Greetings from FIRST YEARS!
by Kathryn Wilson, M.A., CCC-SLP, LSLS Cert. AVT (firstname.lastname@example.org)
FIRST YEARS Program
"Fall semester is like a box of chocolates" ( ... or Forrest Gump said
something like that.) "You never know what you're gonna get."
For this past fall semester, let's just sum it up by saying, "We survived!"
Two new computer systems "delighted" our new
cohort and the FIRST YEARS graduates
who joined the full LSL course, not to mention all of us on the homefront.
What were these systems? A cantankerous email system (HIPPA-compliant Exchange)
and Sakai - the
new course management system. Email after email flew furiously
across campus; we eventually memorized the UNC IT Help Desk number (919-962-HELP!!!!);
and we got to "meet" all sorts of databases in all sorts of departments.
And then Hurricane Sandy hit.
But in the end, with all of us a bit helpdesk-worn and weather-worn,
So for this issue, we figure we needed some lighter moments - some "best
ideas" from our "always-the-best" students, some exciting paying-it-forward
news, a "unit giggle" - and a welcome and a fond farewell!
Enjoy the newsletter and Happy 2013 to all!
Joining the FIRST YEARS Faculty
spring Lisa Park (Au.D., CCC-A) has joined Heather Porter
Ph.D.) as co-facilitator for our second course, Audiology
Interpretation and Hearing Technologies. Lisa has been working
with cochlear implants since 2002. As an audiologist with the UNC
pediatric implant team, she provides services to children who are deaf
and hard of hearing throughout the state. Prior to coming to UNC,
Lisa worked with children at the Clarke School for Hearing and Speech.
Her research interests include bimodal listening, auditory neuropathy,
and speech perception.
So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, adieu
So begins the lyrics in a song in the Sound of Music. The Von
Trapp children sing it as they head off to bed. [Gretl singing:] "The sun
has gone to bed and so must I." <lyrics,
After so many years with FIRST YEARS, it is time - not for bed
- but for retirement! I will be joining the ranks of the retired state
employees on February 1. Such a journey I have been on ... teaching programming
for many years at various colleges, then as online distance learning became
possible, setting up various programs at universities. My favorite program?
By far, FIRST YEARS!
I cannot express how blessed I have felt to be part of this program.
Most of the time, I am not seen; I lurk behind-the-scenes. But I am there,
learning from you, witnessing your accomplishments, cheering you on. FIRST
YEARS is a small program as programs go, but its impact has been
amazing. You all make true miracles happen out there.
Thank you so much for blessing my life. And, Kathryn, you are the best!
[Kurt singing:] "I leave and heave a sigh and say goodbye."
And so do I.
My best to you in the future. Continue making miracles!
FIRST YEARS Course designer/manager, Webmaster, Help Desk, Cheerleader
||Some Miracles: Paying it forward
New Program: Early Childhood Classroom for Audition and Spoken Language
Tracy Vale (class of 2012) writes of a new program she
and another therapist are setting up in Freetown, Massachusetts - the first
of its kind in the area. She writes (1/13/13):
Let New York Hear
Well, since my FIRST YEARS training, a lot has happened
and it is entirely due to the knowledge I gained from all of my classes.
On January 28th a teacher of the deaf who is trained in oral
strategies (Clarke School trained) and myself are opening the first oral
classroom located in a public school in our area!!!! We will be taking
preschoolers and finding a nice blend of mainstream time as well as time
to work on the skills they need to succeed down in our classroom.
I am really excited about this. We have our first 2 students ready
to start and word is already spreading quickly about this great opportunity
to have the best of both worlds. Our hope is to send these babies
back to their town ready to hit the ground running for kindergarten.
If some will not be ready, we have already started the discussions to add
a kindergarten component to our program. In oral states, I'm sure
this is just the norm but up here in Massachusetts, this is a major development!!!!!
[The program] will be located in a pre-k thru 3rd grade building ...
and for now we are calling it "The Early Childhood Classroom for Audition
and Spoken Language". We are planning to come up with a better name.
For now, we just want to get off the ground and get through June. :-)
The teacher is [a literacy specialist, who has worked with us before])
... I am the SLP for the program and we have a teacher aide with
a communication disorders background. We are running Monday-Thursday
mornings for 4 hours/day. We are planning to go down to the public
preschool for many activities and also invite a few at a time to our room
for some language activities. We want to be able to control the noise
level the best we can ... Our board of directors is very excited about
this new venture! Our director has been with us for about 1 1/2 years
(SLP, Ph.D) and she has wondered why we only offer services to children
choosing sign language. She was fully behind the idea to open an oral classroom!
In past issues we have highlighted programs and projects our students
have spearheaded - implementing teletherapy,
helping to get new
legistation passed in two states, participating in a Spanish
project, to name just a few.
Dara Breitkopf (class of 2011) has informed us
that she is starting group initiative to help children who need hearing
aids in the state of New York. She writes (1/12/13): "Many New York families
are unable to provide hearing aids for their children who are Deaf and
Hard of Hearing in order to improve access for their childrens communication.
Hearing aids can cost as much as $6,000 per pair and must be replaced every
3-5 years. This is the equivalent of roughly $42,000 per child who requires
hearing aids before they reach the age of 21 a hardship for any New York
family regardless of household income. As of 2012, 20 other states have
passed legislation requiring insurance companies to cover hearing aids
for children. We want New York to be the next state to take this important
The best ideas
The link to the Facebook group is: https://www.facebook.com/groups/462028047194084/
Tracy Vale (class of 2012) had some advice for Dara - and for
others of you who might want to join the "fun" (1/12/13): "Good luck to
you, it was a long haul here in Massachusetts, but a group of moms did
it and our law was official 1/1/13. You might want to contact the
people at the following group http://masshafcc.blogspot.com/2013/01/childrens-hearing-aid-law-effective.html.
I know they learned lots along the way but they learned more AFTER!!!!!
One important piece we learned after the bill passed was that the insurance
companies (in Massachusetts) only have to offer the coverage when each
individual's plan is up for renewal. Knowing the bill was expected
to pass, many families waited to get new hearing aids. Unfortunately
some of those families have plans that renew later in the year and they
aren't covered until then!"
For those of you in New York, if you know of a family that might be
interested in this cause, please pass the word along! Contact
come from our students.
Family Owned FM Systems
Tracy Vale (class of 2012) sent out a call for help
on the FIRST YEARS graduates
listserv (1/3/13): "I work primarily with the 0-3 year old population.
I would love my 'babies' to have FM systems at home. Are there any
reasonably priced FM's a family could purchase that you feel are of sufficient
quality? The reason I ask is that I received an e-mail today advertising
a personal FM starting at $599...that is not unreasonable for some of my
families but I'm wondering if this an appropriate device? ...
I continue to search for a funding source for them."
Adding Sound to Language Experience Books
Dr. Heather Porter (faculty) and Sherauna Provensal (class
of 2010) both responded with advice to consult an audiologist. Heather
continued (1/4/13): "FM systems can be expensive for families, for sure!
It is difficult to determine the quality and appropriateness of a device
based on price alone, however. For any child with hearing loss, I
would be sure to consult with their audiologist regarding specific devices.
One important reason is that ear level FMs that attach to hearing aids
or cochlear implants can affect amplification. Also, the audiologist
might be able to offer additional insight into potential funding sources.
Some clinics will even work with families to get them an FM system 'at
cost', which can significantly reduce the price."
Pam Cross (class of 2011) contributed a source for funding
(1/5/13): "A few years ago I requested help from our local Elks club to
purchase a personal FM system for a student. They did it. I
had to fill out the paperwork (the Elks request for assistance form), write
a letter of educational need and benefit, and they purchased it.
I worked in collaboration with the audiologist and [the Oticon rep in our
area]. It was a bit of a small process but we had it done in just over
In several of our previous editions, we highlighted some technology
to "publish" books. The Tar Heel Reader/THR (http://tarheelreader.org/),
created by faculty member Karen Ericksen, provided an easy way to
generate typed, published versions of language experience books from handwritten
originals. As our literacy course co-instructor Lyn Robertson commented
edition): "Books written and illustrated by hand are really wonderful;
electronic books with their tidy print and pictures are also wonderful.
Part of the value of the handmade books is that children can see exactly
where the book comes from, and part of the value of the electronic book
is that the child can see that what can be handwritten can also be typed.
Created books can be printed, several to a page to save paper printed
on card stock, laminated ... There are many forms the books can take, and
many ways the creations can be used."
An LSL "Combination"
FIRST YEARS: Instructions
for Using Tar Heel Reader (Note: Besides publishing, Tar
Heel Reader provides features allowing users to browse through books
already created and categorized by topic.)
After working with THR, graduate Chris Barton (class of 2011)
began wondering about adding sound to the books: "How powerful would it
be to have the child writing his own book and hearing his own
voice reading his own book?" (spring
2011 edition). She contacted THR's programmer-developer, Gary
Bishop and the outcome was - Tar Heel Player.
As powerful as the concept of adding sound to books was, there was a
problem. Tar Heel Player was not as easy to use as Tar Heel Reader.
So, we contacted our graduates via our grads
listserv for easier, later-developed free alternatives. Emily
Pratt (class of 2012) responded:
I used PhotoStory (http://microsoft-photo-story.en.softonic.com/)*
when I did my Language Experience Book for class and loved it. Our
librarian had recently shared the software with us in a technology training
but it would have been easy to navigate even if I hadn't gone to that.
It's very easy to use and the kids loved it. You will need to upload
the pictures that you want to use onto your computer and then you can add
them into Photo Story. You will also need a microphone so
that the kids can record themselves reading their story. But you
can add in music and all kinds of special effects if you would like.
There is also an App for your iPad that is called Pictello (http://www.assistiveware.com/product/pictello)
that is similar. You can take pictures right from your iPad or use
pictures already in your library and create a story with recording on it
(9/18/12). < youtube
tutorial on PhotoStory >
And for Mac users? iMovie (http://dgrice.blogspot.com/2008/02/imovie-08-photostory-for-mac.html)
can be used in a very similar fashion to Photo Story. Kristi
Straub (class of 2011) came up with Apple's Keynote (http://www.apple.com/iwork/keynote/):
"[It] allows you to embed picture, music and video onto a slide. So, instead
of making a hardcopy 'book' you could make an electronic 'book' that could
continually be added to, saved, stored, played and burned to DVD ;0) ...and
they have editing options that you could use to make it look like you're
turning a page as you move from slide to slide (page to page)! Great stuff!!"
This past semester we gave our graduates the opportunity to join the
current chort in the "new" course, Listening
& Spoken Language Development & Intervention, developed after
they graduated and co-taught by Beth Walker and Sherri Vernelson.
Zombek (class of 2007) offered some impressions (1/4/13):
One thing I tell others considering FIRST YEARS is that
it sets you up with relationships and opportunities to keep on learning
long after you graduate. I continue to learn from people in my cohort
and continue to learn from people in other cohorts via the listserv and
the fabulous newsletter.
From FIRST YEARS Reference Library ...
This semester, I had the chance to get back in the classroom again ...
the Blackboard classroom! ... Back when I graduated, I had the opportunity
to take a Language Development course with Karen Rossi and
certainly learned a wealth of applicable information that I continue to
use all these years later. Because the course material had changed
and there were new brains to pick, I thought this was a great opportunity
to become a student again and learn everything I could!
Once again, I was blown away by the quality of the FIRST YEARS courses
- the information, the resources, the guidance, the discussions ...
FIRST YEARS continues to find excellent professors and equally as
important, excellent professionals for each cohort.
I learned so much from this course ... the correct way to use the CASLLS
and the Bloom and Lahey model, which has altered how I collect and analyze
data for my caseload. I learned some things I have always done are
not best practice and I learned how to apply Beth's line " go and sin no
more." [I] was able to tweak my practice in ways that are shaping the outcomes
of the children and adults I serve. Furthermore, I learned many great ideas
that the current cohort is using with their caseloads that are applicable
to the kids I see. Finally, I learned some amazing southern idioms which
expanded my figurative language vocabulary and gave me a chance to giggle
I was a little unsure of how it would work to get involved with a novel
cohort who had already been together for awhile. They could not have made
me feel more at home and helped me learn a lot. It was so wonderful to
be surrounded by all of those ideas, suggestions, and personal experiences
that make FIRST YEARS such a unique experience.
Thank you FIRST YEARS for once again providing me with
a strong, lasting, teaching experience that will directly benefit the children,
adults, and families with whom I work!
Knowing the developmental sequence - from pre-verbal to one- or two-word
utterances to complex sentences is essential to Listening and Spoken
Language practice. We stress:
Children with hearing impairment, regardless of the child's
age at diagnosis or degree of hearing loss, should follow the same developmental
path as typically-developing children with normal hearing.
As a sidelight to the discussion on developmental sequence in our LSL course,
we mentioned a study by Doman (2003):
As the saying goes, "You have to crawl before you can walk."
But some babies bypass crawling, going straight to walking. You may be
surprised that some researchers (e.g. Doman, 2003*) have found crawling-before-walking
is an essential sequence to stimulate right-brain development. Children
who skipped the sequence as babies may suffer from speech (and reading
and writing) problems, because the same part of the brain (the midbrain)
controls both functions. Again, we see developmental sequence in action!
In reading this, one of our students this past semester, Lindsay Zombek
of 2007), posted a "unit giggle" (10/6/12):
So I had to have Physical Therapy a few years ago. The
physical therapist was doing my assessment and all the sudden while poking
my side said 'Huh. You never crawled as a baby.' I, of course, informed
her she was crazy. (I work with her, so I'm allowed to insinuate such things.)
I then asked my mother if I crawled as a baby. Mom confirmed that
I never really crawled and was much more the 'sit and cry until someone
got me and then went straight to walking' type. Because I never crawled,
my musculature remains weird, my core strength is compromised, and I breathe
incorrectly. Because I breathe incorrectly, my voice is pretty low
frequency. (Oh the speech grad students had a field day during voice classes
with me!) I apparently need PT and Speech because I never crawled!
WE NEED BABY STEPS! We do really have to learn to crawl before we
can do anything else. We do see it when these kiddos develop, too.
This chronological model really works and when you skip things you see
big holes down the road! "
The sequence is KEY when planning intervention strategies! Here are some
of our more "unusual" milestone charts for your reference:
*Doman, G. (2003). What To Do About Your Brain-Injured Child.
Wyndmoore, PA: Gentle Revolution Press.
** Phonological processes/deviations: Predictable pronunciation
"errors" (which are not errors at all!) that children make when they are
learning to talk like adults, e.g. saying "wabbit" for "rabbit." These
are actually patterns of simplification used by young children that limit
the child's ability to produce adult-like speech.
||Names in the News
Promotion news just in!
Mélissa LeBlanc (class of 2011) reports (1/18/13) her
recent appointment as supervisor at her school district - http://francophonesud.nbed.nb.ca/.
From now on, just call her "Enseignante spécialiste pour les élèves
ayant un trouble de l'audition."
Recent publications by FIRST YEARS faculty, students, and
This new publication, expanding and updating Estabrooks' previous
FAQs, focuses on the latest in current theory, practice, and
evidence-based outcomes and offers knowledge, guidance and hope for children
who are deaf or hard of hearing, their families, and the professionals
serve them. Author contributions abound with FIRST YEARS faculty,
mentors and, yes, graduates!
Estabrooks, W. (ed.). 101
FAQs about Auditory-Verbal Practice: Promoting Listening and Spoken Language
for Children who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing and Their Families
Gayla Hutsell Guignard
Ann Bauman (class of 2007)
Sherri Fickenscher (class of 2007
and now a mentor)
Vicky Hlady McDonald
||101 FAQs is a must for your reference library!
Upcoming workshops/webinars by our faculty and students
DeMoss, W.L, Clem, B.C., & Wilson, K. (2012). Using technology
to mentor aspiring LSLS professionals. The Volta Review, 112 (3),
Talking Tips - To subscribe to Talking Tips, send an email
Rossi, K. Talking
Tips, September/October, 2012. (Theme: "Creating a Need to Talk")
Rossi, K. Talking
Tips, November, 2012. (Theme: "Mommy Talk/Daddy Talk")
Rossi, K. Talking
Tips, December, 2012. (Theme: "Follow a Child's Lead")
At the 12th Annual EHDI Conference, Glendale AZ, April 14 -
Behl, D., Tharpe, A.M. & Hayes, D. The
Role of Tele-audiology in Supporting Access to Care.
Goldberg, D. Foundations
in Listening and Spoken Language for Infants and Young Children
Harrison, M. & Tharpe, A.M. Serving
Families of Infants and Toddlers with Mild or Unilateral Hearing Loss:
Employing Effective Medical, Audiologic and Developmental Intervention
Hartblay, M., Hecht, B., Cole, E . Changing
Systems: Home Visits to tVISITS
Caraway, T., Johnson, C.D. & Hutsell, G. Its
All in How You Do It: Systems and Services Alignment for Children and Youth
who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Wilson, K., & Henderson, L. Put
a Stop to the 30 Million Word Gap Begin at Birth!
Heavner, K., Payonk, S. & Kenny, H. Putting
It All Together. Feb. 22, 2013. LSLS credit.
Heavner, K. & Vernelson, S. Bloom
& Lahey I / CASLLS I: Roadmap to Language Development. Mar. 11-12,
2013. LSLS credit.
Heavner, K. & Vernelson, S. Bloom
& Lahey II / CASLLS II: Roadmap to Language Development. May 12
-13, 2013. LSLS credit.
© 2013, 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
Publication date: January, 2013