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.