prisha had her student led conference at school last week. This means that whatever work she has done at school, she would show it to her parents by herself. She leads them through the entire work done at school in books and computers and explains her journey. We as parents ask her to reflect on her work and ask where she excelled,  what she learnt and where she needs to work on and how much. It was amazing to see her confidence as she led us through and answered our questions. Very well done. I could see areas where she needed to work on and where she made us proud. She and we grade her on what we see.
      Then the teacher sat with us last 15 mins and ran through the 3 months of work that they did at school. It was nice to know how much they knew each other and how she got Prisha to admit her strengths and weaknesses. We came to know she has been pulled out from IEP and just has a teacher come in for 45 mins daily to help in the main period of inquiry. Then a teacher takes her out for some time daily to work on her narration and comprehension skills. Prisha is a star at reading, spellings and hand writings is good. She needs to work on her comprehension. We need to all work on that front now.
      Today I was conversing with a friend who had a hearing impaired child and is from the US. She made a statement which made me think the same too. When I explained how Prisha reads well but is not able to comprehend it in her mind. Her observation was that the child is so focused on reading it right and doing it to her best that her brain is very focused on that and is not working enough on comprehending it. It just struck a chord in me. Now we need to change our strategy. We read to her, explain where is necessary and then ask her to explain in her own words. So while we read and explain it would be easy for her to build the picture in her mind of the story, hold it in her brain better and then be able to retell in her own words.She could then read the story by herself to get it even better. Hope this works better. Each day is a new journey  and new learning with her. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Good job Prisha !!

Little mind at work

project that she let go, a bridge !!

Thinking and working.

    This week has been pretty rewarding as far as school goes. I have been just been watchful and waited to see how Prisha gets used to the new teacher and understands her ways. This teacher is very experienced and very systematic. She even watches and knows each child well. So when I went to ask her she had some good things to say. She said Prisha has been a very good observer and is very sincere.She has the need to learn and gave all her attention which she found very good. She is cooperative and made sure she understood what was being done in the class. She found her book of stories that she had made very interesting and said that it would be nice if she made a second book. So now the next 10 days we may do that. She also said that her enthusiasm was commendable.
       She said we need to now work on her to be able to express herself better. She needs to read and we need to read advanced book with her and then she should tell the stories in her own words. So now we are going to work on that.
      She said she has one of the best hand writings in the class and had told her to take time off from hand writing practice which she denied as she loves to write. They also had a puppet presentation where they had to make a small conversational story with the hand puppet. The teacher said, Prisha stood out in her class and she was fantastic. She was loud, clear and very good with the interaction of her various puppets. She enacted her favorite theme, student teacher conversation with a song thrown in. We are glad that she has upped in many things and some we need to work on.
      A friend counselor had come in to meet the special needs department here. She was told that the last year they had a difficult case which they were sure could not make it through the year. It was us they were talking about. When she said she knew it was us, they said, they were very happy with her progress and her graph of learning is very steep. they love Prisha's enthusiasm and the spirit that she has. She took correction as many times and was never down on spirits.Her enthusiasm rubs on people around her. they said they found us as parents very enthusiastic and supported well without being interfering and contradicting. and so They are happy to have us at school. for us it was a happy moment as last year we nearly thought we made a mistake by moving here.
      Another thing I am proud of and the teacher is happy with was Prisha's heart to let go of their class project which they did in twos. Her friend wanted to take it home, disheartened and heart broken she was, but she let her partner take it home.
    Am now just hoping that she learns and grows from strength to strength. Hoping this year too sees her at a totally different level. We have seen her math too and she seems to be doing good with numbers too. So keeping fingers crossed and socks all pulled up.  

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A callous audiologist

       Last week Mrs. Hudlikar got a case which actually made me so miserable that I literally wanted to fly down to India and question the lady audiologist. It is a simple case where she wanted to just make money out her profession without really bothering about the child and the family who have got so severely affected by this.
       Without naming , I want to share this experience and hope that anyone who reads this could understand that they need to know how they can be wronged and audiologist who make this as a money making profession, read it and maybe realize the sin they commit towards this very sensitive issue.
     The parents of this child realized the child was deaf and went to this particular audiologist in Pune, India seeking help. Hearing aids were tested and soon as usual she started to ask the family to go in for cochlear implant as they were very effective and the child would talk.The desperate parents in the need to get the best for their child went in for CI . As usual not much information was given and the parents, from a simple back ground, took it on face value that their little boy would chatter with this miraculous surgery. Then the child was started on speech therapy 4 times a week and the family was paying 250 Rs per time ,that is 1000 Rs a week !!!! The family kept waiting for years that some day the child would talk . This family with limited means sold their home to make this dream a reality for the child. Soon the family started to question the audiologist about the child not talking. So her next reaction was, the child has a faulty auditory nerves and so the child is not benefiting with the CI!! When she did all the testing, was she not aware of the condition? She gave more reasons which were absolutely rubbish but the simple couple ,not educated enough, took it as their fate. She then told them they have to accept it as their fate that their child would never talk. So her next suggestion ( am amazed ) was, label all your things at home , at least the child would learn to read ! But read what?? Bed, glass, TV, would it help? Would the child be able to put his thoughts accross with these mindless names? We need to speak full sentences to convey our thoughts.And what about speaking? Just with those labels, can the child talk? One takes years of practice to learn a language and speak it well.How does she expect that to happen to this child.Does she not have a conscious? How does she go to sleep having done so much harm, year after year?
       This lady was apprached by a parent when he saw the 7 year old had CI but could not speak.he gave her Mrs.Hudlikar's number.The hopeful mother went running to her, crying and begging her to help her little son speak. Ma'am's heart is so large , she just cannot refuse despite the fact she is getting older and some days finds it difficult. The lady was ready to do anything to help her son.What hurt her more, almost like a dagger in her heart, was that all the hearing  impaired kids, with what ever loss, was talking and going to normal school. She feels the pain and so does ma'am and we hope with so much loss of time and damage done, the child can still maybe learn to talk.It does get difficult as the child gets older, but each mother wants that her deaf child should be able to talk like a normal child, hear her voice and integrate into the world.
    I wish these audiologists were penelized or were answerable to someone.The parents are too busy trying to sort out their life and cannot run around fighting the case in the court. But is there no way that the hearing aid companies or CI companies come back to check what the response of the people.Why should not they be answeable to anyone? The family sold off everything just to help the child. But he is still speechless. that just shows , despite the best aid......hearing aid or CI, the most vital clue to the child talking is not just any speech therapy, but effective speech therapy.I wish more and more people do that. the main problem why more stress is not laid on speech therapy is as there is not too much money in it. The audiologist find it easier to make more money seeling aids and CI than using effective speech therapy. I wish they turned more human and did not weight everything in terms of money. More power to Mrs. my only prayer to the Almighty !!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Another success story in the deafness world

     I feel so privileged to be guided by such a wonderful teacher who has many such success stories to her credit. The hard work of these parents, kids and the force behind them-Mrs Hudlikar is commendable. She fills up each of the parents with her spirit of never say die and pushes them to achieve greater heights against all odds. In India life for the handicap is very tough but teachers like these inspire and makes life worth the fight and struggle. Thank you Ma'am Hudlikar for giving the hearing impaired kids a second chance in life and making them contribute positively to the world around.God bless you.

Thank you for all the efforts Ma'am Hudlikar !!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Mrs Alaka Hudlikar's article on the eve of "World Deaf day".

Lighting up many lives by giving speech to the deaf
Article in the newspaper about how deaf kids can learn to speak and lead very normal lives. This little child is such an example.Kudos to her and her ways as she has brought sounds and happiness in many lives in the last 40 odd years.we love you ma'am, keep being our guardian angel.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Funny moment

      This morning on our way to the school, Prisha stumped us with her use of language and we had a great laughter which made our day.She saw her dad going to school after 2 days of leave and asked if he went to office after he finished college. She then asked me.I told her I worked too after college and then I stopped. Then came the one liner which had us in splits.
Prisha- "you stopped working to save me? "
My husband and I laughed out loud and I said that I stopped working to save her brother and her.
Prisha- "well, you can start going to office once I get married."
I asked if she did not want to go to office.
Prisha- " I want to go to office but I need to save my children." very seriously.
I volunteered to save her kids while she went to office.She looked pretty doubtful about that one.I guess she did not think I was capable of handling her kids well as I am a firm mom.She is going to be a very lovable mom,its so obvious with the way she talks and handles her teddy.What ever be the future, this moment made our day and one more sweet memory to add in my diary.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Naida III eventually

     Yesterday we had the appointment with the audiologist to see if Naida S V could work with Prisha.As we had tried it on, Prisha was not happy with it an had taken it off the very same day.We thought we could see if there was any possibility of still making it still work.Prisha was under stress already and she told us to tell Ms.W that she did not want to change her Naida III and if she really wanted, she could give it to her and Prisha would use it on the week ends !!! We smiled at her innocence and assured her, she would be given the aids she was happy and comfortable with. She looked relieved but I could see her eyes still looking doubtful.
    We discussed and Ms.W said there was nothing more she could do and it would be better that we stuck with Naida III as Prisha was happy with that and see how things go. The next aids are now 4 years away. So we came back with mixed feelings.Her aided audiogram shows average 30db and at 8K it shows sudden loss of 10db more,we are wondering about that one. We plan to get another audiogram in 2 weeks when she is more fresh and more attentive.I am hoping she gets the best aided audiogram, as her 1st one was done with these aids on 15th October 2010 and it showed 25 db average.Am surprised at the difference as her unaided is still the same and so her hearing loss hasn't deteriorated. Sometimes these things just make you so vulnerable and insecure.
    At the school her teacher is very happy with her work.She says she is very attentive, listening well and is 100 % into the subject. But she is still wondering if she is getting everything as Prisha hasn't been asking for any extra help.They are still getting to know each other and so hoping it would work better as the year goes by. I have requested her to ask her now and then if Prisha has understood all that she speaks and have asked Prisha too to ask Mrs.O if she does not get something too. Her concern is that prisha is too dependent on her partner and if she finds it too much ,she may need to give her a new one to break so much dependence.I trust her judgment and asked her to do what she thought was best for Prisha.Sometimes it works best that way.
    meanwhile I have started to volunteer at school for art,lunch room and also mentoring.Its a great way to understand the school and keep myself busy too. Hoping this year has a fantastic ending.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Back to school night

Staff reads to the kids !

Book buddies !

      Last evening was the "back to school night" for Prisha. We were invited to get a peek into the new school year.The evening was the speech by the school director, the new principal and then the Parent volunteer coordinator.We were asked to go around the school to check out the major changes ,new building and all the latest additions. It was really lovely to see the school....bigger and better.
    Then we went in to meet the class teacher and were asked to open up our child's drawer and pull out the work to see what they have been doing. there was a class map which we have to look and then find out from there where our child sits in the class. I saw parents struggling and so skeptically looked at Prisha's map. A mum peeped into mine and exclaimed that our map was really great. I looked at hers and realised how accurately Prisha had drawn her entire class room with the white board,tables,sinks.....everything was so well made that within seconds we knew where she sits. It felt really nice. We looked at her work and felt good as her special educator Mrs.K had told me that she has seen great detailing in Prisha's work after the summer break.I was also happy to see her write ups.
     Then Mrs. O started to give a little talk about her plans for the year.What made me most happy is that she is friendly, kids love her, she has been teaching for many many years and is very systematic and likes a certain style which is great where the kids needs more structured teaching and approach.She was talking about how reading is the most important thing. She had various people come over to the class and read to the kids which included buddies,principal,the nurse and even the music teacher.They all read out the Black lagoon stories.The kids bring back a book daily to read and she said even if the kids brought home a simple book, it should be encouraged as it brought them confidence.So we look forward to more power for Prisha and hoping this year is going to be great for her learning.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Update on school front

         Prisha is already into 2 weeks of school,how time flies and the week is over so quickly. She has been giving me regular feedback like a parrot without missing any details from one period to the next. Gives a sense of happiness to see her start the year with happiness.This year,we have done a lot from home,school too is well prepared with all the plans lined up for her and we hope she would move from "modified expectation" this year to grade level performance.
         From what I hear from her, she has been given a lot of "good job", neat work,smilies and "that was fast" etc a lot.It makes me happy but I wanted to hear from the teachers too. I soon heard that Prisha has surprised them a lot and they feel they see a huge steep graph in understanding and learning since the last session at school. It made us very humbly happy.This morning Mrs.K, her special educator, who comes to class everyday for an hour, told me that she was extremely happy with Prisha's write up on the week end news.She said she describes it very very well and she was very happy to see her write neatly too. It gave a lot of satisfaction to me. Prisha has even a 5th grader come and read with her now and then.So am looking forward to a meeting to get an update on what her new teacher has to tell me about Prisha after about a month or so.Till that time, work on her is on.
       She also wants to do more dancing, so ballet is sure as an after school activity,we will try for hip-hop too.And she loves Mr. Owen, her story teller in reading time after school activity,so hopefully that too would be on. We may cut down speech therapy outside school from 1 hr 45 mins a week to one hour as we waste a lot of time in travel. Our efforts are on.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Trial of Niada S UP V

Prisha's list of complaints for her new hearing aids !!
       Since we were still hung on more clarity with Prisha's hearing aids, Geers called the Phonak people and they suggested we try the new range of the Naida S series.It is more advanced and so we decided to go ahead and try them.We put them on and Prisha was very happy as they were clearer and she tested for an audiogram and we realized her readings were 10% better. We got them home and she was very hassled as she found she had many issues.
1. She found them softer- as it has more channels,16 nos, the sounds are softer and she was straining to hear. A big let down.
2. She found some whoom sounds- guess it was the zoom working,was very uncomfortable with those sounds.
3. She could not hear too well when someone called her from behind- we cannot ignore the sounds coming from behind,danger could be anywhere.
4. She found too many confusing sounds as if many spoke at the same time around her- the zoom was confused probably.
    After wearing it for 5 hours that evening, she just refused to have them on the next day.So we are now waiting for an appointment to see if the zooms can be switched off, made some more adjustments or maybe use Naida S UP III which has fewer channels giving more sharpness where she is able to differentiate the sounds better.  Sometimes you feel so helpless when you are ready to give the best technology to your child , but it does not work for them.

First day of the new academic year

Waiting for the kids to come in we go

Love you school mascot !!

Lining up!!

Bye mommy!!
       After 9 weeks of summer break which was full of activity at home....reading, writing, picture reading,blogging and math too, to keep in touch with the academics and avoid any regression like the last year ;schools re-opened today. We rushed up excited and a bit too nervous wondering who the new teacher would be, how Prisha would adjust and what to expect from the school.
      Well , we got into the line,following the flag for her grade and I went up to introduce myself to new teacher. A bit nervous myself, I smiled and she just took over from there.She was the assistant teacher and Mrs. R , after the introductions ,said she was aware of Prisha's needs and she had been given the best place for so that she could hear the teacher well, her special needs educator too was fixed and so she would be coming in to help Prisha. She was absolutely reassuring about the support they would extend to me and that we could be in touch through mails and any problems we faced would be sorted out mutually. The warmth and reassuring voice put me at ease and the whole night of tossing and turning that had led me stiff, completely eased my mind and body. I was so thankful as unlike last year this year the school is fully prepared to handle the situation well. Prisha went in to her class holding her teacher and I came home and relaxed a bit....a bit of me still was worried about her actual day at school.
      In the afternoon , I went in to get her back home, the teacher Mrs. O'B smiled and said all went well and no complaints. Now to my girl...she walked in and I looked at her with motherly concerns.She smiled and said shyly that she had a good day. She said she loved her teacher and that the assistent teacher was the one who helped her at school when she broke her tooth. On the way home she did complain that she had no friends as some just walked away with theirs and her best friend was stolen by another smart cookie.She was very miserable.Apart from that she told me about her day at school was good, she sang out a lovely song for me which was part of a game they played.I was happy she had picked it very well, I just had to correct a couple of words here and there.She is looking forward to going to school tomorrow.I will try and see if Prisha can get her friend to move into her grade as she is in another grade.Rosella and Prisha are both upset. I hope the year moves smoothly and we have a great year of learning which catapults her to another level. Crossing my fingers on that one!!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A touching advertisement

Most touching advertisement. This is for all those kids who are ashamed of their deaf parents. Despite their disability, they want the best for their hearing kids. They work harder so that they can provide for them,they love them unconditionally why are some kids ashamed to be born to them. I have known a few cases and so I thought it appropriate to share.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Another signing family

   Yesterday on the way to the speech therapist, we came across a family with 2 little kids struggling to get into the tram while we sat on our seats. Mt attention was drawn towards the woman as she had exaggerated mouth movements with no sounds.I realized she was deaf and was struggling with the kid's buggy,a little baby on her hip and trying to communicate with her husband through lip reading. He too had his other kid and bags.The struggle they had climbing in while having a tough time looking at each other trying to understand what the other was saying, was very touching for me too.The buggy toppled over,they could not hear it topple over and a person standing by tried to help them. In between all this struggle when they could not lip read, they tried to sign too. I was so frozen trying to understand their struggle. The isolation was obvious as no one in the tram could understand what they were trying to say. But just watched as silent spectators.
    Prisha too watched this thing and was busy staring at them. the family settled down opposite us and started to sign and were busy sorting out the issue, arguing away. After a few minutes,the person looked at me and smiled, I looked at the woman and I told her that my daughter too had hearing aids. She nodded and pointed to her eyes and then to Prisha say that she saw it. The man was without HA but was able to say few words in English. In the hushed tone and signs he asked if she spoke. I learned to lip read and so I said that Prisha wears aids and speaks.He wanted to know if she went to special school.When I told them that she spoke and went to International school like other normal kids,he kept silent.The woman looked on too...I wonder if it was a wishing look. The older kid was deaf too but as he threw away HA, they had got used to it and so did not insist on him wearing them and were comfortable that he too could lead a life like theirs as they knew no other.The man then communicated with a thumbs up for the younger one about his hearing....he could hear perfect ......with a victorious smile. I smiled said goodbye and left at our station.
      Prisha then asked me if these people too could not hear. I had a session with her a few days ago when she was clear she did not want to sign. I told her and reinforced to her about why we keep working on her. She said "mum, I love talking, I always want to talk and talk.I don't want to do signs,you will help me more? And maybe when I grow up,my ears would be alright and I can hear without hearing aids." I was so touched, I held her hand tight and told her that we love her non stop chatter in the house and we love her singing and noway are we going to stop that. I just smiled at her wish , I have told her earlier though that as of now she is always going to have them till science makes progress and we are able to use stem cell to cure her deafness maybe some day.
     This incident made me realize the struggle of the people who have had no access to AVT. The struggle between signs and lip reading, to people not understanding them and also the isolation due to lack of modes of communication made me realize how blessed I was to have Prisha lead a near normal life.She talks, sings and has no issues with communicating her needs to people even when I am not around.No one has to ask me what she wants to convey as she is able to do it herself.She makes friends, plays games and there are gaps in her understanding but that could happen to even hearing kids who has relocated into a new environment.We are all working on her through reading, writing, blogging, activities, games and doing loads of work sheets. It is just......a matter of time.

A moving write up

What a beautiful write - up , a must share.Was moved immensely.Sharing it on my blog too.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

ESL /grammar worksheets site

  Found another site for language learning and for printables.  Very elaborate and extensive.

I enjoyed going through this.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

No stones !!

     About 2 years ago Prisha had suffered from UTI and kidney stones and since then we had been very careful about her drinking a lot of water.Thanks to her homeopathic medicines and our being careful, they got dissolved and she was stone free last year.This year she complained of pain on the left side of her abdomen and it stressed me out.Took the appointment and we were at the doctor this morning.The assistant told me she did not need to have the bladder full which was surprising, so we went with just a cupful of milk in her tummy. The test showed stone free kidneys !! I was so thrilled when he said that there was some fold in her bladder which he needed to investigate. I was so taken aback as till now we have never had this in any ultra sounds in India.He asked to fill in with water and come back for another.That one hour was the most difficult for me.I just bought her some water and cheese bun and tried to look so calm.The year 2009 came flooding back when fever diagnosis led us to UTI and investigation for that led us to kidney stones.And now investigation for stones leading to what??
    Just paced the playground for an hour and went it to get her checked again.And trying to hold on to my nerves and smile looked at the monitor.The bladder looked nice and full and.......absolutely in good shape!!Relief was written all over my face.It was probably a fold of the empty bladder.Came back home happy and drained out from the strain.Now next ultra sound next year ! Till then good health to Prisha and peace of mind to us.
    Meanwhile I am looking forward to our appointment with the audiologist this 9th.We are going to try out the next generation model of hearing aids from Phonak.Hoping it would do wonders to her hearing and give us even better results than Naida III.Keeping my fingers crossed.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Why reading is so essential

     Lovely article on why reading is so essential for the deaf.We have made reading a very essential part of our 7 year old too.Last 1 month,since our return from India,the entire vacation we have been concentrating on reading, grammar and books and games which help boost vocabulary. Must read and make it part of these kids.

Now my list of why I found reading so good for Prisha-
-Increases her interest in whats really happening ,more exposure to experiences which sometimes are difficult to have.
-Increase in vocabulary,improves grammar and definitely her spellings.
-Helps her to realize where she makes mistakes in her words while speaking.With limitations of hearing aids,she says only half the word for some,she is surprised at the way its spelt when she reads them! Eg-Brea_ for bread."D" is silent for her unless emphasized.With practice she has learnt to say the whole word.Love to see her expression that time.
-Gives me an opportunity to improve her diction.
-Helps me in sequencing when she relates the story to me in her words,which improves memory.
-Gives her "time-off" from us constantly correcting and listening to us which can be so tiring.
-Gives her more ideas and expands her thinking.
-Gives her concepts and ideas while talking....she will suddenly remember an incident from a story while we are at something.More memories.
-Helps her to integrate with other kids,exchanging books,picking up books at the library,discussion with other kids about ideas,games etc.
-If there is no company when we are out, what better than a book ?
-Gives me sometime off too,so that I can do what I like while she is at it.
-Gives her creative thoughts,and it helps her in her drawing which she loves.

   Am glad to get my list of "goods" of reading, inspires me to read more !!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

An interesting link on mindmap

    I am really fascinated with the way mind maps can be used for each one of us. I am trying them with Prisha and it seems so good to see her connecting her own thoughts into an interesting map. One should try them out and see how well it could work with our kids with special needs where they need to connect various things they come across.Sharing this link on my blog.

Hope we all can use this beautiful tool.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Link to ESL worksheets

      I came across these ESL worksheets which you can take printouts of and give to the kids to work on their language.I found them very helpful.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Mind map and blogging

      Prisha Has been working on her vocabulary and grammar last 3 weeks, since we are back.To recall her experiences of her recent trip to India, I decided to let her recall them by making a mind map.Normally we would try to sequence the events one by one and I needed to help . I felt somewhere  she was missing the spontaneity of it all ,and at times became a chore. Since she is now a little blogger herself, I thought I should tell her to make a mind map and asked her to put all the things she could remember. I was surprised at things she remembered and I had forgotten.
        I then asked her to sequence them and make it into a write up.Here and there I needed to remind  her of events ,but I think she did a great job.It suddenly was an easy job ! Asked her to type it all out and added some pictures for her to put the visual with the writing to have a lovely post.The pictures too were clicked by her .I gave her the camera for her to click about things she wanted to write.I am glad as we now have her eagerly wanting to click and talk about it.Asked my family and close friends to read and leave a bit of their comments which would encourage her.She is now actively checking her comments each morning and writing back.
      This blog for her came as an idea to excite her. Kids love to see their results and people appreciating too.On her 7th b'day I had gifted her a diary to write all her thoughts and special events.She already has the camera to click (thank God for digital ones !!!! Can click without worry!) I started to notice that some days she found it a chore to write in her diary.So to excite her and also to make a bigger connection ,thought of opening a blog for her. She loved the idea ! The visual with her experience all on internet,(welcome to the world of internet) something she can show anyone anywhere across the world. She is as of now a happy writer. This way I would have a good record of her journey in her words,with all her mistakes.We can see her progress. As of now I am keeping my fingers crossed that she would continue this journey,Wishing her every success.Her blog address:-

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tug at my heart - no signs for me, she says

Together through thick and thin

My princess, I love you !
    I have been a bit more firm last week with Prisha trying to get a hold on myself and her too and get back into action of learning after the long holiday. And she does get a bit nervous about it but knows that she needs to perform for her own good. So this afternoon I watched a dance programme from India on the internet to ease her and we both watched the lovely dance moves.
    And then this guy comes and dances with such passion that one of actor judges applauds him and calls his mother.It turned out that he came from the family of deaf.He is the only speaking person and they showed their struggle.He has this passion to stand out as he wants to make a career in it and make enough money to look after his family. The actor,applauds the efforts of the family and the boy's passion to prove himself through sign language. Everybody in the show, including me standing behind her, were moved to tears as life in India for a middle class handicapped person is not easy.After watching she looked up at me and asked me why I was crying. How do I tell her that had I not met Mrs.Hudlikar, probably without the right help, I too would have faced similar issues and I would have been deprived of hearing my girl's lovely voice?
     I then told her that the family was deaf, the boy talks and speaks and explained that how hard it was for them to live their life.They did not have hearing aids and so were soundless and speech less.For a moment she looked stunned,looked at the screen again and then looked at me with the most soulful look in her eyes and said softly " I want to hear and speak".I just had tears gushing and I hugged her tight .I then told her that I am firm with her about her learning and listening as I wanted to get her to be absolutely talking and why it was essential that I am firm.I asked her if its ok with her that I do not take    a wrong answer from her and I am upset if she made continuous mistakes,she nodded and just hugged me tighter.It was the most loving hug that we shared.
    She looked back at the screen again and asked me again "when I grow older, I would need bigger and better HA,would you still buy them for me, as I want to hear and speak, I don't want to sign? "
     I was shell shaken and hugged her tighter.My sweet Prisha, what ever be the cost, where ever we are, we are going to make sure, you have the best in hearing services and you would hear everything and speak non stop! We love your non stop chatter and can't wait to have you absolutely best in talking! Love it all.
    While in the shower, she started to sing,made her own song, does that often.Today's was
 " I want to sing and speak well, want to hear everything well, want to sing to my mom and dad" etc.
She then came out and said,another realization which she verbalized " mom, when I sing, I can't hear myself.You hear your voice when you sing, right? So now I would dry my ears , put on my hearing aids and then sing the song again, so that I can hear how it sounds."
     Awwwww, tears tears don't flow, my little baby is growing, realizing and the best part is she has been brought up in such a way that she isn't sorry about her handicap nor does she give up.Am so glad that we have a very spirited, loving and happy child who am sure would grow up to be the most loving person .She knows how hard I have worked with her and she supports it in many ways too, one of them being, caressing my head and sliding her little fingers through my hair..........heaven on earth!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Time to question

I came across this article and was had a few questions to ask about its effectiveness. Am I justified in my thoughts and questions? I don't know, but I do think I am.Are these points valid? I have been to this institute too to see their work,but I was not satisfied with the results and hence I stayed away from it and found my answers with Mrs.Hudlikar. My only concern and the reason to write about it is to make people aware and "ask questions" before just rushing.I did and so I stand to benefit. The proof of the pudding is in its eating, they say and so I feel parents should have been writing in or putting in their word to say if this method works.In the past if the deaf kids have been successfully talking and leading normal lives under normal conditions by their methods, why is there no testimonials and interviews by them ? Normal kids do not get coaching to go to grade 1, so why these kids?Teach them to speak, they would excel in thier study too, as Mrs.Hudlika's kids show.One can speak to any mother, they would say it,"she is TOUGH BUT her work gives 100% results"!
      Its not the fault of the papers, its the fault of the people who give inadequate information.How would they know,unless the correct information is given. I wish the journalist could go beyond and find more about this subject.
   This is my letter to the newspaper correspondent.

This is with reference to the news article in the DNA Pune on 16th June'11 about work being done for hearing impaired children.

I am mother of a deaf child too and for me the following are the issues with this method-
1.Pre-primery age kids have to be exposed to normal atmosphere which is not possible at special schools as only teachers are talking.
2.I would take it more seriously if parents of such kids, if they benefited,spoke about it and informed if this helped them.
3.Language is for living, one does not learn language to go to school but learns to use it in daily life.Not everyone wants to go to school , but all do want to earn a living, for that language is needed.
4.Testimonials by parents and speaking kids should be shown to show the result of such a programme.
5.No mention of counselling for distressed mothers is mentioned.A disturbed mother cannot work on a deaf child.0-1 yr old kids need mothers and without counselling they cannot help their kids.
    I also read the paper in which it was mentioned they are training 12th pass students to work on these kids.I mention my concerns on this-
1.Are the 12th std youths mature and intellectually and mentally stable to help mothers who may be even suicidal and kids too?
2.Are these young people choosing the field as they are keen to work on the deaf kids or are choosing to come here as they did not qualify anywhere else.
3.Is 1-2 year course sufficient to understand and study the intricate method of this very difficult field?By doing so, one is demeaning the study done by experts in this filed for years.
4.With exposure of only teachers talking,what effect does the kids have on them? They have to produce that very normal atmosphere for them to be exposed to language, would it be possible?
You have yourself printed the success stories of Chitrali,Priya and Ashwiwni,they have grown in a normal atmosphere, normal school with no exemptions, how do you explain the difference between the two methods?
  With such poor service, you think the kids would ever develop normal development in language?No wonder very few get speech and language.Learning speech and language has no connection with schooling,it is to prepare the kids for life.I am mum to a deaf kid, now moved to Germany.Without any such coaching, just with normal treatment with extensive and effective speech therapy, my daughter goes to a normal international school here.Thanks to "no exemptions" and letting her learn with normal kids and good input, she is geared to face life.I blog on this subject and have seen how AVT (auditory verbal therapy) helps if a proper method is worked on, which requires years of hard work and study and input of a great ,educated and dedicated teacher.Kindly do not demean this very important field as it requires a lot of research to put the right aspect.We are responsible to the society who would read it and follow it.So put all the facts and facets of the subject, that would be an effective article.
Thank you,
Ruchi Goyal.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Baking vocabulary

Loving sister and brother

Picture perfect

Perfect team an smiles

Bite my cake
     Yesterday my turned 15 and Prisha was very thrilled.She wanted to secretly bake a cake for him and give him a surprise.And its almost impossible for one to do that without my son knowing it.So in various ways I asked him what cake he would like and then told him to stay away and pretend he would not understand what we were doing in the kitchen. Prisha looked pretty hassled each time he entered the kitchen specially when we put it to bake. So she decided, she would tell him that we were making a pizza in the oven for lunch ! And my son did keep up the full suspense.
    While baking, I used all the vocabulary that was associated with baking a cake.She helped me measure, the gadgets that were needed to bake one,the process and the result. So learnt some new and reinforced some. Words like measure,beat, bake,mixer,whip,batter,temperature,baking tin,dusting,greasing the pan,baking powder,baker,bakery etc all were used.She did remember many but did need to be asked to speak a few a number of times.
     When the cake was ready, the big issue was next where to hide it and so, she hid it behind some spoon stands to cool, so he could not see it  "wink". It was most hilarious and endearing to see her excitement. My son is a bit more serious and mature and so could take all this in his stride and played along.
     In the evening, she realized we for got the candles and so she got some that was at home and she while she arranged it on the table, she shut him in his room ! And then with an eager and excited face she pulled him and gave him the "big surprise" ! The guy was really touched at the same time to see his sister's love.They hugged and kissed while I looked on. We cut the cake and she sang the perfect birthday song for him. In all a very nice and fun day with learning and in this process I too ended up innovating a new recipe -plum and berry egg-less cake !

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Circus Time

     Back here in Germany, focus for the next 6 weeks of holidays here is to make her more confident with language and experiences. So to do that our job is to find things to make herself interested in picking up as much grammar,vocabulary,new words and more exposure to various things available here.We have friends who lent us books, puzzles and we have bought her UNO,scrabble and cards to play with. She got some grammar books and math work books too from her aunt and she loves filling them up.Some she is confident with and so helps her to feel she knows and so enjoys the reinforcement and also new grammar lessons to aid her growth in the language.Some days it frustrates me to see her forgetting the things she has learnt. But then, its a process I have to carry on with ,slow steady and with patience,after all a tough path one chooses is not easy to walk on.
    So this week end we took her to see the circus which was in our town.I remember seeing it as a kid and just loved it.She has never seen it and it was something I was sure she would enjoy.So to start at home, I showed her some videos on the net (big help !!),gave her all the new words she would come across.We made a little talk about this new experience.
    I started with taking tickets and then made her aware of the things around her in the tent. I put her on my lap so that she could hear more clearly as the music and the anchor's voice on the microphone was too loud for her and interfered with her listening. She squealed with joy at the pony and the horse running and doing tricks,loved the acrobats, jugglers ,the lovely looking lady on the rope, who walked effortlessly on it. She was so upset when the show came to and end.We then rushed out and clicked some pictures of the animals,she really wanted to take the little pony home.
     Back home, she wrote down her experience in her little diary and new words like entertainment,performer,acrobats,gymnasts,jugglers,arena,etc. She is very thrilled about the circus and we soon have to take her to one more. For now she is happy learning new words and playing scrabble.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Some more inspirational and success stories

      It was most inspiring to hear some success stories from Mrs.Hudlikar.2 of her students passed out their class 10 in normal category with no exception for them from school ! The noticeable thing in the interview given to the press was that the girls spoke about their feelings ,aspirations and excitement on their own.Parents did not  prompt them. That shows that have "the language for living" ! No lip reading,no signs only speech through listening !We are proud of you and of course one more star in Mrs.Alaka Hudlikar's cap!All the best for their future.
Making their parents so proud and giving hope to others.

This is the success story of Priya Kshirsagar. Her mother was the one who lead us to Mrs.Hudlikar. Priya is now running her business of baking from home.She has her regular clients and deals with clients and suppliers by herself. She does her shopping, accounting,selling and dealing with clients herself.This again shows that she is fully integrated into normal life as she has "the language for loving" not just book knowledge.proud of you Priya ,all the best !

Such stories give hope to us parents that our kids too would make success out of their lives.For me too its very important that Prisha acquires that "language for living" where just studying for exam and writing down for good marks is not so important. That she is able to fully communicate with people around all by herself ,is the key step.Look forward to such more success stories from Mrs.Hudlikar.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

My visit to meet my mentor

My guiding light
THE COUPLE, who have seen me through.Love you both!

Seema, who helped me in the initial years 

Happy students

I miss these sessions
Happy to see each other
       One of the most exciting part of my 3 week trip to India was the visit to Pune to meet my dear teacher and mentor, Mrs.Hudlikar. She had planned to spend the whole afternoon with me and so I was prepared and had kept my entire afternoon for her.Her husband was kind to leave us both alone to catch up on the last 6 months, though I do have long phone calls each Sunday without a fail.
      We lunched together at the club on her favorite Chinese food.We chatted and she heard my entire journey, struggle and personal issues  I faced when I used to come to her classes.She was surprised at my struggle and said that she was surprised with all that I was not a disturbed or depressed mother.Was always happy and motivated.Am glad I told her my past problems as she always had thought I was one of those frivolousness mothers who came from reasonable affluent background and was unnecessarily hassled with little things.I needed to tell her about the tough life that I led in Pune for 6 yrs.
     We then lay down in her room and it was the most beautiful time I spent with her, talking about her life and I feel so privileged to have shared it. It felt so warm and loving and I can never forget the time we spent talking ,sharing stories from our lives.We had the evening tea, she cooked a special bean and showed me the recipe and then it was time for the evening class.I was lucky that it was the very day I use to attend classes with the same people.We all hugged and talked about old times.I attended the class and we clicked pictures too.
     Soon it was time to depart.Ma'am and I have become so close that we both shed tears silently.It was very hard to leave and I am so blessed to have so much love from her. The wishes of "come soon", "go home safe" and "love yous" were so heart warming.It was one of the most beautiful and loving memories to cherish for life.Thank God for all this love.