Written by Gloria Menezes-Furtado, MED, LSLS Cert AVT
It’s time for songs, chocolate and love! Happy Valentine’s Day.
Here are a few listening activities you can do with your little one to celebrate:
All kids love singing and being sung to, so it’s time to bring back the classics from Barney: “I love you , You love me….” Singing is a natural partner for building auditory discrimination and memory. Add movement while singing, and after a few repetitions, stop at a crucial point in the song to allow your child to fill in the blank. This will look different based on your child’s age and listening skills — on the continuum, it will go from non-descript vocalizing to clarity in vowels, to clarity in consonants, to words and phrases.
Heart stickers can be used to build and reinforce auditory comprehension of family member’s names, vehicles, your child’s favorite toys, and the list goes on. Pick a sticker and put on different toys or pictures while saying “Happy Valentine’s Day!” This will provide a natural situation to repeat this phrase. Listening can be further incorporated by going from single elements to multiple embedded elements. (Let’s find the lion…. Let’s put the blue heart on the lion…. Let’s put the small blue heart on the lion…. Let’s put the small blue heart on the lion’s tail).
If you do not have stickers, have no fear! You can make a Valentine’s Day card by tracing your child’s hands together to make the shape of a heart (see picture). Use your imagination, the possibilities are endless like drawing a heart on face. Create a natural language interaction by narrating while tracing and involving the child in the selection of the colors, facial features, and other details.
Above all, love and enjoy your time with your child!
Hi, my name is Will Mellon and I wanted to share a little bit about my experience growing up with hearing loss. I was born profoundly deaf in 1992 to two hearing parents. Unfortunately, my hearing loss was not diagnosed until I was a year old. At the time I was born, it was not mandatory to do newborn hearing screenings, so many children who had hearing loss were not diagnosed at birth. It wasn’t until roughly 1999 that most states in the US required newborn hearing screenings. Luckily, being the youngest of four, my parents noticed that I was not developing spoken language like my older siblings. When they took me to a doctor, I was diagnosed with a profound hearing loss bilaterally.
My parents had to make a difficult choice between a more typical deaf experience with sign language or a newly emerging technology called a cochlear implant that could give a profoundly deaf child access to sound. Cochlear implants had only been developed and approved by the FDA a few years before my birth, and research was still underway on their effectiveness as an intervention. The early research was hopeful and showed good indications that with rigorous intervention after the surgery, the device could give children access to the world of sound.
I received my first cochlear implant when I was two, being the youngest child implanted with the device at John Hopkins University Hospital at the time. With many years of speech therapy and audiological testing, I was able to use the cochlear implant to hear and develop oral language like any other typical hearing child. I could communicate with the rest of my family, and like my siblings, I went to mainstream schools, instead of specialized school programs focused on students with disabilities.
When I was sixteen, I received my second cochlear implant. With two devices, I was able to hear even better than before and had a much easier time locating where sound was coming from. After high school, I attended Skidmore College, a liberal arts college in New York with a challenging academic program paired with engaged professors. I had a fantastic time in college and graduated with honors as a double major in Psychology and History. Since then, I have worked full-time at Chattering Children as a research and clinical assistant in the audiology department. It has been a rewarding experience to give back and help children with hearing loss, just as speech and audiological professionals helped me when I was growing up. At Chattering Children, we have the same goal as the speech pathologists and audiologists when I was little: to help children with hearing loss succeed and flourish.