Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Kids are kids

I spent the majority of the first week working with parents and children. We have parent classes that we are holding in the evening as well as individual consultations where the kids are coming in with their parents to meet with us. I was nervous because I had no idea what to expect. I was quickly reminded that kids are kids! They are sociable, they are shy, they are reluctant to participate...OR... they want to tear the room apart and play with every single toy in the room!

I also quickly learned that parents universally have the same concerns. They are worried about their children and their future due to the hearing loss. They just want to communicate with their child. I answered all the same questions and discussed many of the same things that I talk about with my families in the U.S.

Obviously there was a part of me that cognitively knew that we are all universally the same, but I guess I had to experience it on the other side of the world and interact with the people on a real personal level to truly internalize that feeling. The parents have been so forthcoming with their hopes, dreams and concerns. They have opened up more than I ever imagined they would and have initiated it themselves.

For my therapy and teacher friends out there, it is also really nice to see that the majority of the strategies we use to teach young children are also appropriate here. I was working with a little girl and her mom through the use of an interpreter. I would model a word or speech play. The interpreter said it for the mom and the mom would also say it for the child. The child got sick of this and just started imitating me in English!! I think that this is evidence that the strategies we are teaching here to the teachers really DO work. I wish I had caught it on tape so that I could share with teachers and students in the U.S.

This is a picture of the very first little girl that I worked with last week in a parent consultation session. She was highly sociable and made my job so easy!! Within the first five minutes I had her playing with me, vocalizing, and imitating play with speech sounds!

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