As we begin a new year, it is a great time to reflect on 2009 and focus on the months ahead. A new class of 16 students began in August and we look forward to having 11 more graduates in May, 2010. Admissions for a new class are now open and we invite you to spread the word. Prospective students can find more information on our website http://firstyears.org
In this issue, we welcome a new faculty member, share new ideas with our readers, and learn more about the mentorship component of the program through the eyes of a FIRST YEARS mentor. Our students place a high value on this part of the program and as you will discover in this newsletter, our mentors take away a great deal from the experience as well.
Joining the FIRST YEARS Faculty
FIRST YEARS is enriched not only by our exceptional faculty, but by the professional expertise of our students. In this new column, we share some of these "best ideas," many of which have already inspired additions to our courses.
I'm a Speech Banana!
Christine Barton (class of 2011), a music therapist practicing in Indianapolis, was "musically inspired" upon seeing the FIRST YEARS rendition of the speech banana. (Chris, along with colleague Amy McConkey Robbins, developed the award-winning music habilitation program TuneUps.)
Her tuneful inspiration I'm a Speech Banana now appears with the lyrics on the FIRST YEARS speech banana at http://www.firstyears.org/lib/banana.htm
Chris Barton, MM, MT-BC
|Sound Meter with iPhone
Speaking of the 6dB rule
This next item, from Kristin Straub (class of 2010), came in as a forum posting in this past semester's offering of Spoken Language Development and Intervention. The forum related to the cessation of babbling. The instructor, Sherri Vernelson, asked: "What handouts/tools would you use to help explain why the babbling has stopped?" And, related to keeping in close proximity when speaking to a child: "Did you learn in your audiology class about the 6dB rule?" *
Kristin's response prompted much discussion (and enthusiasm): "As for discussing the need to be close to the child, I would discuss the importance of joint gaze and the child's focal visual distance abilities; but also, and most importantly, discuss that rule of 6dB! THAT IS CRUCIAL!!! And, I hate to admit it, but I'm finding that the best tool I have in my toolbox for that is a sound meter in my iPhone."
We asked Kristin to elaborate for our newsletter:
I am sure we have all experienced the challenge of trying to clearly explain a technical topic to a student or parent. So, whenever I attempt to instruct about sound and how we hear, I try to get as concrete as possible, right from the beginning.
* Our students learn about this rule in the first course, Special Topics in Speech and Hearing: A Survey.
From FIRST YEARS Reference Library
The Speech Banana is just one of many publicly-accessible "reference documents" that FIRST YEARS shares via its website. With this issue, we begin featuring other documents of interest, starting with Listening Activity Websites. If you are wondering if you can share these documents with others, the answer is "yes."
Dr. Holly Teagle, who oversees the UNC Carolina Children's Communicative Disorders Program (CCCDP) and who co-teaches Audiology Interpretation and Hearing Technologies, submitted the original idea for the document's creation. CCCDP's Melissa Hall, MA, CCC-SLP edited and compiled a list of listening activities from: Kuster, JM. (2009). Do You Hear What I Hear? - Listening Activities. The ASHA Leader, p. 26-27.
FIRST YEARS then added the click-able links and a bit of formatting. You can see the result at http://firstyears.org/lib/list-activity.htm
An Insider's View: From a FIRST YEARS Mentoring Site
by Kim Hamren, M.Ed, CED, LSLS Cert. AVT (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Listen and Talk
Over the past 3 years, Listen and Talk has hosted 3 FIRST YEARS students all remarkable professionals who are talented, dedicated and eager to further their knowledge and teaching skills. I can honestly say that the mentoring experience has been an absolute joy, privilege and growth experience for all of us and has offered some surprising outcomes.
First of all, I didn't expect to participate in such an amazing professional skill-building opportunity for myself. During each mentorship assignment I reviewed tapes, described our auditory-verbal/auditory-oral program philosophies, and supported the students in their teaching and/or therapy environments. In the process I found myself revisiting my own philosophical foundations, reflecting on my skills and experiences, and ultimately highlighting skills that I subsequently targeted to focus on for professional development.
Another surprising outcome was witnessing an amazing philosophical shift for a couple of the students themselves and for the districts they serve. Backed with FIRST YEARS training, the students returned as agents of change in their school districts. Despite initial resistance of some of their colleagues, the students transitioned their own classrooms and/or therapy settings from a primarily visual learning system to an auditory learning environment. In addition, their efforts and persistence in implementing these auditory-focused strategies and goals gained notice, acceptance, and increasing participation from colleagues beyond their own setting, to additional classrooms in their respective school districts.
The FIRST YEARS program has been a powerful, skill-building opportunity for everyone involved, from the students themselves, to the Listen and Talk team, and to the staff and families in the respective programs.
|In the next issue, we will
take another "look from the inside," from the point of view of one of Kim's
students, Susan Ericksen (class of 2009).