From the FIRST YEARS Reference Library
Coaching parents, to empower them as the first-line in intervention,
is a cornerstone for Auditory-Verbal Therapy practice. Indeed, as you examine
of LSLS Auditory-Verbal Therapy (2007), note that six out of the ten
principles begin with "Guide and coach parents."
Regardless of the communication
option caregivers choose, however, our professional responsibility
is to design family-centered programs – programs with and for the parents
to help them reach their long-term goals and make language-learning
more efficient and effective for their child. Why them? Most children
receiving early intervention services are seen once a week for about an
hour. Obviously one hour per week is not a significant amount of time in
the life of a child to impact much change. So, it is truly these others
in the child's life who will implement the program for the child – unless
the therapist plans to move in!
As professionals, we need to ensure that parents make decisions based
on their understanding of the benefits, possible limitations of each approach,
and "what it takes" to achieve desired outcomes in order for the parent
to meet the goals they have for their child.
Beth Walker (M.Ed., CED, LSLS Cert AVT), co-faciliator for the
FIRST YEARS course
& Spoken Language Development & Intervention, has developed
a counseling tool – What It Takes, designed in family-friendly language
– to help parents understand from the beginning their roles and responsibilities
to effectively implement Auditory-Verbal principles in day-to-day life.
B. (2009). What It Takes.
We encourage professionals working with children in other approaches
to create similar documents to use in counseling parents about "what it
takes" for success in the chosen communication option.
As usual for all the FIRST YEARS reference publications, feel
free to use them – and share them.
The best ideas ...
… come from our students.
Chris Barton, award-winning
music therapist and FIRST YEARS student (class of 2011), recently
posted two new Halloween songs in the discussion forum for the full
language course. From Chris: "I thought you might be interested in
a Halloween song I wrote for two of my 7 year old students who love the
macabre! Every time we improvise, it always comes back to walking through
the graveyard or riding on a witches broom."
While listening to the first posted song, classmate Sara Talamantez
noted a "Ling link": "How about incorporating a character that uses the
'mmmm'. I notice that you have a variety of the six
Ling sounds, 'EEE', 'HISS', 'BOO'... So, maybe a mummy that says 'mmm'...."
To which Chris responded: "What a great idea!! I'm on it!!"
Chris went beyond it to two songs – Scaring You!
and Halloween Lings. Her two spooky renditions of Ling's 6 Sounds
are just in time for Halloween. But watch out. As classmate Amy Miller
on hearing Scaring You!: "Cute song. I just played it on my laptop
and scared my dog off the couch."
Halloween Lings, as sung by Chris.
C. (2010). Halloween
Lings (mp3) <lyrics>
Scaring You!, again sung by Chris.
C. (2010). Scaring
You! (mp3) <lyrics>
Scaring You! will be featured in the October edition of "Circle
Time" at the The
Listening Room™ – but FIRST YEARS heard them both first!
FIRST YEARS in South Vietnam
Two professionals associated with FIRST YEARS - Helen Zuganelis
(class of 2005) and Kim Hamren, a
FIRST YEARS mentor at Listen
and Talk - joined a team
of 13 professionals to launch the first of a multi-year teacher training
program in South Vietnam. Sponsored by the Global
Foundation for Children with Hearing Loss in collaboration with Thuan
An Center in South Vietnam, the team mentored 95 teachers and 25 families
from 35 deaf schools in how to cultivate listening and spoken language
in infants and young children who are deaf and hard of hearing.
The team created a blog
and a video documenting the month-long visit. Both Kim and Helen are prominently
featured in the video, provided below.
Foundation for Children with Hearing Loss: Vietnam
Deaf Education Project
In the works is a "mobile mission" to visit a sub-set of the 35 participating
schools, where a team will be coaching teachers in their own classrooms
to reinforce learning gained in the summer. They will also be providing
audiology training and support to children.
If you are interested in participating in next year's project and are
a trained professional in pediatric audiology, speech pathology, auditory-verbal
education, and/or early intervention, email Paige Stringer, Executive Director,
FIRST YEARS in South Africa
by Kathryn Wilson, FIRST YEARS Program Director
Working on behalf of WE
Listen International, Inc., I spent an amazing four days in May in
Johannesburg, South Africa, working with Warren Estabrooks as part of his
Global Professional Education & Training program. As I traveled to
the hotel after two very long flights from the United States, I found myself
pondering the differences between my homeland and this country, so diverse
culturally and ethnically, where 11 official languages are recognized.
It would be only a matter of hours before I would meet the 14 educators,
speech-language pathologists, and audiologists from various cities in South
Africa, who have committed to a 2-year training program in Auditory-Verbal
practice. Our common ground? The desire to make a difference in the lives
of children who are deaf or hard of hearing.
At Warren's direction, we moved quickly to cover numerous topics, including
storybook reading, parent guidance, narrative development, vocabulary development
and teaching, and writing session-specific targets. Each participant presented
a DVD to demonstrate her work with a child and family and received feedback
from the instructors and their colleagues. There was abundant opportunity
for questions, answers and lively discussion. On the last day, Warren and
I showed our support for South African Soccer and the upcoming World Cup
by wearing the official jersey.
And then, it was off to the bush for a short safari at the reserve at
Madikwe Hills. A safari is rather much like a box of Cracker Jacks. You
have no way of knowing at the start of each game drive what surprises you
will find. But luck was with us. During the morning and late afternoon
drives, we saw all "The Big Five" – elephants, rhinos, cape buffaloes,
lions and leopards – and some very rare wild dogs. On the first
evening drive out, we went in search of the wild dogs, but missed seeing
them. Low and behold after the 3-hour drive and no wild dogs, we returned
to the lodge and there they were at the watering hole! It is hard to put
in words the total experience of the sights, sounds, and smells of this
Looking back, I am confident that the aspiring listening and spoken
language professionals I met in South Africa, like our own FIRST YEARS
students, will be raising the standard of care for children with hearing
loss. I look forward to following their efforts in the months and years