By admin | May 22, 2013
Children with hearing-aids and sufficient parental support and interaction will have a stronger vocabulary than others, according to a tertiary researcher, Karien Coppens, at the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research.
Parental encouragement and support are two key components for learning outcomes in children with hearing issues. Coppens found parent support is vital in a child’s potential for learning vocabulary and accessing new topics.
For tests with children, Coppens devised an online vocabulary test, ”Word for Word” for the Ultimate Vocabulary product from solutions firm, eReflect. This solution clearly shows how existing software code can be re-used to serve new markets, who gain multiple benefits from a redirected product.
By admin | May 21, 2013
School supports and resource-teaching allocations are in the news, raising the question of how much support a child actually needs in a classroom, or in a school. Has anyone paused to query if certain children need help, and if so – when exactly, just how much help, and at what stage of their schooling?
The IDK team knows of SNA requests for preschool-age infants with hearing issues – just when nature wants children to learn by playing, and exploring the world around them. A SNA at creche or preschool may be well-intended, but the child does not benefit from having an adult heed their every whim.
That’s why we need articles like “When Less Is More”:
Some hard-hitting questions in this text, include:
- What if the child began a school year without a para-educator?
- What if we allowed the child … to see what he can do on his own?
- What [about trying] assistive technology and alternate methods of learning or curriculum modifications, with natural support from classmates and the classroom teacher [instead of a para-educator]?
Children gain autonomy, self-direction and inclusion with this strategy, says Kathie Snow, writer of this very honest piece. If a para-educator is deemed necessary at the school, they should be guided by the student, as needed.
This hands-off strategy works throughout a person’s life, advises Snow, who adds, “Would you like someone next to you all the time, watching over you, helping you, keeping you ‘on-task’? Most of us would resist this intrusion.”
Individual education plans (IEPs) for children with hearing issues have a role in this process, by defining (1) what a child is to learn in a time-frame and (2) how a child will achieve this learning (with X hours of resource and/or speech teaching time, plus any other directed support that may be needed).
Planning is the only way to maximise resources and if a child has a head-start from early detection of hearing issues, early intervention (if needed), hearing devices and family interactions, they will settle into their school life.
By admin | May 16, 2013
In the US, two to three children in every 1000 births is born profoundly deaf, 90% to hearing families. The average age for a baby to receive a cochlear implant is falling, with research showing babies of 6 to 9 months to benefit more from the technology, than even at 12 months, and again at 18 months.
Read >> Cochlear implants for babies?
After implantation, families need to work on the baby’s listening, speaking and vocabulary skills, while committing to appointments for implant tuning and reviews – but the upside is, getting to share sounds as a family group.
Cochlear implants are now more accepted by the signing deaf community, as this piece shows – but some are still seeking to find that middle ground.
Most importantly, “there is a critical age at which children develop language – the more access to sound and communication the infant has, the easier it is to develop age-appropriate speech and language skills”, says speech teacher, Angi Martin-Prudent at Illinois State University.
For prelingual children with cochlear implants, listening skills and spoken language are developed through family life and ongoing interaction between the child and their parents, with siblings, grandparents and other caregivers.
* ” What It Feels Like … to have a deaf child ” (Oliver Dennis)
By admin | May 13, 2013
Childcare facilities may overlook childrens’ cognitive language and social-emotional skills development with the other early-skills children must learn, according to a recent piece in Canada’s ‘The Castlegar Source’ newspaper.
When children learn and practice early social skills like turn-taking, sharing and interaction, with hand-eye coordination and early physical development, their exposure to rich language may ’stall’ as their attention goes elsewhere.
Knowing that children with hearing issues need constant language-learning potential, especially outside the home – what can we do? One solution is to emphasise linguistic skills at the age of two to five, with childrens’ ability to learn cognitive language and social-emotional skills peaking at this time.
Check this chart with the five communication options for children. With hearing-devices and directed verbal interactions from under one year of age, most deaf childrens’ verbal skills will be similar to their hearing peers. Again, teaching approach will vary, based on a child’s communication option.
Teachers at a quality creche or preschool will interact with the children in rich and varied conversations that require creative thinking and responses. Ideally, the children will acquire a larger vocabulary by kindergarten, which in turn strengthens their reading and expressive skills before school starts.
Stories and songs linked to pictures and activities are one approach, as are objects and props to trigger the childrens’ curiosity. Play-acting is the ideal way to step into a new character and stretch a child’s imagination – which is fuelled in the first place by reading story-books and story-telling together.
* Visual Learning In The Preschool & Primary Years (PDF file)
By admin | May 10, 2013
Early-years technology “awakens the imagination and fosters the cognitive development of young children”, while developing early literacy skills in children who may not have a language-rich home environment, according to Remake Learning, the blog of the Pittsburgh Kids+Creativity Network.
Best of all, parents and caregivers can prompt conversations with their children by asking, “Show me what you made today [digitally]” with the resulting interactions giving rich language-development potential.
* Visual Learning In The Preschool & Primary Years (pdf file)
By admin | May 7, 2013
Parents of newly-identified children who’re profoundly deaf, have a lot going on. Not least, they must make communication choices on behalf of the children, and decide how the family is going to communicate in general.
Recently, the US state of Florida passed legislation for parents to be told of all the possible communication options for deaf children. This includes the listening-and-spoken language (auditory-verbal, also known as “the oral”) method, about which some parents seemingly were not being informed:
For a chart of the five main communication options for families, see the PDF below. Where ASL is cited, parents in Ireland should read ‘ISL’, as relevant.
What is auditory-verbal therapy (AVT)?
Auditory-verbal therapy is a specialised teaching approach for a child to learn to use the hearing they get from a hearing aid or a cochlear implant, for understanding speech and learning to talk.
AVT encourages babies and children to be mainstreamed from the start, with their hearing peers. The youngsters learn spoken-language structures from everyday interaction in these inclusive environments while developing their own self-monitoring skills to use in their local schools and communities.
Typically, parents in AVT programs don’t tend to learn sign language, but use their spoken language to interact and communicate with the children. Similarly, visual communication modes like sign language or cued speech are not part of an AVT program, but gesture may be used as a back-up.
* The Sky’s The Limit, When Parents Are Informed (bilateral hearing)
By admin | May 1, 2013
Random conversations can be life-changing, often without our knowledge. In October 2010, a lady asked IDK if Hearing Dogs are trained in Ireland. She has severe bilateral hearing issues and believed a trained dog would restore some independence by alerting her to everyday sounds in her environment.
Knowing most Hearing Dogs are trained in the UK, we suggested she contact (1) Emily Dogs in Clonakilty, Cork, and (2) Dogs for the Disabled in Cork, with whom IDK had discussed Hearing Dogs, two years previously.
By sheer luck, Dogs for the Disabled had a puppy to socialise for 12 months from December 2010, with a view to training him as a Hearing Dog. Deano (pictured) passed his sound training and qualified as a Hearing Dog in 2012.
Deano’s owner recently mailed IDK to thank us for making this connection with DfD. She explained how Deano gives reassurance when her husband is working night shifts. When the alarm clock sounds in the mornings for her own day job, Deano jumps onto the bed and nudges her until she wakes.
Sadly, Ger Dillon, founder of Dogs for the Disabled, passed away early in 2011 and it was only when Deano’s owner presented with his chip number, that DfD knew to train him as a Hearing Dog after his puppy socialising. We are all hugely grateful to Ger Dillon and her team, for the work they did.
NOTE: DfD’s waiting list has closed, due to phenomenal public demand.
By admin | April 29, 2013
Nursing – and audiology. Two degrees that a deaf person might not think of, or be encouraged to take. Zoe Williams, of Ballarat, Victoria (Australia), has changed that perception. Now a qualified audiologist, she shares her story.
See / Read >> A Day In The Life of An Audiologist
By admin | April 24, 2013
Fresh concerns over cuts to education supports for deaf/hoh pupils in the UK have emerged, after one-third of councils cut supports in 2011. NDCS is also reporting that almost one-half of London’s local councils did not respond to a Freedom of Information request to disclose spending plans by April 2, 2013.
Greater transparency for UK-based councils to disclose spending plans for education supports for deaf/hh pupils, is what led NDCS to instigate its FoI request. In January 2013, reports indicated that the number of deaf children achieving five good GCSE exam grades, was at its lowest since 2007.
The UK has over 45,000 students with hearing issues, 37% of whom pass the GCSE benchmark (versus 69% of their hearing peers). Under 40% of deaf/hh pupils get five good GCSE grades, with 62% failing to get five GCSE grades A* to C (versus 30% of hearing peers), according to NDCS.
SEN Magazine (Jan/13): Are deaf children being ignored?
Like Ireland, the UK has a visiting teacher (of the deaf) service, but these teachers’ huge caseloads impacts their efficiency. In 2011, NDCS found one in three councils in the UK had cut services for teachers of the deaf and speech/language therapists, and is seeking to establish provisions for 2013.
There’s a direct correlation in the supports a deaf/hoh child receives (from birth, upward) and their post-school outcomes. Earlier intervention saves public funds in future years, and should be a no-brainer for governments.
* ” What It Feels Like … to have a deaf child ” (Oliver Dennis)
By admin | April 22, 2013
Deafness is called the ‘invisible disability’, and teens can be very reluctant to disclose what they see as a social vulnerability. A librarian who has hearing issues herself, shares some communication tips – which can be used almost anywhere a pen, paper, the internet or a mobile phone is available.
One vital tip is, “Don’t assume that a teen who talks clearly can hear clearly”. Namely: spoken language may have resulted in a teen’s childhood, or they gained language in early infancy, through digital hearing devices.