FYI - First Years Info Newsletter logo
  FIRST YEARS > fyi - First Years Info > Fall 2010
   Previous issues
vertical line divider

Greetings from FIRST YEARS!
by Kathryn Wilson, M.A., CCC-SLP, LSLS Cert. AVT (
FIRST YEARS Program Director

Fall has finally arrived! 

In this issue, you will find a few fun ideas to help children develop their skills using theme-based songs created by Chris Barton (class of 2011).  We also welcome a new class of students from ten different states and a new faculty member to FIRST YEARS.  You will find information about our revised survey course -  Special Topics in Speech and Hearing: A Survey - and as usual, a document from our extensive Reference Library.  This edition's document is a practical counseling tool developed by course facilitator, Beth Walker.

Finally, FIRST YEARS heads south - to South Vietnam and South Africa, that is. We hope you'll enjoy reading about these recent trips to train teachers and therapists around the globe.

A Big Welcome to the Class of 2012!
  1. Anne Beyer - MI
  2. Jane Carlson - CO
  3. Janet Kobayashi Hobson - WA
  4. Jeanette Hoover - PA
  5. Amber Lindgren - NC
  6. Carrie Lopez - CA
  7. Amy Mulligan - CO
  8. Kristen Parsons - PA
  1. Britt Petro - OH
  2. Emily Pratt - NC
  3. Shuba Sriram - PA
  4. Kristine Ratliff - OH
  5. Clay Renick - GA
  6. Tracy Vale - MA
  7. Randi Lee Venturini - NJ

Joining the FIRST YEARS Faculty
Ellen ThomasThis fall Ellen Thomas (M.A. SLP, LSLS Cert. AVT) has joined Don Goldberg (Ph.D., CCC-SLP/A, FAAA, LSLS Cert. AVT ) as co-facilitator for our newly re-vamped first course, Special Topics in Speech and Hearing: A Survey. Ellen has served as a FIRST YEARS onsite mentor for several years prior to joining the faculty.

Ellen is senior speech-language pathologist at the University of Michigan Hearing Rehabilitation Center and serves on the University of Michigan cochlear implant team. In addition to supervising other speech-language pathologists, Ellen provides direct intervention to children with all degrees of hearing loss using the Auditory-Verbal approach. Since 2004, she has worked on the Sound Support grant, a matching grant between the University of Michigan Department of Otolaryngology and Michigan Medicaid, which provides outreach throughout the state to bridge the medical and educational needs of children with hearing loss. Ellen obtained her Master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville after completing a Bachelor's degree in German at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. She has been LSLS certified since 2000.

Changes, changes ... Course 1: Special Topics in Speech and Hearing: A Survey
The what, why, how, and when of current hearing practices and technologies are interwoven throughout all the courses in FIRST YEARS. In such rapidly changing technology, research trends soon evolve into clinical practice, underscoring a certain professional reality for all of us: The future is now!

Recognizing that changes related to technology and practice are definitely in our present and future, FIRST YEARS revises all courses each year, adding new course content to reflect these changes. This year, however, our first course, Special Topics in Speech and Hearing: A Survey, underwent a major revision, with Program Director Kathryn Wilson and Heather Porter (AuD), co-faclitator for Audiology Interpretation and Hearing Technologies, taking on the major writing leads.

Revisions included a greater emphasis on parental coaching and counseling (which will play an increasing role in all upcoming FIRST YEARS courses); expansion of the language unit, including self-tests in determining hearing age (Pollack, Goldberg, & Caleffe-Schenck, 1997)/cochlear implant age/ listening-spoken language program age; a beginning "nod" to music therapy and its roles in language and literacy development; extensive revisions in the basic speech acoustics units, including the materials highlighted in the last issue of fyi; and major re-writes of the units on audiology and hearing technologies (expanded content on bilateral cochlear implants, hybrids, bone-anchored hearing aids, and CROS or BiCROS hearing aids*).

Our thanks goes to Phonak Hearing Systems for permitting the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management (NCHAM) to provide an online "home" for the video Hearing Care for Infants: Strategies for a Sound Beginning (Roush, Seewald & Gravel, 2004). The video, filmed at UNC-CH and used in the revised audiology unit, demonstrates various audiological testing procedures, plus previews some issues about hearing instruments (including a description of RECDs/ real-ear-to-coupler-difference verification procedure), which are re-examined in the full course. We include the video and its reference guide below.

videoPhonak. (2004). Hearing Care for Infants: Strategies for a Sound Beginning. <reference guide><video>

*Bone-anchored hearing aids are now FDA-approved for children as young as 5 year olds. CROS or BiCROS (Contralateral Routing Of Signal) hearing aids, although introduced in the Survey course and expanded on in Audiology Interpretation and Hearing Technologies, are not typically used for children as the effect they have on speech and language development and classroom performance is currently undefined. Self-report and current research show limited benefit over traditional hearing aids.

- Pollack, D., Goldberg, D., & Caleffe-Schenck, N. (1997). Educational audiology for the limited-hearing infant and preschooler: An auditory-verbal program (3rd ed.). Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas Publisher, Ltd.
- Roush, P.A., Seewald, R.C., & Gravel, J.S. (2004). Hearing Care for Infants: Strategies for a Sound Beginning. Phonak Video Focus Sound Foundations #4.

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 the Principles 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 Listening & 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.

Check it outWalker, 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!!"

smileActually, 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 commented 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.
Sound fileBarton, C. (2010). Halloween Lings (mp3) <lyrics>

Scaring You!, again sung by Chris.
Sound fileBarton, 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.

AnimationGlobal 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, at

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 extraordinary place.

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 to come.


Names in the News
Upcoming presentations by our faculty.
  1. Kathryn Wilson & Beth Walker. The Later Years: Cochlear Implants in Older Children. Cook Children's Health Care System, Fort Worth, Texas, Nov. 1, 2010; and Mainstreaming and the Auditory-Verbal Approach on November 2, 2010.
  2. Don Goldberg. Listening, Language and Learning for Infants and Children Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. AG Bell. Listening and Spoken Language Workshop Series, Chicago, Dec. 13-14, 2010.
new topic
Now it's your turn!
Job changes? Interesting training opportunities? Additional certifications? New tips & tricks? Please send us your news at FIRST YEARS Webmaster.

new topic
© 2010, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill FIRST YEARS Certificate in Auditory Learning for Young Children with Hearing Loss. All rights reserved. May be reproduced in any medium for non-commercial purposes.
Publication date: October, 2010