Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hard of Hearing Moments

Now that Nolan's language has developed to a level where he can really communicate his thoughts and ideas, we are starting to notice the words he doesn't quite hear correctly. This can lead to some rather confusing exchanges!

We were at the Strong Museum in Rochester, and told Nolan that we were going to make a cape at the Superhero station. We went and started to decorate the cape, adding ribbon and his superhero name, "No-Man." All the while, Nolan was getting more and more frustrated. Soon the tears erupted, and I asked him what was wrong.

Nolan cried out, "Where my CAKE?"

The poor little guy thought we were taking him to make a cake, and not a cape. I tried to explain, but he couldn't hear the difference between caKe and caPe, so I finally signed "not cake." I had no idea what the sign for "cape" was, so I pantomimed putting a cape on. He finally understood and was more than happy with his cape. This was definitely an instance when signing came in handy, as the word "cape" was unfamiliar and he just couldn't hear well with the enormous amount of background noise.

It might not be cake, but he ended up liking it anyway.

We had another little moment today, when our speech therapist was working with him. She is working on getting him to identify objects by function, and had several pictures of body parts in front of her. She asked him what we use to see, then helped him select the eyes (he can't do this on his own yet- it is a skill for an older age set). Then she asked him, "Nolan, what do you comb?"

Nolan looked at her, thought for a minute, then shouted, "ICE CREAM!"

We were a little confused, then realized he was confusing "comb" for "cone." Darn those low frequency consonants!

At moments like these, I think a system like Cued Speech could be very useful for helping the little guys to discriminate words with similar sounds! For now, we're just emphasizing the sounds or sometimes using the sign to help him understand what we are saying. Hopefully he'll learn to discriminate those tricky words with practice!


Julia said...

Oh, I feel for you. And I agree that cued speech might be a great option. My understanding is that it doesn't take much to get up and running with that. Maybe you can attend one of those workshops like that one in Ohio a few months ago. I'm about to head home and prepare for this week's Signing Time playgroup. Today's theme is birthdays, since Ben had one last week and his best friend has one next week. So we'll be signing "cake" a lot! Let me know if you're ever interested in joining us; Tuesdays at 4:30.

Pattie said...

On a positive note, at least he is able to understand what you really meant and he didn't stay upset for long.

Cake? Ice cream? I think someone really has a sweet tooth, doesn't he?


rouchi said...

What I do is , repeat and then see if she got what I said by seeing her reaction. I ask her to repeat for eg.- Prisha we are going to make a cape.Wow, what are we making?She might say cake. I then say not cake but cape, we take ribbons, glue paper and so on. This way she gets more words to hear and also her focus shifts.I rarely do signs as the focus shifts more to signing then paying attention to sounds whci is too important. he will come around, these things all parents of the deaf kids go through. Nolan is really good for his age, cheers to that.

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Laughing WITH you... we've had similar moments, and considered cued speech for the same reason, but not many in our area are familiar with it.

Sometimes I'll use a sign, too, or - more often - substitute a similar word or give more information.

"Oh, a CAPE, that you can wear over your shirt. It ties around your neck." Or whatever...

Nolan is so smart! I love how he went from cone to ice-cream :0)

Cloggy said...

Can totally identify with you here.
Lotte has the same problems at time.. Or we have. :-)
Even thought she can hear everything, the nuances are a problem sometimes. Having a sign alphabet helps, since she now can read. So, when she forgets a "t" at the end, we can repeat it and add the "t" using sign. Then she does hear it...
A lot has to do with focus as well. She can be so caught up in the moment that she assumes too quickly and interperates it in the wrong way.
But - like you will find out - it will get better in time, because these champs will figure out it's important to listen, not just hear.
We have done some "excersises" where it was she understood that she had to listen. Like hiding candy, and explaining to her where to find it. She'll listen 100% :-)
But they have their own strategies for communicating, and filling in the gaps thay don't understand with their own interpretation is one of them..
The best thing our kids can get from us is commitment..
Sounds like you're doing a terrific job...

Kimmy K said...

That sounds familiar! Grey is starting to do that, too. We have had meltdowns over the confusion of movie and smoothie, and also between Jake (our neighbor friend) and gate. I have a feeling these little mishearing moments are going to get more and more frequent.