October 20, 2015.
By: Shefali Shah
Now that your baby or young child with hearing loss is appropriately fitted with the most sophisticated hearing aids or cochlear implants that modern technology and your family finances allow, you are probably wondering why you need to attend Auditory-Verbal Therapy at all. You observe very quickly that your baby or young child alerts to sound, especially your voice almost immediately post-fitting or post device activation (or post switch-on). Surely it follows then that if your baby or young child with hearing loss now hears, he must also soon… talk.
The answer to the above assumption and to why you need Auditory-Verbal Therapy for your baby and your family lies in 2 connected questions:
a. Do you want your baby or young child with hearing loss to grow up to listen and talk like other children his or her age?
b. Are you willing to leave your baby’s progress in listening, learning and talking to chance and the process of growing up or do you want to establish your little one at age appropriate levels at the earliest? If you choose listening and talking as the communication option for your baby or young child with hearing loss and you want to propel your child to achieve age appropriate levels at the earliest, then your safest option would be to attend Auditory-Verbal Therapy.
As heartening as it is to watch your baby or young child with hearing loss detect (or hear) sounds that were earlier inaudible, it is critical to understand that our focus must always be on comprehension from the start. You need to be guided, to enable your baby or young child to understand or comprehend not only what he or she heard, but more importantly, what was said. E.g “That’s right! You heard Papa say “Hi!”. Go to him and get a kiss!” That is the work of an Auditory-Verbal professional.
There will be many times when you are so focussed on ‘the listening and talking of it all’ that you may overlook that your child’s behaviour is deviating from socially acceptable norms. Suddenly it becomes embarrassing to take your baby or young child out shopping or even to a birthday party or family function. Alternatively, you may be expecting your child to behave a certain way or learn specific targets which in truth your child is not ready for: either by virtue of his or her age or current level of development. Discussion with and guidance from an Auditory-Verbal professional brings life back into balance.
Most importantly, Auditory-Verbal Therapy sessions are fun! Fun for your baby or young child with hearing loss, fun for you and your family and fun for your therapist. They have to be because learning is fun!
An Auditory-Verbal Therapy session at Sound Steps
Your Auditory-Verbal professional will guide you to facilitate as smooth a transition to talking and participating in family conversation and participating in classroom discussion as possible for your young child. You and your family will be central to this entire process because you drive it.
Remember that you and your baby deserve the attention you need. Choose well as you identify a professional who shares your values, your sense of humour, your sense of purpose and one who matches your expectations in the skills, direction and sensitivity that raising your young child deserve.
It really can be a joyous ride!